17.11.08

HIGGINS HAS HIS SAY

John Higgins has given an interview to the Eurosport website in which he speaks of his frustration of how the sport is being run by World Snooker.

Higgins has become the most vocal critic of the governing body among the players since setting up the World Series earlier this year.

As a twice world champion he is entitled to his opinions and I think most of his fellow players would agree with them.

The World Series has shown that there is a huge appetite for snooker in Europe and credit goes to him for taking tournaments to the continent.

However, I am slightly alarmed by the mention lower down the interview of reducing the traditional game from 15 reds to six or ten.

John is right that there are many, many things that could be improved in terms of how snooker is run.

But one thing that does not need changing is the game itself.

Interview here.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

He does have a point in making it easier for the wildcards.They have virtually no chance of beating the pros in a proper 15 red game so why not introduce something to make it more interesting/competitive.
Let's be honest 90+% of the wildcards aren't very good so they need help.
I wonder how much Higgins will get fined for this article.
Of course he's right in what he says but,of course,WS don't care about that.

Matthew Custer said...

I agree with John. More tournaments in Europe is the right way to develop this sport.

France, Germany, Czech Republic and Poland are very good places to organize more ranking or non-ranking events, because of great audience, who know the game and players very well. Of course because of european players too - IBSF Championship in Wels has shown good preformance polish and german players.

Kenny said...

A bit late in the day to be speaking out against World Snooker when Higgins, Murphy and the other "anti-Doyle" supporters were rejecting the Altium proposal in 2002.

That said, I totally agree with what John Higgins said.

Scott said...

Dave

There is nothing wrong with exploring ways to make snooker appeal to more, and for you to dismiss possible changes to the game without any reasons why shows your naivety.

Look at the success of 20-20 cricket. A fast paced game where runs and wickets are guaranteed and the match is over in about 3 hours.

This has proved so popular that a Texan millionaire is quite happy to put up $20m for a mini tournament using this format.

Darts has various tournament formats; first to 3 sets, first to 10 legs, start with a double.

Tennis took the radical step of introducing a tie break to stop sets dragging on nearly 40 years ago.

Snooker needs changes. How about doing something like this. Six red frames, so they will be over with quicker. Then, have best of three sets, with first to 3 legs the winner of each set.

The skills of potting and safety remain the same, so why not try it.

Snooker needs some radical marketing, and simply saying the game does not need changing will simply see the sport slowly whither away until it disappears from TV altogether.

Dave H said...

Leaving aside the fact that the last thing I am is 'naive' there's a very simple reason why there's no need to try it: snooker in Europe is hugely popular. Its figures on Eurosport are phenomenal.

And what the viewers have taken to is the traditional game, not a watered down version of it.

The last thing wrong with professional snooker is the game itself.

Matt@PSB said...

Totally agree with Dave on this one, I can see why Higgins wants to make it easier for the wildcards and to give them a chance, but they aren't going to get any better by having the game watered down for them.

Otherwise I think that Higgins is quite right really.

Mike P said...

Actually, I think Higgins is very aware of your point, Dave. He says they've "spoken about trying some things" but adds "You don't want to tamper with the sport and the game because that's what people know and love". That's pretty far from wanting to water down the game.

I'm on your side, 100%, but I don't think Higgins is on the other side. It feels as if he's just thinking loudly about what could be done about the local players' not doing better in the World Series.

bongo said...

John Higgins has some fair points there, World Snooker really need to tighten their act in some departments so to speak and I myself think for a professional sporting governing body they are not as good as they should be.

I am not saying that it is easy to run World Snooker as it isn't.

I loved it when John Higgins said "They just sit back and let thinkgs slide", 100% legendry from the wizard!

6 reds has many problems, one it could lead to bigger 6 red tournaments which we don't need, the game doesn't need changing, just the way it's run, and the safety would be not be seen in my opinion.

I disagree with an 'Anonymous' who said that the Wildcards are not very good, they are very, very good players, OK, not as good as the top professionals yet, such as Higgins himself, but they can play, but they don't have the TV experience, it's fair to say.

Well done John for speaking out, he really cares about our game.

bongo
www.thesnookerforum.com

Anonymous said...

well said mikep. i read it like that too!

Anonymous said...

well said mikep. i read it like that too!

Matthew Custer said...

Polish proverb says: 'usually true is lying between, generally without grave'.

Brownie said...

I'm not convinced that a 6 red game would be more appealing. The biggest problem in my opinion is that the players are not relating to the audience.

The boom in darts started with the silly walk-ons. I'm not suggesting we adopt that rubbish, but the public totally relate to the players. In return the players spend a lot of time and effort mixing with the audience and signing autographs etc when not in play.

The darts audience feel part of proceedings and as such buy into the concept. In contrast our snooker professionals often show no real acknowledgment of their fans. There is no interaction, no taking the time to sign autographs after the game, or enjoy banter during.

They are living life on easy street and a great overhaul of their approach, and that of the tournament organisers is long overdue.

There is nothing wrong with the product, just the way it is presented.

Dave H said...

Mike - I have no doubt John is on the side of snooker as the game we all know and love. He's floating this idea not as a way of making it more popular but as a way of giving the wildcards a chance. I can understand this, althougha handicap system may also be an idea.

There's nothing wrong with coming up with new ideas and having some debate!

Dave H said...

Incidentally, I'm NOT against playing a six red event somewhere where the game isn't popular or particularly well known as it might lead to some interest in the traditional game, as Scott suggested earlier.

Bahrain springs to mind.

Anonymous said...

A handicapping systems sounds better than a 6 reds scenario but I can see where Higgins is coming from. Although he was part of the group that brought down the Altium deal which was the snooker crime of the century, he has redeemed himself and fair play to him for speaking out and risking a fine from the stazi.

