“I want to be a big player for the club and I can’t wait to show the supporters what I am all about” – a bold statement from new signing James Ball; the midfielder becoming Stevenage’s first inbound transfer of summer 2018. In making his move up to League Two from Stockport County, Ball also became the first signing made by gaffer Dino Maamria; the Tunisian taking charge of the club during the second half of the 2017-8 campaign.
With his ability to chip in with goals from the middle of the park, there was plenty of anticipation. What could he do in the red and white of Boro’? For some reason or another, however, it didn’t work out. One year later, he was on the move to Ebbsfleet United; fleeting glimpses of his abilities during his time at the Lamex not enough to convince Maamria he was worth keeping on.
With the boss also bringing in new recruits to a busy midfield, Ball was made available for transfer and the Kent side duly stepped in to snap him up.
James Ball: Before Boro’
The 22-year-old enforcer arrived at the Lamex off the back of a decent season at Edgeley Park. In scoring 11 goals from his midfield berth, Ball’s contribution powered the Hatters towards the National League North playoffs. The club’s efforts to gain promotion to the National League was ultimately unsuccessful, however. And the exchange of a five-figure sum would see Ball move south to Stevenage ahead of the 2018-9 League Two season.
Before his time at Stockport, Ball had turned out for both Stalybridge Celtic and Northwich Victoria. At the Vics, he was part of a side that reached the FA Cup 2nd Round and a play-off final. His transfer to us, however, was to be the first time Ball had played in the Football League.