20.5.09

WHO WILL BE IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?

Note that the above question asks who will be in not who should be.

There is no should be when it comes to the Premier League. It’s Barry Hearn’s event and he can invite whoever he likes. He shouldn’t have to adhere to any criteria other than what is best for Matchroom.

(I point this out only because it’s amazing how many people in snooker get caught up in the phoney concept of ‘fairness.’ A governing body has to be fair; an independent promoter does not.)

We know Ronnie O’Sullivan, as defending champion, and Judd Trump, winner of the qualifying tournament, the Championship League, will be among the seven man field.

Hearn knows that having the world champion in the event will give it credibility, so John Higgins will also take part.

To facilitate TV sales to Asia, one of Ding Junhui, Marco Fu and Liang Wenbo can expect a call up.

Ding has taken part the last few years but has not too well of late and Fu is now Asia’s top ranked player, which may enhance his chances.

Fu also has an excellent record against the likes of O’Sullivan and Higgins and is a former champion.

Liang would bring his entertaining brand of snooker to the Premier League and would not struggle with the 25-second shot clock.

So that’s four spots taken care of, what of the other three?

Steve Davis has already been told he won’t be in the field for the first time since the Premier League began – as the Matchroom League – in 1987.

However, I’d expect Hearn to invite Stephen Hendry once again as his presence adds prestige to the tournament.

I expect the remaining two spots to be filled by two of the following: Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson, Ali Carter and Mark Allen.

Robertson’s great plus is that he is Australian and so may bring in extra TV revenue down under.

Selby was runner-up to O’Sullivan last season and has become one of the modern game’s most popular players.

Murphy is UK champion and was World Championship runner-up and so would bring an extra edge of credibility to the event.

Carter had an excellent year, finishing runner-up to O’Sullivan at the Crucible in 2008 and winning his first ranking title, the Welsh Open, last February.

Allen brought his bustling, exciting, pumped up form of snooker to the World Championship and reached the semi-finals.

So some excellent candidates but only seven places.

One thing the Premier League could do is have two groups of five with the top two from each going through to the semi-finals, which would actually mean one less match.

This is unlikely to happen and I understand the final seven will be announced within the next few weeks for the competition which starts in September.

But to return to the first point I made: whatever Hearn decides, nobody can complain.

It’s his event and he can pick whoever he likes.

84 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sure he'll pick Selby after the favour he did him at Crondon Park. He'd have struggled to justify inviting the trumped up Trump if hadn't won it. Hopefully Carter will get the call up. Not sure that there is enough interest down under to invite Robertson though. My further five prediction would be:

Ding, Selby, Carter, Hendry and Higgins - but if that is the case Murphy will feel very hard done by.

Funny how he never plumps for Maguire isn't it?
Trump

Anonymous said...

Even though he's well past his Best Before Date, Jimmy White could get the nod to bolster TV figures and boost attendances.

Anonymous said...

Snooker is in serious trouble if this is regarded as a showcase event.

Matt said...

I'll have a guess at ROS, Higgins, Trump, Hendry, Selby, Ding, Allen.

Anonymous said...

If Carter and Fu are in and Selby, Wenbo and Ding are out then I'm cancelling my skysports subscription.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Robertson get a chance - he seems like the sort of player that could shine in these surroundings.

Anonymous said...

Matchroom have already announced that Higgins is in.
The remaining four will hopefully on merit be Hendry, Fu, Murphy and Carter.

If Hearn is looking purely for who people will pay to watch in venues then he should take Hendry and then bring back Davis along with Mark Williams. These are the names that sell out first at the crucible in recent years. I guess adding an asian player for appeal should be Fu on merit, or Wenbo for attractive play but will be Ding to keep China happy.

Anonymous said...

Robertson performed poorly last time he was in the league. On what basis is Selby considered to be one of the most popular players today? I personally enjoy the way he plays but his matches do not seem to sell out and he currently holds no significant titles.

Anonymous said...

Well said anon @5.12

Selby is the Jester from Leicester as Denis Taylor keeps telling us. Maybe some people see his quips during matches as nothing more than harmless banter. Others, such as Dott probably regard it as snooker's equivalent of sledging. I for one will be happy to see Selby slide down the rankings to oblivion.

Anonymous said...

i agree with both 5.12 and 5.20!

Why do they keep banging on about this man.

He aint achieved anything...yet...he keeps being called a rising star...how old is he...16? 19? 21? No...26!

The constant talking he was doing at the crucible is a ploy to get inside the other player's mind: gamesmanship.

