Bubbly Ball aims to be more than a quiz question at Boro

James Ball of Stevenage at the Lamex stadium. Picture: DANNY LOO

James Ball of Stevenage at the Lamex stadium. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

It will be a quiz question in years to come – name the player who became Dino Maamria’s first signing.

In a busy summer at Broadhall Way, which was so far included 14 arrivals, you could be forgiven for struggling to recall the initial deal.

The answer? James Ball.

I met James on a baking hot day at the club’s impressive Bragbury End HQ after the gruelling first day of pre-season training.

You might think the 22-year-old would be reluctant to speak after the demanding session – or simply too tired after the first day’s exertions – but the enthusiastic Bolton-born midfielder was happy to.

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“First day of training?” he ponders before announcing emphatically,

“Yeah, I love it I’ve been looking forward to it all summer as I signed quite early in the year but it’s been great.

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“Our pre-season work is going to be one of the reasons whether we do well next season.

“There is a good bunch here and you can see that we are all getting on in the time we’ve been together already. Everyone who has signed can make a big impact.”

What can fans expect from the highly-rated former Stockport man who arrived after a stellar season at Edgeley Park where he scored 11 league goals to help County to a play-off berth in National League North after ending the season in fifth place.

The former Bolton B and Northwich player outlines what supporters can look forward to, adding: “Hopefully goals, I scored 13 in total last year so I want to try and get close to that this year.

“Hopefully the fans will see me getting up and down the pitch helping out in defence and attack, just being an overall central midfielder.”

Good-natured Ball has been busily familiarising himself with his new surroundings in North Herts, which includes moving into a new flat.

As befits someone with a passion for football he was also busy watching as much of the World Cup as possible.

He added with a smile: “I literally just had back-to-back games on all day every day during the tournament which has kept me busy.

“The whole tournament was brilliant, including watching England’s progress to the semi-finals.”

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