Football: Ball `really couldn't refuse' call to rescue Portsmouth

Click to follow
Alan Ball returns to Portsmouth today after "a wonderful year" with his wife away from the world of football, after admitting that it was the good memories of his previous 1984-89 stint in charge of the club and the passion of the supporters that persuaded him back to Fratton Park as manager.

"I've got a feeling for Portsmouth. And I had a marvellous time there last time there. I had six fabulous years and helped bring up some really good kids," Ball said. "There is a lot of passion in the city and I really couldn't refuse. I've had a wonderful year with my wife. We've done things that we've not done for a long time. Football takes over your whole life 24 hours a day. I was in Barbados when I got a phone call from Brian Howe and I just couldn't resist it, to be quite honest. I just went with my heart again."

Ball knows there is a lot of hard work to be done if he is to achieve the heights of 1987 when he took Pompey to the top flight. Portsmouth are bottom of the First Division.

"All our thoughts and aspirations have got to be put into three months of keeping them in that division. That's all I will be working for," Ball said.

He has 19 matches in which to prevent Portsmouth slipping into the Second Division, starting with the home game against Sheffield United next weekend.

"I want to call up the passion and spirit that surrounds Portsmouth. I am already planning something for the games ahead," he said.