John Street, one of snooker's best known referees in the 1980s and 90s, has died of lung disease at the age of 77.

John refereed five world finals at the Crucible. He took charge of Cliff Thorburn's 1980 triumph, Joe Johnson's surprise win in 1986, Steve Davis's 18-3 drubbing of John Parrott in 1989, Stephen Hendry's great comeback against Jimmy White in 1992 and Hendry's fifth capture of the crown in 1995.

In addition, he was one of the leading officials at the Wembley Masters. His last match came at the 1997 final where Davis recovered from 8-4 down to beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-8, a contest famously interrupted by a female streaker.

John reffed White's 1992 Crucible maximum and at one stage told an over-excited spectator to 'shut up' so as not to put Jimmy off.

Everyone respected him. He was one of snooker's top officials and a famous face himself in the game's boom years.

In recent times he wrote an authoritative guide to the rules with Peter Rook and a column in Pot Black and later Cuesport magazine.

In the last year he was able to walk only with the aid of sticks. He was admitted to hospital before Christmas.

He died three days after his 77th birthday.

John leaves a wife, Jean, and two children.


Anonymous said...

RIP John

In a time now where referees are part of snookers focal point and the cameras centred on them much more often than before i look back and remember how you stood out "back in the day" by being professional and among the best referees to ever officiate professional snooker.

Thoughts with your family.

Anonymous said...

Sad news indeed. I spent a long time in the company of John during my the summer of ’95 and ’96 when the qualifiers were being staged at Blackpool. Long days and nights, but occasionally we did get time off for good behaviour and let our hair down in the seaside resort.

On one evening a bunch of us hit the ‘heights’ after an early finish and indulged in what would be called ‘lightweight binge drinking’. In the company was then assistant tournament director Gordon Regan and referee Paul Harrison, who began having a conversation to the lyrics of Blur’s ‘Country House.’

Regan: He lives in a house
Harrison: A very big house
Regan: In the country
Harrison: Watching afternoon repeats
Regan: And the food he eats
Harrison: In the country
Regan: He takes all manner of pills
Harrison: And piles up analyst bills
Regan: In the country
Harrison: Oh, it's like an animal farm
Regan: That's the rural charm
Harrison: In the country

‘Streety’ - not a great fan of Brtipop - was between them, his head going in one direction, then the other, like someone watching a tennis match, completely at a loss about who they were ‘talking’ about, but desperate to join in. When Streety did get a word in, it was only ‘who?’ and they kicked off again.

Regan: He lives in a house
Harrison: A very big house
Regan: In the country
Harrison: He's got a fog in his chest
Regan: So he needs a lot of rest
Harrison: In the country
Regan: He doesn't drink, smoke, laugh
Harrison: Takes herbal baths ...

... at which point John, who was probably dizzy by now and completely frustrated, just exploded, slammed his drink down and screamed "Herbal bloody baths! Who the f*** are 'we' talking about – do I know him?”

Needless to say Gordon, Paul, Mike Ganley and me had to be picked off the floor laughing – which only brought more abuse from Streety because we were laughing at his expense.

John was a referee who concentrated on doing his job, which meant you seldom heard or saw him, and certainly didn't go to watch him.

Happy days, sad news.

Anonymous said...

One of the most recognizable voices and certainly faces back in the 80s for me.

He will be sorely missed by everyone who loves and cares about snooker. My thoughts are with you and your family.

May you rest in peace.


Anonymous said...

This is very sad news regarding John Street.

I'm a qualified snooker referee and when I started my officiating I spent several sessions with John Street across various pro-ams across the South West and he always had great words of encouragement for the younger referees. He supported them wherever possible and gave up his time to advise and coach accordingly.

My great memory though, you have already mentioned, was requesting an excited supporter to 'shut up!' when Jimmy White was in the latter stages of completing his 147 break in the 1992 Embassy World Championship.

Rest in peace John, you will be missed by everyone in the world of snooker from players to referee's to supporters alike.