Greg said...

I'd like to see Selby, Liang, and Robertson.

I agree with Dave, Hendry will probably get invited.

wildJONESEYE said...

before the World Championship despite being UK Champion i did not have murphy as a possible and i had
Ronnie
Trump
Higgins
Hendry
Selby
Ding
and
Robertson

however i think after the world championship they cant ignore murphy and i think the decision will be between Robertson and Ding as to who gets the final place.

persanally id drop hendry but as you say dave Barry Hearn sees hendrys presance as a added factor because despite new players that are brilliant players the hottest ticket in snooker is Ronnie v Hendry still.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a good number of players to choose from, which can't be bad for an apparently 'declining' sport.

Personally I would say that Fu deserves the nod over Ding or Liang but I can see him losing out to one of these.

At the turn of the year it would have been great to see Carter and Day invited however now I'd imagine he'd invite two from Robertson/Murphy/Selby as well as Hendry

Chris said...

It's a tough choice to decide. As has been already mentioned, there are so many players that could be chosen. Here is the players I'd pick, it's anybody's guess who will be in the league as, of course, it's Barry's choice (except Ronnie as defending champ. and Higgins as World Champ. and of course Judd Trump)

I think the following players will be involved, except for the players who have secured their place:

Liang Wenbo,

Shaun Murphy,

Ali Carter,

Stephen Hendry,


I'd pick:

Ding,

Allen,

Carter,

Murphy,

I always enjoy the Premier League, it's well run, there are packed houses each week, great atmosphere, different city each week so lots of people get to watch live at the arena around the country (improves interest of the tournament), best players in the world, well brodcast on Sky Sports, interesting shot clock, runs for a good number of months etc. etc.

I enjoy all tournaments, but the shot clock and league format, in my opinion, make it more interesting.

It starts on September 3rd, but after that there will be no matches for two weeks due to the Shanghai Masters, but I'm looking forward to it. Maybe it would have been better for it to start after the Shanghai but then it is down to what can be organised.

It visits my area so I get to watch it at the arena too!

Devil's Advocate said...

Any reason why World No. 2 Stephen Maguire wouldn't be considered?

I appreciate that this is a non-ranking event and don't disagree with the reasons given for possible contenders, but I'm surprised Maguire seems to have gone under the radar, nothwithstanding the fact that he didn't have a spectacular season this time around.

Or has he had a falling out with Hearn in the past?

wildJONESEYE said...

Stephen maguire hasent had the greatest season.

stephen maguire isnt comercial for overseas market.

and

stephen maguire isnt a legend.

Anonymous said...

if WJE says it, it must be true!

Anonymous said...

Hendry?
I think not, as this is no longer the mid nineties.
Put it this way, if he plays in it he cannot win.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mark King and that geezer with the wee goatee beard, Hamilton, might be outside bets. Both played excellent at the WC's and are real characters.

Hamilton is a great break-builder with a shrewd safety game and he can also ensure matches drag on for what seems like eons to maximise TV time.

Anonymous said...

Last season at Newport, didn't they ask the crowd at the back to move forward to the seats at the front to make it look like it was packed?

What would Jim Royle say: "Packed houses my arse!"

Anonymous said...

Good point Anon @ 9.10pm

What I'd like to see (and wouldn't we all?) is Barry Hearn getting some of the slapper's he uses at the boxing; you know? the birds that parade the number-boards showing what round it is.

Maybe they could trial it for individual players breaks during frames?

Anonymous said...

Hendry must get the nod because Hendry v O'Sullivan is still snooker's marquee match.It is snooker's greatest ever rivarly and every time you watch them play you feel you are witnessing history.Thet haven't met so much in ranking events over the last few years so it is great that we are guaranteed this one clash every year.I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

St. Johnstone

Falkirk look perilously close to the drop :-(

Anonymous said...

Maguire should be in. He wears his heart on his sleeve - the punters can see he cares. He has an edginess about him, almost a junior Alex Higgins waiting to unleash himself on to the world when the time is right. If Maguire turns up in some god forsaken outpost like Great Malvern you just know he'll be out on the lash after he's finished playing. No going back to the dressing room to change - just straight out for a few ales, a kebab and a hangover.

Mig said...

My choices for the Premier League would be:

O’Sullivan
Trump
Higgins
Selby
Perry
Hendry
Ding

Joe Perry finished 2nd in the table last season. If that isn’t enough to get him a spot in next league, then it means Matchroom doesn’t acknowledge what players achieve in its own event, and that is something that reinforces the “Mickey Mouse” status of that tournament, at least in my eyes.

wildJONESEYE said...

unfortunally results doesent matter...

