FORMER Sunderland captain Kevin Ball has been presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Arts during winter graduation ceremonies at the university.
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 the second division. In 1990, he moved to Sunderland where he played 389 games for the Black Cats, scoring 27 goals.
At Sunderland, Kevin played in the 1992 FA Cup Final where they lost 2-0 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 took one of the penalties in the shoot-out during the play-off final.
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 as a Club Ambassador.
The University of Sunderland is hosting its largest-ever round of Winter Graduation Ceremonies in the Stadium of Light this week.
On receiving his honorary yesterday, Kevin said: “I am delighted that the University of Sunderland has acknowledged his time in the north-east and in particular to Sunderland Football Club, their supporters and the great City of Sunderland.”
Twelve ceremonies are being held to celebrate all the hard work and effort the graduates committed to their studies, with more than 2,000 students collecting their degrees.