Ronnie fan? Here is stuff to listen to, to watch and, maybe, to vote for.

On several occasions in recent articles, Phil Haigh referred to the third podcast Ronnie did with Peter Cohen

Peter, who is a life coach, has been Ronnie’s friend for nearly twenty years, and has been at his side in many difficult moments. Here is how he introduces this podcast:

072 Interview With 6x Snooker World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan

In 2002 I recorded a podcast with (then) two-times World Snooker Champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan, recording a second one the following year. Now, eighteen years on, Ronnie and I recorded a third podcast together reflecting on what has changed and what has stayed the same.

In this fascinating interview Ronnie will explain how he has changed from being the young and hungry young player to one of the sport’s senior players – more interested in his own improvement and development of the game over winning competitions and prizes. Together we explore what drives him today both within the game and, more importantly, outside it along with the challenges of being a celebrity and the distraction that trying to meet the expectations of others can present.
As well as his frank reflections on addiction and his ongoing commitment to personal development, Ronnie will also share his views on mastery and how practice is important but not as important as building habits of the right things and doing things in the right way.

From a life in the spotlight since the age of seventeens, Ronnie O’Sullivan is now living life on his own terms.

It’s a very nice, positive interview, an one that shows how getting perspective in life has helped Ronnie to find a better balance and peace.

Ronnie has also been speaking to Colin Murray about his six World Titles, and the program “The Joy of Six” was shown on British Eurosport yesterday evening. I’m told by Buzás Gábor, you works for Eurosport in Hugary, that a shortened version of that program will be shown on International Eurosport on November 22, 2020. So that’s good news. But meanwhile an audio version has been published on “The Break” .

Click on the picture below to listen, it’s well worth it. 

JoyofSixRonnie

And here is the broadcast:

Finally Eurosport have started their campaign to get Ronnie a SPOTY recognition.

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN FOR SPOTY: WHY AWARDS MUST FINALLY DO RIGHT THING BY SNOOKER GOAT

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s sixth World Championship triumph will surely see him selected among the final six for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, writes Desmond Kane. And snooker’s greatest player finally has a serious shot at winning the award on a public vote.

RonniePensive-2.png

BY DESMOND KANE

It has taken a global pandemic for snooker to be considered worthy enough, but there is no surely no way to avoid the stark truth confronting SPOTY with as much menace as Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins blowing the top off a few cold ones back in the golden years: Ronnie O’Sullivan will finally make it onto the public ballot paper after years of refusal.

With no Wimbledon, Euro 2020 and the Olympic Games in a sporting calendar decimated by the ongoing health crisis, snooker suddenly has its big break this time after being blackballed by the committee of judges more times than blacks have been sunk at the Crucible Theatre.

The only snooker player to win the gong since its inception in 1954 was Steve Davis in 1988 with fellow world champion Stephen Hendry finishing second behind Paul Gascoigne in 1990 when the green baize was still considered trendy enough for a podium spot in the yearly bash. Higgins himself finished second behind decathlete Daley Thompson after his second world title in 1982.

The road to Damascus has been a long one, but if Paul the Apostle rather than Gazza was converted in the end, there seems to be several doubting Thomases on the judging panel in failing to appreciate what snooker brings to the table. Especially when Joe Wicks has enjoyed a productive few months on Zoom.

Never underestimate the ability of whoever comes up with the final list of nominees to abdicate their sense of responsibility in continually overlooking snooker’s greatest player of all time for whatever reasons they refuse to disclose. Even a closed shop would find room for the Rocket Man this time. Either that, or let’s call the whole thing off.

Whether or not they like O’Sullivan’s persona or prefer his sport, is neither here nor there. Some people enjoy marmite, some recoil in horror at the very thought of it, but personal opinion should not be allowed to spread fake gospel. Which it certainly seems to have done in previous incarnations of a curious selection process which seems to have less rhyme or reason than refusing the final black on 140, which O’Sullivan contemplated doing for fun back in 2010 before referee Jan Verhaas intervened.

In such a respect, O’Sullivan has given snooker credibility, a narrative and a serene sense of chaos beyond the darkened environs of his sport by conjuring up a consistent level of magic and mayhem that has rarely been witnessed in any professional arena, far less one that involves a bloke in a bow tie brandishing a cue and a lump of chalk on a 12ft table.

It would be interesting to hear why O’Sullivan has been continually ignored since he won the UK Championship as a 17-year-old in 1993 because the reasons are about as credible as attempting to outrun the virus in a camper van. It appears to be a curious piece of nonsense riddled in class bias and snobbery against the working class roots of snooker and a refusal to recognise the pristine levels that it takes to master the most imposing of all cue sports.

