Things change quickly for David Ball before and after Rotherham exit

If anyone can testify to just how quickly things can change in football then it is David Ball.

The 28-year-old has left Rotherham to join Bradford on a season-long loan in a move that effectively ends his Millers career.

His departure comes as something of a surprise, even if he had not figured much in Paul Warne’s early-season reckoning.

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He played just 57 minutes of Championship action, but had captained the side at Everton only 48 hours before his move to the Bantams was agreed – though it did not get confirmed until Monday.

Boss Warne had always spoken fondly of Ball and often rated him as the club’s best footballer.

And then there his contribution last season.

After a stuttered start to life in South Yorkshire following his summer arrival as a marquee signing from Fleetwood, his emergence in the team coincided with the season-defining unbeaten run in League One.

His two late goals at Blackpool in December were – at the time at least – credited with saving Warne’s job as the come-from-behind win ended a horribly sticky patch for the Millers.

He then became an important member of the side as Warne’s men took League One by the scruff of the neck and went on to win promotion through the play-offs.

Although he missed a penalty in the final at Wembley, there was a sense that Ball might be one of the players who could easily step up a level, with his clever brain and sharp touch potentially having the ability to unlock defences.

But as it has turned out, the Millers are not going to have enough of the ball to make use of that.

Warne is happy to concede possession (their average possession percentage of 40 is the lowest in the Championship) and hit teams with a direct approach and aerial threat. As a result it has made Ball obsolete.

At 28, the striker has no interest in sitting on the bench every week so pursued a move to Bradford.

But if he was surprised by how quickly things changed for him at the Millers, he would have been reeling by the change in circumstances at Valley Parade.

 

After the anxious wait of whether the deal would even go through, there was even more drama after the manager who had signed him was sacked.

Michael Collins, who was the youngest manager in the Football League at 32, paid for a poor start to life in League One and lost his job just hours after Ball had joined.

David Hopkin has since been appointed and will now need to impress a second manager in the space of 24 hours.

Either way, Ball’s career at the AESSEAL New York Stadium is over with his contract expiring in the summer.

 

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