Mark Williams last match in the PL was the final in the 2004/2005 season..

he wasent invited back and posibly unless Perry wins the championship league i cant see him back either.

Rigsby said...

Mine would be,

O’Sullivan
Trump
Higgins
Selby
Hendry
Marco Fu
Murphy

Rigsby said...

Hi wild i know we had a bit of a debate yesterday, but i hope now it's finished with. I know there are a lot of stupid comments that are appearing on Dave's blog at the momment but the one you had a go at yesterday i thought was a little uncalled for. Now if you had had a go at anons posts at 9:16pm and 9:31pm i would of been with you 100%.

wildJONESEYE said...

peace pact.....

im all for that..

regarding that comment i had a go at...it angers me when some matches bring down the sport regarding the betting fiasco...

in other sports if a match is braught in question that match is investigated for some reason in snooker if 1 match is corrupt the whole sport is tainted with the same brush....

when Robertson crawled his way back to level with murphy in the WC semi people i know was saying it was a fix because they need it for TV covarage and thoes types of comments are the result of very few players down the years that hasent got morrells but mud sticks and i snapped....sorry.

Anonymous said...

My seven are.

ROS
Higgins
Trump
Hendry
Ding
Selby
Murphy

Rigsby said...

Hi wild you have lost me somewhat, our debate was'nt over some betting fiasco.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully one of the seven players will not be stricken down with Mumps and have to pull out, thus devaluing the whole qualification process as is the case in the darts equivalent.
This may result in an exhibition match between Ding and local player Ray Edmonds in Grimsby.

Anonymous said...

Well said Rigsby

This wildJones character is just inflaming things - if indeed he is genuine. I can't for one minute believe it's for real when you see the spelling - I thought a 'morrell' was a type of mushroom!

Anonymous said...

anon at 5:12 5:20 and 5:27

I'm guessing you are the same person agreeing with yourself which is rather sad.

Mark Selby is one of the best thing to happen to snooker in recent times. I pity you if cannot see what he brings to the table because he's one of the best snooker players in the world and currently the only player capable of mounting a challenge to an in form O'Sullivan and Higgins.

I will continue to pay money to watch him play live and support him because his game is one of intelligence and invention on a grand scale.

As for accusations of gamesmanship, well I can only laugh. What do you think this game is all about? Potting balls? Think again. Mark Selby is very strong mentally as well as possessing a devastating game and he's going to be around for years to come so get used to seeing him in the Premier League and every other event for the next 10 to 15 years.

Anonymous said...

A couple of things:

These people slating Selby and insinuating he is over-rated have obviously never played snooker to any degree of ability. Failing that they are blind. To me he is the second best match player in the world at the moment behind Higgins.

There is a blindingly obvious reason that Maguire isn't involved in the CL or the PL despite his world ranking, but I guess that's the 'elephant in the room'.

andy said...

My 7:

My picks are based on entertainment value.

ROS
Trump
Higgins
Allen
Ding/Fu (can't make my mind up)
Murphy
Selby

When Ding is flying, he's dynamite!! His match against Hendry last season (or was it the season before) was incredible. If I knew he was going to play like that again, I would put him in before Fu.

Andy

JohnH said...

People prove themselves by what they win. Selby played well in possibly the two best matches of the season in the Masters and World Champs. Unfortunately for him he lost both and like Maguire currently holds no ranking or top invitational titles. Like 5.12 yesterday I enjoy the way he plays most of the time but think for this season he should not get a place on merit in the League.
I would go for Hendry Murphy and Fu and whoever else Barry thinks will sell the most tickets- former multiple world champions remain ticket sellers above rising stars.

Anonymous said...

To John H. If it's on merit (winning things) then Ricky Walden would be in there and Hendry and Fu would be nowhere to be seen. Selby hasn't won anything granted but in terms of entertainment value he has to be there, like him or not, he's good for snooker. For pure entertainment and the right 'look' I'd have Ronnie, Trump, Cope, Selby, Higgins, Ding and Carter.

wildJONESEYE said...

Cope and Ding has won nothing and both has had a worst season than hendry and fu

Anonymous said...

That's why I said for pure entertainment, of course Cope won't get an invite. Like Dave says, Barry Hearn will want a line up to maximise audiences, to do that he has to invite Ding. I'd be surprised if Fu gets an invite as he's hardly box office material whereas Ding is still worshipped in China. Hendry will obviously get in by virtue of his career record, but if it was on merit this season he wouldn't have got in. That's all I'm saying.