It is a hoary repetitive old tale made even more remarkable when the BBC have given the grandiose title of triple crown to three events it covers on terrestrial TV – the UK Championship, the Masters and the World Championship. You can forget all the hyperbole about snooker majors, a new phenomenon allowed to slip into general discourse without any historical fact, there is only one major and it is back in the clutches of the game’s ultimate entertainer.

More engrossingly, at the age of 44 and playing well within himself, O’Sullivan conquered the Crucible by playing in fits and starts in a quite august August. The concentration levels and class to win such a tournament should not be underestimated even without a frazzled crowd due to the Covid conundrum.

The three frames he played against Mark Selby to recover from 16-14 behind in running out a 17-16 winner in the semi-finals with breaks of 138, 71 and 64 was arguably up there with the best combination of bone shakers world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury unearthed to floor Deontay Wilder in February.

It was three of the most poignant frames O’Sullivan has played in his 28-year career as he discusses on the exclusive hour-long special ‘Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Joy of Six’ on Friday 16 October at 10pm on Eurosport 1.

“I think the sixth one was more enjoyable, in many ways, than any of them,” said O’Sullivan in reflecting on his 18-8 filleting of Kyren Wilson in the final.

“Not because of the way I played, but because there was no pressure on me because I don’t feel like anyone expected me to go all the way this year whereas in previous years it’s always been ‘it’s Ronnie’s to lose’.”

Phil Taylor – a 16-times world champion darts player with a better aim than Dirty Harry – made it onto the list of nominees a decade ago and finished runner-up to Champion Jockey Tony McCoy. Do not underestimate snooker’s popularity if O’Sullivan is finally granted due respect with the ceremony due to take place on 20 December in Manchester.

He took a year off between his fourth and fifth victories at the World Championship yet was astonishingly not nominated in 2013. Seven years later, the BBC have the chance to make up for years of refusal by doing the right thing by O’Sullivan this time.

Anything else would amount to an abject dereliction of duty.

Desmond Kane

LEADING SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS

Lewis Hamilton (Formula One)
Marcus Rashford (Football)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (Snooker)
Tyson Fury (Boxing)

From Saturday on Eurosport delivers two-week celebration of snooker

This was announced by Eurosport yesterday:

Eurosport delivers two-week celebration of snooker – and brand new vodcast

By Eurosport

16 hours ago

ESBanner-Ronnie and Trump

This article gives us an idea about the kind of stuff they will cover in these vodcasts 

Ronnie: My favourite rivalry and how my dad helped me on way to greatness

1 hour agoUpdated 9 minutes ago

ESBanner-Ronnie Rivals.jpg

Classic matches on BBC – Program and Schedule

As announced a few days ago, the BBC will show some classic matches during the  postponed 2020 Snooker World Championship time slot.

WST has published the detailed schedule:

The BBC has announced the list of all-time classic World Championship matches which will be televised on the original dates of this year’s tournament.

The event has been postponed until later in the year but fans can still enjoy two-hour episodes each day on BBC Two, starting this Saturday, April 18.

Here’s the full list:

All times BST

Saturday 18 April (15:00): Steve Davis v Tony Knowles – 1982, first round.

Sunday 19 April (14:00): Ray Reardon v Alex Higgins – 1982, final.

Monday 20 April (14:00): Steve Davis v Jimmy White – 1984, final.

Tuesday 21 April (14:00): Neil Robertson v Mark Selby – 2014, semi-final.

Wednesday 22 April (14:00): Steve Davis v Joe Johnson – 1986, final.

Thursday 23 April (14:00): Jimmy White v Stephen Hendry – 1988, second round.

Friday 24 April (14:00): Stephen Hendry v Jimmy White – 1992, final.

Saturday 25 April (12:30): Stephen Hendry v Jimmy White – 1994, final.

Sunday 26 April (14:00): Stephen Hendry v Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2002, semi-final.

Monday 27 April (13:45): Peter Ebdon v Matthew Stevens – 2002, semi-final.

Tuesday 28 April (13:45): Ken Doherty v Paul Hunter – 2003, semi-final.

Wednesday 29 April (13:45): Shaun Murphy v Matthew Stevens – 2007, quarter-final.

Thursday 30 April (13:45): John Higgins v Judd Trump – 2011, final.

Friday 1 May (13:45): Ronnie O’Sullivan v Barry Hawkins – 2013, final.

Saturday 2 May (12:30): Neil Robertson v Judd Trump – 2014, quarter-final.

Sunday 3 May (13:00): Steve Davis v Dennis Taylor – 1985, final.

Monday 4 May (13:45): Judd Trump v Stuart Bingham – 2015, semi-final.

We will also be showing a wide range of Crucible Gold clips on our Facebook and YouTube channels – the schedule will be announced later this week.

 

Snooker related news – 9 April 2020

There have been quite a few snooker related news in the last couple of days.

