Simply the Best – Clive Everton

Simplythebestclive-everton

I just finished reading “Simply the Best” by Clive Everton, so here is my review for what it’s worth. Before I do this though, I want to point at Clive’s introduction and his acknowledgement that Ronnie – politely – declined to co-operate to this book. Ronnie indeed hasn’t particularly friendly feelings towards Clive mainly because he feels that Clive’s reading of and writing about some of his own comments and behaviours aren’t a correct reflection of what he actually felt and meant. This is something I have heard from Ronnie himself.

Clive goes through Ronnie’s life and career, nearly year by year, and every significant match Ronnie played is documented by comments made at the time, either by Ronnie himself, or his opponent, and sometimes by others involved like officials or witnesses. As such this book is an invaluable source of documentation as Clive certainly unearthed excerpts of the interviews and press conferences recorded “live” after matches, be it wins and defeats. It doesn’t always make for a very easy read such is the wealth of information offered to the reader. But it does take us to the rollercoaster of emotions and mood swings that paved Ronnie’s career, and it highlights how much working with Steve Peters has changed his outlook on his career and on himself.

Clive is firmly convinced that Ronnie Senior’s imprisonment had a profound and durable impact both on Ronnie’s career, psyche and on his life away from snooker. There is certainly a lot of truth in this and, if anything, this was confirmed by Ronnie himself in his “Sporting Live Story”. However, I believe that there is more than just that. I have known Ronnie for more than ten years now, and during the 2010 to 2013 period in particular he opened up to me about how much his “divorce” from Jo Langley had affected him, how lonely and lost he felt, and how he was prepared to do anything to make sure that he would not be estranged from his two youngest children as he had been from his first daughter. Also, when his father was finally released Ronnie had high expectations. Of course he didn’t think that all would be like it was 18 years earlier. He was an adult with children himself, not a teenager. But he thought that they somehow would be a family again. When his parents split, shortly after they were reunited, it hurt him despite his understanding that in 18 years they had inevitably become different persons and grown apart. To me, Clive doesn’t give those events enough importance in his analysis of Ronnie’s mindset at the time.

Also, it’s clear than Clive is a big fan of Barry Hearn. There is no doubt that Barry Hearn has done a lot of good and that snooker is now in better shape than it was, although, to rely mainly on one line of business for sponsoring – the gambling industry – is a dangerous thing to do and probably will backfire at a point. However some of the criticisms Ronnie expressed over the years were/are not unfounded. Players are the game’s biggest asset, and it’s the top players who attract the audience. They deserve to feel valued and respected. In his book “On the Road and Off the Table With Snooker’s Greatest”, Jason Francis tells us what the reaction was when Ronnie had a breakdown at the Crucible in 2016: “He will be fined”. Would it have been too much to ask if he was alright? And, in the October issue of Snooker Scene, Clive covers the spat Ronnie had about the Crawley venue at lengths, essentially taking side with WS. But, David Hendon, who, contrary to  Clive, was on the site, is giving a very different account, basically backing Ronnie’s claims. Ronnie isn’t the most stable person, he’s bipolar to start with, and many things he says should be taken with a pinch of salt even if he genuinely means them on the moment. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t truth in what he says – in fact beyond the exaggerations and sometimes insults, there usually is truth in it – and I feel that Clive’s perception is biased at times.

It certainly is an interesting reading, and one every snooker fan should have in their library.

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Simply the Best – Clive Everton

  1. About four weeks ago as I heard about this book I had a pre-view into the introdution. And first thing I read was Ronnie declined to co-operate.
    I wondered why … and … well … Somehow this remark made me wary to read this book at all, I first thought I maybe better should handle it with care. Then again I still was kinda curious about it, rather to get some new reading material about Ronnie, some from outside, in contrast to his amazing self-written biografies. But would it really be worth reading?
    Eventually I thought if any I could get some support by you, dear Monique. And that’s why I highly appreciate your today’s comment. Thanks a lot for your very interesting remarks. They’ll help me to much better understand the book, and now I’m looking forward to reading it – certainly with the consideration needed.
    Here in Germany it’s available only in January but I pre-ordered it already. Until then I’m gonna dedicate myself to Stephen Hendry, his book is announced to be delivered at mid December. Might be an interesting one, too. You already described it in detail.
    Finally, quite apart from this today’s matter: Thanks so much for all those amazing reports and interesting publications you give us all year long. You always keep us informed, that’s really great. All the best to you.

  2. Monique, thank you so much for this! Good to know that if we read this book, some of the statements and interpretations should be taken with a pinch of salt. First I thought that cooperating with the book would have given Ronnie the chance to correct some of Clive Everton’s understandings and interpretations, but of course if he already does not have too friendly feelings towards him, it may not create a good working relationship, and in the end who knows how much influence Ronnie’d gave over the final result. Which raised in my mind the question: who do you think Ronnie would be happy to cooperate with on his “authorized biography”, or does he prefers to say it himself whatever he feels like communicating (like in his autobio-volumes)?

    • His two first bios were written in collaboration with Simon Hattenstone, who is a friend. I think collaborating with Jason Francis would work too. But ultimately he prefers to say it in his own words. And, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Clive is dishonest in any way. This is how he sees things. But Ronnie and him are very different persons, with very different backgrounds.

  3. Monique, I haven’t read it yet. In any case I think also that the divorce from Jo and of his parents must have affected Ronnie’s mindset. This is something which Ronnie shared with you because you are very close friends. Ronnie is a very open minded person and he’s available to give an intimate insight of his life to his fans. I’m sure that Ronnie will publish a third autobiography, maybe at the end of his career. And perhaps he’ll write about the intimate side of his life and career.

  4. Thanks for that fascinating insight Monique into Clive s new book on Ronnie. Certainly a nice Christmas present for fans one would think and hopefully the warts and all account can still be bearable for the followers of this most charismatic and brilliant snooker maverick. And lastly I always look forward to the info you send me on Ronnie and indeed snooker in general. Thank you.

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