Anonymous said...

John Higgins has some fantastic ideas and really has nailed world snooker on this one.

Pity it took six years for the penny (which in real terms is worth half its value now) to drop.

John Higgins: Short-sighted visionary

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure the people who play snooker so brilliantly (like John H) are really able to take the game forward because of this talent for playing.
Snooker is a members association so the players have had years to put things right in the sport, and John's vested interest in the World Series could be seen as his motive for criticising the sport at present.
So, shall we allow Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins and maybe Stephen Maguire to run the sport as they may be the best players?
Should we also pick out the relevant comments they make amongst the nonsense (ie ten red frames or even six?)
I think its easy for these guys to complain but only Peter Ebdon has stepped forward to really attempt to help by being on the board, and apparently play a part in a new ranking event in Bahrain.

Anonymous said...

"but only Peter Ebdon has stepped forward to really attempt to help by being on the board, and apparently play a part in a new ranking event in Bahrain"

What were you saying about vested interest?

kimball said...

Well, so what.

Finally there are a rankingtournament in the middle east again.
Regarding wildcards, TV light is a handicap for sure and so is ultrafast cloth, but there are wildcards and wildcards.
It so happend that Warzaw clashed with the IBSF W Ch and the most interesting young Polish players
were there.
The best would be to hook WS to a
U21 or U19 Worldseries with a lot
of qualification tournaments + pro-
moting that tour. Star of the future.

Scott said...

I'm not saying make every event a 6 red event, but something seriously needs to happen to raise levels of interest.

Whether there's 6 reds at the start of a frame or 15, the object of the game is still the same.

Just think, a new format that will raise awareness for snooker. But there's still people on here who want to continue as things are.

The sport is declining as a spectacle; something needs to change to generate interest, and therefore media coverage and sponsorship. New money coming into WS means cash for growing the sport in other countries (possibly a new ranking event?)

Yet there's people on here that want to keep things as they are; i.e. carry on watching a declining sport.

Wake up folks. Prize money is dwindling. Crowds are dwindling. Sponsors are nowhere.

Ask yourselves why? Bad administration? Definitely. But other sports have added elements to their games that enhance themselves as a viewing spectacle without detracting from the competition element.

Hence some sports will suffer as others grow.

Adapt or die as they say. Keeping the status quo is not an option.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what Scott says, up to a point.

But why 200 professional players?

Why 96 on the Main (only) Tour?

Make it the same as golf and only pay those in the last 32 onwards.

That would focus minds and get rid of the hangers-on.

Anonymous said...

Maybe because golfer's get paid thousand's and snooker player's peanuts

Anonymous said...

If snooker pays only the last 32, does that mean the top 16 can still start at the last 32 stage?
If so they'll all be for it at the newly formed players union meeting.

Anonymous said...

handicap it. the better standard the qualifier the less they get extra per read.

good qualifier/wild - 2 points per red
average qualifier/wild - 3 points per red
poor qualifier/wild - 4 points per red

have a criteria set in place for who gets what and where and run with that system and it will even it up a bit.....exact same game except a slight point advantage....basic idea, may need a little tweak, but essentially a simple way of handicapping

Anonymous said...

I'm pleased that Higgins has said in this interview that the Players Association isn't going to attempt a breakaway.

That would be stupid when Higgins and his fellow players could in theory change the WPBSA board members at any moment.

To paraphrase Elvis, "a little less converation, a little more action", Mr Higgins.

Otherwise I can fully understand John's frustrations. We already have the German Open (Paul Hunter Classic) and the Belgium Open - why can't these be turned into ranking events?

Anonymous said...

Before we start praising Ebdon, as soemeone above has done, let's not forget that he was one of the prime movers behind the opposition to the Altium deal in 2002.

If that deal had been accepted, professional snooker over the last 6 years would have been unrecognisable from what it's actually turned out to be.

Let's not also forget his match against Liang Wenbo in Belfast, or his disgraceful treatment of Clive Everton.

kimball said...

Well anonymous, Higgins was against that deal also.
Why we should remember the Wenbo match is beyond me, if you really
want to remember a stink, then look
up LG Players Championship final.
You would easily, especially if you
saw the matches, be pretty sure it
was a fix all the way from the quarterfinal.

The new players, soon to be taking
over doesn´t seem to hot about old
quarrels.
Take a deep look of the amateurgame
all over the world, that´s the scary part, not really the presscoverage in the UK.
Not much is moving at speed and UK
seem pretty pleased to make qualification as hard as possible
for oversea players.
My guess is (if the game survives)
that in five years time, the whole
tour will be changed and UK players
will be in for a lot more travelling maybe even for qualifying to the tour.
For everybody travelling to Pontins
90% of the time will certainly not
last.At least it shouldn´t.

kimball said...

Well anonymous, Higgins was against that deal also.
Why we should remember the Wenbo match is beyond me, if you really
want to remember a stink, then look
up LG Players Championship final.
You would easily, especially if you
saw the matches, be pretty sure it
was a fix all the way from the quarterfinal.

The new players, soon to be taking
over doesn´t seem to hot about old
quarrels.
Take a deep look of the amateurgame
all over the world, that´s the scary part, not really the presscoverage in the UK.
Not much is moving at speed and UK
seem pretty pleased to make qualification as hard as possible
for oversea players.
My guess is (if the game survives)
that in five years time, the whole
tour will be changed and UK players
will be in for a lot more travelling maybe even for qualifying to the tour.
For everybody travelling to Pontins
90% of the time will certainly not
last.At least it shouldn´t.