Barry Hearn suffered a heart attack – his second – but is now out of hospital

Barry Hearn thanks NHS after coming through his second heart attack

Phil HaighThursday 9 Apr 2020

Barry Hearn has sent his thanks to the NHS as he recovers from a heart attack he suffered on Sunday.

The chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation and World Snooker Tour suffered a ‘minor’ heart attack at the weekend and had an operation on Tuesday. The veteran promoter, 71, returned home on Wednesday and appears to be in good spirits as he makes his way back to fitness.

Hearn tweeted: ‘Humbled by the thousands of “get well” wishes so thanks to each and everyone of you. Massive shout out to Broomfield and Basildon hospitals – don’t know what we’d do without the NHS. God bless you all and stay safe.’

Hearn added on Thursday morning: ‘Memories like this keep you going. Can’t wait for more ! Patience people sport will be back soon but we have a bigger battle to win first. God bless the NHS.’

This echoed the sentiments of his son Eddie, who confirmed the news on Wednesday, tweeting: ‘As if we can’t thank the NHS enough, I want to particularly thank the staff at Broomfield & Basildon. My dad @BarryHearn was taken to hospital on Sunday after a minor heart attack and was operated on yesterday.He is up and well and returns home today in good spirits!Thank you’

Barry first suffered a heart attack in 2002 and his family have a long history of heart problems. ‘I’ve waited 30 years for it so it didn’t come as a surprise,’ Hearn told the Mirror after his 2002 attack, ‘My father had it, and his father had it before him. No male of the past four generations in our family has got past 45. So anything more is a bonus.’

The man credited with booms in darts and snooker in recent years, along with his legendary career as a boxing promoter, was inundated with messages of support on Twitter.

 

As all the readers of this blog will know by now, I don’t always agree with Barry Hearn’s views on the way snooker should be managed and promoted but there is no doubt that he has massively improved the state of the Tour over the last 10 years. There are a lot more tournaments, more exposure and more money … I just wish the latter was a bit more evenly shared so that lower ranked players wouldn’t struggle so badly to make ends meet.

All the same, I’m whishing him the very best and sincerely hope that he fully recovers.

Speaking of the past state of snooker, David Hendon has written this nice piece for the WST site.

Snooker, like all professional sport, is currently on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone involved in the game is looking forward to its return but this is not the first time snooker has been forced to take a break, as journalist and commentator David Hendon explains…

Without Joe Davis, snooker’s first World Professional Championship may have arrived much later than 1927. And yet the game’s first star shone so brightly that he unwittingly played a part in its decline thirty years later.

Unlike the leading lights of today, Davis had no established players to watch, analyse or learn from but his father was a publican at the Queens Hotel, Whittington Moor in Chesterfield and the establishment boasted a full-sized snooker table.

Snooker was still in its infancy when Davis was in his. Billiards was the prevailing cue sport of its time and Davis, and his younger brother, Fred, became proficient players. Billiards, though, often lacked dramatic tension as a spectator sport because its matches could be so one-sided. In 1926, Davis lost in the world professional final by 6,500 points to Tom Newman. Audiences could admire the skills on show, but excitement was thin on the ground.

Davis saw an opportunity with snooker, the young upstart of the cue sports family, to make a name for himself and, more widely, for the game itself. Others had tried with little success. In 1924, Tom Dennis, a player and billiard hall owner, wrote to the then governing body for billiards asking them to consider promoting an open snooker tournament. The sniffy response he received read: “It seems doubtful whether snooker as a spectacular game is sufficiently popular to warrant the successful promotion of such a competition.”

Two years later Davis, supported by the promoter and table-maker Bill Camkin, managed to persuade them to reconsider. Ten players entered the inaugural championship and a trophy was purchased using half of the entry fees. It is still presented to the world champion to this day.

The tournament’s first match began on November 29, 1926. The following May at Camkin’s billiard hall in Birmingham, Davis defeated Dennis 20-11 in the final. The Billiard Player, the leading cue sports organ of the time, gave the event four paragraphs of coverage. There was clearly still a long way to go.

And yet the championship continued, albeit with a small but determined band of players. These were very different times. Davis had never driven a car but a rail strike in 1934 meant he could not get from Nottingham to Kettering to play Tom Newman, the only other entrant. Davis duly purchased a car, was given rough instructions on how to drive it and set off for the match.

Davis kept on winning and, as he did so, his reputation and celebrity grew. There was to be two decades of Davis dominance, interrupted only by the second world war. He won his 14thworld title in 1940 and his 15th and last when the tournament returned in 1946, after which he retired. This proved to be the start of snooker’s problems.

Davis had in fact only retired from competing in the championship but still played in other events, undertook exhibitions and television appearances and was by far the best known figure in the still fledgling sport. The fact he was not playing in the World Championship therefore seriously devalued it – like Hamlet without the prince – and the interest, such as it was, dwindled to the point that by 1957 no promoter wanted to touch it.

