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Winter Graduations 2023: University honours Black Cats legend

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Published on 30 November 2023

Kevin Ball
Kevin Ball

Former Sunderland captain Kevin Ball has been presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Arts at the Stadium of Light during the University of Sunderland’s Winter Graduation Ceremonies. 

Born in Hastings, Kevin moved to the north-east in 1990 and began his footballing career in central defence but eventually moved into central midfield. He started his professional career with Portsmouth in second division. Then in 1990, he moved to Sunderland. 

Kevin played 389 games for the Black Cats in all competitions, scoring 27 goals. At Sunderland, he played in the 1992 FA Cup Final where they lost 2-nil to Liverpool. He was named Sunderland AFC Player of the Year four times in the 1990s. 

Kevin was Captain of both the Sunderland sides that won First Division titles in 1996 and 1999 and also played in the Play-off Final where he took one of the penalties in the shoot-out. 

He also enjoyed a successful spell at Portsmouth and, after leaving Sunderland, had spells at Fulham and Burnley.  

Since his retirement from playing in 2003, Kevin has held a number of positions at Sunderland, including being caretaker manager twice, and he has only recently left the Club after working the latter part of his career there as a Club Ambassador.  

On receiving his honorary today (Thursday 30 November), Kevin said: “I am delighted that the University of Sunderland has acknowledged my time in the north-east and in particular to Sunderland Football Club, their supporters and the great City of Sunderland.”

The University is hosting its largest ever round of Winter Graduation Ceremonies this week with more than 2,000 students stepping onto the stage to collect their degrees.

Twelve ceremonies are being held across three days at the Stadium of Light (Tuesday 28 November, Thursday 30 November and Friday 1 December) – to celebrate all the hard work and effort students have committed to their studies over the past few years.