Years as professional: 1978-1996
Ranking titles: 1
Ranking finals: 1
Other titles: 0
Highest ranking: 10
Years in top 16: 4
Crucible appearances: 8

Francisco was a tough, bushy-eyebrowed South African who found himself embroiled in several controversies during his 18 year professional career.

His greatest moment came at the 1985 British Open when he beat Kirk Stevens 12-9 to win the title. He had suspected Stevens was on drugs during the match and confronted him at the interval.

He was fined £6,000 by the WPBSA after his off the record comments were secretly recorded and reported by a newspaper but this punishment was reversed following Stevens’s admission of addiction to cocaine.

Hey, it was the 80s.

Francisco’s career was also dogged by controversy over allegations involving match fixing, none of which were ever proven.

In 1997, he was jailed for three years after he admitted attempting to smuggle cannabis with a street value of £155,000.

He later worked in a fish and chip shop.

None of this should cloud the fact that he was a very effective, if hard-nosed, player in an era before everyone went for everything.

Francisco reached the World Championship quarter-finals at his first attempt in 1982 and is one of only six non-British or Irish players to win a ranking title.


John H said...

I was there in 85 for the first session of the Brtish Open Final-there were certainly no more than a hundred spectators and when the delightful Dickie Davies (live on ITV) spoke of a capacity crowd as part of his introduction most of the 100 burst out laughing as they gazed at the banks of empty seats. At the semi final stage we were expecting a Davis/Higgins final and so I guess most of the seats had been sold but people did not bother coming to watch now it was Stevens/Francisco. I always thought Silvino a much underrated player and enjoyed watching his matches greatly.

Dave H said...

Interesting insight there John considering the turn out in Glasgow.

The 85 final is somehting like the fifth most watched match on TV of all time - seriously - which suggests a big disparity exists then and now between people who want to watch live and people who want to watch on TV.

John H said...

I was a regular at Derby, Newcastle, Preston and Sheffield from 1983-89 and unless Higgins or White was playing turnouts were very low. This resulted in tickets of £2.00 for a while in the 90s which saw numbers rise a bit. The Crucible was not always busy in the 83-89 period - I sat through many sessions (first and second round) in a half full auditorium even there. Back then if number of ticket sales were recorded sometimes 100 would be watching the action and 150 would be in the bar! Great television viewing figures still remain especially for the 'proper matches' of 17 frames or more. I suspect figures were high for the final in 85 as it was on itv mid afternoon on a cool Sunday in early march. If Finals finished between 2 and 5pm on a Sunday aft today I am suspect figures would be improved further.