And so professional snooker entered a dark period of extended hibernation which was to last until 1964. This was the time of JFK and the Beatles. The 60s were swinging but snooker lay dormant. Perhaps it had been a fad after all, a novelty whose time had come and gone.

These were grim times for the players, who retreated back into normal life. Fred Davis had a hotel in Llandudno; Rex Williams a family printing firm in Staffordshire. Players still undertook exhibitions but making a living was hard, with the sport enjoying very little exposure outside of a few matches on black and white television, usually involving Joe and acting as filler between horse races on the BBC’s Grandstand.

Williams, who at 17 had won the English amateur title, was now 30 and restless. This should have been the prime period of his career. He took it upon himself to revive the World Championship on a challenge basis, with the reigning champion – in this case John Pulman – taking on a single opponent.

The governing body gave their sanction and Pulman beat Fred Davis 19-16 in the first World Championship to be staged for seven years. Pulman would win six further world titles on this basis against a series of challengers, Williams included, until 1968.

Williams believed that the players needed to take greater control of their destinies and pulled together a players’ association, which would become the WPBSA. Largely through his efforts, snooker’s profile was growing again. The players came back blinking into the sunlight of a new era, still uncertain but at least with playing opportunities and a World Championship restored.

The championship proceeded on a challenge basis until 1969 when the open format was revived. It coincided with the arrival of colour television, which led to Pot Black providing a national showcase. Suddenly, the leading players of the day were household names, from the head-masterly Ray Reardon to errant tearaway Alex Higgins. The public took to them, and to the game, and it led to increased interest from sponsors and television. Now, promoters could not get enough of snooker as a professional circuit was born and a boom beckoned.

And what of the man who had started it all?

In 1978, Joe Davis took his seat in the Crucible theatre in Sheffield, the new home for the World Championship, and watched Fred, at the age of 64, compete against Perrie Mans in the semi-finals. The match was so close, so exciting, and for Davis so personally involving, that he collapsed. He died a few months later at the age of 77.

Davis would surely marvel at the sport today, at its players, administration and global reach, but he had lived long enough to see the championship to which he gave life blossom into a major sporting attraction, and for snooker itself to rise from the ashes of indifference and burn brightly in the public consciousness.


Thanks to Roger Lee for the pictures.

And the BBC will show some Classic matches from April 18 on:

CrucibleClassics.jpg

Here is what’s on the menu from April 18 to April 24:

  • Saturday:  Davis v Knowles (82)
  • Sunday: White v Hendry (92)
  • Monday: Reardon v A Higgins (82)
  • Tuesday: N Robertson v Selby (2014)
  • Wednesday: Davis v Taylor (85)
  • Thursday: Davis v Johnson (86)
  • Friday: Hendry v White (88)

The BBC will show snooker come April

BBCSpecialApril2020

Following the BBC annoucements on social media, WST has published this:

The BBC will televise some great Betfred World Championship matches from years gone by during the dates of what would have been this year’s tournament.

The London 2012 Olympics and Euro ’96 are just some of the other memorable moments that viewers on the BBC can relive this summer after the coronavirus pandemic decimated the sporting calendar. For more detail CLICK HERE

The Betfred World Championship would have run from April 18 to May 4 but has been postponed, potentially until July or August.

We’ll also be reliving some magical Crucible moments from the past 40 years on our social media channels – for a taster click here.

Well at least that’s something…

 

Ronnie to feature in new Fifth Gear Series

It’s well-known that Ronnie loves his cars … he’s an experienced track driver, he featured in Top Gear in 2004, and now the news has filtered on twitter that he will feature in the new Fifth Gear series, a British television  magazines series about cars (produced  in recent years by Discovery / History , the ones that also produced the American Hustle).

Fith Gear July 2018

Ronnie has been on Fifth Gear before when in 2010 he tried himself at car racing

The quality of those two snippets isn’t great but hey!

Vicky gave Ronnie the fright of his life there!

Unfortunately I couldn’t find back the 2004 Top Gear episode where Ronnie had a quite hilarious chat with Jeremy Clarkson and was involved in a snooker challenge, needing to pot all the balls before the Stig completed a race around the track in Ronnie’s car.

But then Tim found this one, showing part of the show. Thank you Tim !

And big thanks to Silvry who has now unearthed the full episode, with Ronnie part (starting around 00:25) with the interview. It will make you smile!

And to stay in the theme… this is one of Ronnie’s favourite songs, it’s called “Fast Car”

and he loves listening to it when driving…

I have to say that I love the whole album, by Tracy Chapman, simply named “Tracy Chapman”. I was released in 1988, 30 years ago, and it’s still very relevant.