JohnH said...

Fu has done better than Ding this season as a UK finalist and now top 8 player. Hendry is a 7 times world champion whose presence guarantees ticket sales. Walden is a fine player but in spite of his ranking win is still relatively unknown to the public and will remain so until he manages a good run in a bbc tournament.
Some people seem to purely favour out and out potters and percieve that they alone have the 'right look' and provide entertainment. I hope these people gradually learn to appreciate the great skill involved in quality matchplay snooker.

Anonymous said...

Dear annonymous Hendry beat Walden two out of three this season and is ahead of him on the one year list.

Anonymous said...

Dear god what's the world coming to when people are wanting Marco bloody Fu and Ali bloody Carter in the Premier League?

Talk about the two most bloody boring players to watch in the top 16!

You want excitement then as the poster above says, you can't go wrong with the likes of Jamie Cope, Ding and Liang Wenbo.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't agree that Carter is boring but I can't watch Fu, he's just too robotic. the point I was trying to make at 11.58 is that Walden is a ranking event winner this season, both Hendry and Fu are not.

I'm firmly in the old school anyway and I do prefer the tactical game to the potfest, but the Premier League is for potters. Personally I don't like it, much the same as my enjoyment of the recent world championships was marred by the buckets, I mean pockets.

jamie said...

What about Maguire he is number 2 in the World. Jimmy White still draws them in if there is no criteria why not? Also as much Hearn should pick whoever he wants we can still disagree with the selection.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again, with someone above mentioning 'match player'. Just what other type of player is there?

Anonymous said...

My ideal line up:

O'Sullivan
Higgins
Trump
Ding
Wenbo
Selby
Cope

I would find a way to watch every single week if that was the line up.

I like Dave's idea of having two groups of 4 instead of 1 group of 7 however this means some players not meeting so maybe that's why they don't do it.

Anonymous said...

Hearn is a controversial figure. He does a lot for the popularity of sports but at the same time he kills sport as a sporting occasion. He is a paradox.

Anonymous said...

There's no reason why there shouldn't be 7 players from 7 different countries to add a nationalistic edge.

O'Sullivan - England
Williams - Wales
Hendry or Higgins - Scotland
Murphy - Ireland
Ding or Wenbo - China
Fu - Hong Kong
Robertson - Australia

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

I think if the Premier League was changed for the Snooker he would have to do it for the darts as well, as they run the same way, don't they. I would like to see the Snooker changed with 2 Groups, but It may not work in the Darts (or Bowls...ha)

BTW, I would like a Podcast on the future of Snooker in the media (through Radio, TV, Internet and Press) and a selection of people around the table from each. This should be the 'big' podcast of the summer me thinks. Would like to hear more from the WSA on the deal with PA.

Thanks, Joe

Anonymous said...

Ken Doherty should be included as he is as popular as ever and derserves the break!

Anonymous said...

Please bring the Premier League to Ireland...we need to see these players too....

Anonymous said...

Stephen Hendry MBE
John Higgins MBE
Judd Trump
Mark Allen
Marco Fu
Shaun Murphy
Ronnie O'Sullivan

Anonymous said...

I hope ronnie breaks a leg and can't attend it.

Anonymous said...

or perhaps replace Allen with Hann

Anonymous said...

7:03pm, i cant stand ROS at all, but wishing anyone an injury is taking things too far IMO

João Esteves da Silva said...

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Judd Trump
John Higgins
Shaun Murphy
Mark Selby
Stephen Hendry
Chinese player or Mark Allen

wildJONESEYE said...

7.03pm

you want people to get it easy....then people saying the reason so and so won is because ronnie missing.

id prefere to win a tournament with Ronnie in it.

wildJ0NESEYE said...

id also like to win any tournament....my highs break only 21....and that was at altitood.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think WJE knew much about the game with the guff he spouts on here.

You're a troll JONESEYE and Dave should ban you from the forum.

wildJONESEYE said...

wont respond but i know more than you and dave i did not post at 7.45pm.

Anonymous said...

Good thread, this.

Anonymous said...

WildJONESEYE you said wont respond but you still did :D

wildJONESEYE said...

up yours 9.28. there are to menny ideots on this place. was nun of you ever educated properlay?

i could beat the lot of you lot any time at snooker. just name the time and place and youll see who can get the best brake. mine is 102.

Anonymous said...

