Kevin Ball hopes his Sunderland legacy endures - whether he does or not

Whether he does or not, Kevin Ball hopes the values he has reinstated remain with Sunderland's first team this season

Kevin Ball
Kevin Ball

Whether he does or not, Kevin Ball hopes the values he has reinstated remain with Sunderland's first team this season.

Ball left the Stadium of Light on Saturday not knowing if a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United would be the last act of his second spell in the dugout there.

The former captain has been caretaker manager for the last three matches – a League Cup win over Peterborough United and back-to-back home performances against Liverpool and Manchester United which were spirited but ultimately unrewarded.

He is hoping a decision on the next permanent manager will be made during the next two weeks and that it might be him asked to carry on.

Even if it is not, he hopes the standards he has set recently are maintained.

“What I keep saying to them is that it’s not just for now,” said Ball, who also took caretaker charge in 2006. “It should be forever.

“It should underpin the whole of this club, a philosophy, a legacy if you want to call it that, in the way it should be all the time.

“There should be no grey areas about that when you come and play for this club. You should know who and what you represent and what you need to do to go about being the best you can for them.”

Sunderland have shown greater spirit and unity under Ball, but it remains to be seen if that will impress Ellis Short, with the team still bottom after their worst start to a Premier League season.

“Like every supporter, we would like to see long-term success on the pitch and stability at the club,” the chairman wrote in Saturday’s programme. “Unfortunately the quest for stability can be interrupted by the absolute necessity of staying in the league. The long-term aim becomes irrelevant if we aren’t at the top level.”

Former Schalke, Hannover and Stuttgart coach Ralf Rangnick attracted much interest with the bookmakers last week.

The German had a year playing non-league football when his studies took him to the University of Sussex for a year.

Ball said of the situation: “I spoke to the chairman before the game. It was nice he came down to the dressing room beforehand and wished us all the best, which was great.

“He seemed in a very upbeat mood and from my point of view it was all about getting through the game and now it’s an ideal time for a decision to be made.”

If Ball does stay on, it could be good news for Ji Dong-won.

The Korean (pictured below) has started one Premier League game since May 2012, but played 26 minutes on Saturday, replacing Adam Johnson on the left wing.

“We just felt it was time for a change,” Ball explained.

“Ji has been fabulous in training. He’s worked very hard.

“It had crossed my mind to even give him a longer role. He desperately wants to do well for this club.”

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Keiren Westwood has withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland’s squad for the upcoming games against Germany and Kazakhstan to receive medical treatment.

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