Football: Pompey get their Ball back

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The Independent Online
ALAN BALL has been appointed as the new manager of Portsmouth, following the dismissal of Terry Fenwick two weeks ago.

Ball, a World Cup winner with England in 1966, left Manchester City in August 1996 after the club were relegated to the First Division saying he was finished with football, but the lure of rejoining his former club has proved too strong to resist.

Ball enjoyed success at Fratton Park between 1984 and 1989, taking the club to the top flight and bringing in a number of players who were later sold on for big fees. Ball has also managed Exeter, Stoke and Southampton.

Brian Howe, who has been in talks with Portsmouth about investing in the club, said yesterday: "Alan Ball is the new manager of Portsmouth Football Club and Keith Waldon will be his assistant. I have known Alan on and off for the last 12 or 13 years. I phoned him earlier this week. He is available and we put the deal together."

The Sheffield Wednesday manager, Ron Atkinson, is threatening to drop Paolo di Canio for tomorrow's FA Cup fourth-round match with Blackburn, following the striker's dismissal in the third round against Watford and his poor performance in the 2-1 win at Leeds last Saturday. Atkinson is ready to replace him with Benito Carbone, who returns after a two-match ban.

Philippe Albert has pleaded with the Newcastle manager, Kenny Dalglish, to play against Stevenage this afternoon. However, the Belgian defender accepts it will be tough to get back into the side, although that is a problem not faced by England midfielder David Batty, who has completed a four-match ban, and Alan Shearer, who will start his first match of the season.

The Manchester City striker Uwe Rosler will lead the attack against West Ham in this afternoon's FA Cup tie at Maine Road. The German is back to full fitness after months of injury problems and has hit three goals in his last six matches.