Please put monitoring back on Dave. People seem to have the idea that this is a forum and not a blog.

Anonymous said...

Dave,

Any substance to the rumours that Hendry, Ding and Higgins were told they were in the PL during the Championship League? Obviously with Higgins winning the WC, this gives Hearn another wildcard to go along with Selby.

wildJONESEYE said...

i did not post at 12:19

TheEyeOfWildJOAN said...

12-40 where did YOU hear that rumour?

Anonymous said...

wildJONESEYE isn't a troll, he's a Welsh bloke who spends his life in his bedroom chatting about snooker on internet forums. He opens himself to ridicule with his spelling mistakes but he is a genuine snooker fan and good bloke, albeit one who doesn't know when to stop posting.

The other character going by the name of "Rigsby" is known as frameandfortune. He had been banned on numerous snooker forums due to trolling with multiple user accounts and a disturbing hatred for everything O'Sullivan.

Reading up this topic there is the genuine wildJONESEYE and the frameandfortune character trying to get wildJONESEYE in trouble by impersonating him.

Guys this isn't a forum, it's a blog. Stick to the topic or don't say anything. Dave will switch off comments soon if this carries on because this sort of stuff irritates him and detracts from his blog.

In short:
wildJONESEYE - button it
frameandfortune - grow up

theJAPSEYEofJONES said...

Well said anon 8:46am. I hereby declare you as Chief of Snooker Scene Blog Police.

andy said...

anon @4.59pm.

Murphy, Irish?? :o) He's English. I love the idea of getting completely different nationalities in the tournament though.

After reading through all the comments, which I don't normally do, it seems that the consensus for which players people want in the PL is pretty much the same give or take the odd name.

I love the PL and I'm really looking forward to it, although I'd rather enjoy summer first!

Andy

Dave for PRESIDENT said...

can a blog host have a moderator?

if so, why cant dave appoint one, someone he knows and trusts who comes here daily?

it may be its not possible, or that he doesnt want to, but imo if its able to be done then that is the best course of action.

when comment moderation is on it gives the blog host more work checking every post and it also makes the comments totally fragmented as by the time your post appears there may have been another 3 in the queue and so the posts end up all mumbo jumbo.

wildJ0NESEYE said...

well sayd 8.46am.

i will only commentate on the points being diskussed and not get into arguement with other posting people.

andy said...

Yes a blog can be moderated.

I personally prefer to see the occasional nutter making crazy remarks, ...they can be deleted at a later date.

As long as people have a reasonable amount of respect for each other and things are kept clean (ie., no profanities), then the conversation can be healthy.

Andy

Black_cat from TSF said...

Anon 7:03...the one who wanted Ronnie to "break his leg and not attend the Premier League", please take a spider and use it in a very creative way on your own spiteful person.
A snooker spider, I wouldn't wish that harm upon any living creature.
Enjoy!!! And don't forget to chalk it first.

Dave, I wish you modded comments or introduced a log-in form or something. It's very easy to be rude and out-of-line while being anonymous.

Anonymous said...

TheEyeOfWildJOAN said...

12-40 where did YOU hear that rumour?

One of the players in the early rounds of the CL.

Rigsby said...

Anon 8:46am you assume wrong i am not frame and fortune.

Rigsby said...

Also anon 8:46am if you read my comments at 11:30pm me and wild had made peace so get you're facts right before you post. I have nothing against wild or anyone else that posts on this blog.

jamie said...

Record number of comments here but sadly that reached with the help of moronic statements like Ronnie breaking a leg. I'm suprised Dave didnt delete some of it. The level of maturity on here is at times disappointing to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Rigsby, pull the other one of course you're frameandfortune. You have tried to antagonise posters for months on 606 by constantly referring to O'Sullivan as Rigsby from Rising Damp.

Like I said, grow up and comment sensibly otherwise the comments will be disabled by the author.

Anonymous said...

I am not frameandfortune and i do not post on 606, as for the "Like I said, grow up and comment sensibly otherwise the comments will be disabled by the author"

If dave takes my comments off thats up to him but i would like to know what i have done to make him do it. Dave can put post moderation back on if he likes.

As for my name Rigsby me and wild where having a heated debate and i called him wild miss jones, nothing to do with constantly referring to O'Sullivan as Rigsby from Rising Damp. So like i said get YOU'RE FACTS RIGHT!!!!!!!

Rigsby said...

That was my post above

Anonymous said...

well said jenna

Anonymous said...

Keeping a fresh blog is difficult and really tiresome. You've pulled it off well though.