Maybe the answer to snooker’s problems lies in the recording studio.
In the 1980s, several top players released singles. They were termed ‘novelty records’ with novelty, of course, meaning ‘awful.’
Most famous was Snooker Loopy featuring cockney duo Chas ‘n’ Dave and Matchroom’s then stable of Steve Davis, Tony Meo, Terry Griffiths, Willie Thorne and Dennis Taylor.
“Now old Willie Thorne his hair's all gone
And his mates all take the rise
His opponent said cover up his head
Cos it's shining in my eyes
When the light shines down on his bare crown
It's a cert he's gonna walk it
It's just not fair giving off that glare
Perhaps I ought to chalk it.”
This last line was sung by Willie himself. In fact, each player had a line to sing and it took me at least a decade to find out what Terry had sung (“hair brushes for me Barnet”, for the record.)
The lyrics everyone remembers from this song also serve as an instructional aid: “Pot the reds then screw back for the yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black.”
It is not believed Stephen Sondheim suffered any sleepless nights on hearing this.
However, Snooker Loopy had an infectious charm that made it impossible to resist and it duly reached no.6 in the singles chart.
The inevitable follow-up was called the Romford Rap and was a kind of call for multi cultural harmony around the snooker table. You can listen to it here and anyone who makes it through to the end deserves a medal.
Alex Higgins followed up his 1982 Crucible success with the song ‘One-Four-Seven’ which you can listen to here.
Joe Johnson, who sang in a band before winning the 1986 world title, released a single called ‘Bradford’s Bouncing Back’, with all the money going to the victims of the 1985 Valley Parade fire.
And, of course, Peter Ebdon has done his best to trouble the top 40 with his 1996 release ‘I Am a Clown’ and the later ‘Fall of Paradise.’
Jimmy White also sang on a record in recent years but, following extensive therapy, I’ve forgotten all the details.
I’ve heard Mark Selby do karaoke and he’s not bad. There must be other players who can hold a tune.
Michael Holt’s brother is in a band, The Kull, so maybe they could help out.
So, what should the players sing?
Suggestions please (and keep them tasteful if you will).
Here’s a couple to get started...
Ronnie O’Sullivan – Rocket Man (Elton John)
Mark Selby – Jokerman (Bob Dylan)
Ali Carter – Come Fly With Me (Frank Sinatra)
Neil Robertson – Down Under (Men At Work)
Stephen Maguire – Fire (Arthur Brown)