The downside to big snooker events is the seemingly endless stream of nonsense written about the sport in newspapers by people who know little and care even less about it.

Step forward Barney Ronay in today's Observer. Were spectacularly missing the point an Olympic sport, Mr. Ronay would give Steve Redgrave a run for his money.

He makes the assertion that "snooker could be an amateur sport by 2020" without any solid evidence to support this.

He then grossly misrepresents Ronnie O'Sullivan by claiming he had said as much. He didn't. Ronnie did say the game was dying last year and that something needed to be done.

His fellow players agreed and have brought in Barry Hearn, a fact Ronay appears not to have noticed, such was the extent of his research.

Also, Ronnie didn't say he wanted Simon Cowell to run snooker. He said he wanted someone who possessed Cowell's entrepreneurial skills to take it on. Hearn fits that bill.

"The everyday circuit takes in half-empty exhibition halls in Bahrain and its results rarely trouble the mainstream media," Ronay continues.

The circuit played one event in Bahrain in 2008. It also goes to China twice every year where the sport is hugely popular, something Ronay doesn't mention anywhere.

Perhaps the game would get more newspaper coverage if the Observer and others didn't fill space with columnists writing about sports they don't understand.

Actually, the results always get in the papers and over the last week there have been a large number of stories in the run in to the Masters, including two big pieces in the Guardian, for whom Ronay also writes.

Ronay writes of snooker: "It already has a resigned look, slumped glassily in its chair, and looking like its thoughts have turned to the white-gloved handshake and the scattered sound of exit applause."

What rubbish, although it may have set a new world record for throwing most cliches into a single sentence.

There is actually a newly found buzz around the players - as I witnessed at Crondon Park last week because, unlike Ronay, I've actually spoken to the players and asked them their views about the future.

My challenge to him is simple: go to Wembley this week. Sample the atmosphere. Watch the matches. Talk to Barry Hearn. Talk to the players.

I'm not denying snooker has its problems but the professional game dead by 2020?

I'd say there's more chance of the Observer - which has already axed two of its magazines to save money - being out of business first.


Anonymous said...

DAVE, ALTHOUGH HES TECHNICALLY WRONG ON SO MANY COUNTS IT COULD BE THOUGH THAT THIS IS HOW A LOT OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC WHO OCCASIONALLY VIEW SNOOKER SEE IT TOO, sorry about caps.....so, even though hes wrong which is terrible, it could actually be good in that its still proves theres a job to be done to trun the casual viewer and the reporters of sport to realise change is happening and snooker is in a better situation than its been in half a decade or more.....

even though hes wrong, imho it should help in that we know folk in that "high regard" can still make a Hugh Jars of it.

trophymad said...

well we had something equally infuriating after the Exhibition "the rocket hits Hamm" in 2008. A German TV station sended a Reporter who obviously had no information about Snooker at all. The report was a desaster (it wasn't about Snooker at all) and I was as furious as you are now.
It's simply wrong what this Ronay
person writes! But you're giving him the right answer now, here in your BLOG. Snooker is at the verge of a re-start and everyone who takes a little care in it can see Barry Hearn at work. It's been little changes so far, but good changes! I can't wait to see what will happen next and since I am the average fan it should be prove enough that the rejuvination of Snooker reaches us fans - even now where there's undoubtetly more to come.

Anonymous said...

Having been to Wembley numerous times over the past few years, the atmosphere during the week is dead, even when O'Sullivan has played. What other sport puts on their main draw on a Tuesday afternoon? I haven't checked this year's scheduling but hopefully this has changed. Shorter matches in prime time viewing slots is the way forward. This will upset the traditionalists but it's definitely a case of adept or die.

RichP said...

A very poor synopsis by the Observer journalist and as you quite rightly point out the Observer is far more likely to be out of business than snooker anytime soon. Now for a plug if that's ok Dave. My sports betting blog with a big emphasis on snooker is returning and can be found at http://redandblackblog.wordpress.com/
Tip for this morning is obviously too late but also put up a good argument for backing Fu this afternoon and some decent priced outrights.

Matt said...

Seems like we get one of these articles every six months or so and they might as well all say the same thing.

Dreadful, unlike Mark Selby this afternoon incidentally.

Janie Watkins said...

Doesn't it just make you sick!
We crave column inches for snooker.

There are plenty of us snooker journos with the knowledge to write perfectly balanced and unbiased articles about the sport and the players.

Give us the inches and we'll give you miles of coverage.

Anonymous said...

Jesus what a pathetic article. Frightening that such an uninformed and lazy journalist could be employed by a national newspaper.

Thankfully we have some good journalists, like you Dave, contributing constructively, and balancing all sides.

The Snooker Oracle

Anonymous said...

You didn't even include the silliest comment: "18.5m people watched Steve Davis lose to Dennis Taylor in the 1985 World Championship final... the recent UK Championship final finished at midnight, too late to be covered in daily newspapers and out of reach of a family audience."

Yeah, can you imagine what opportunities would have been lost had that 1985 final frame finished after midn...oh, wait.

Anonymous said...

Definitely a poorly researched article. I believe the hall in Bahrain was empty, not half empty as the article suggests!

Anonymous said...

I think the bloke is right snooker is dieing ,the snooker in the masters has been rubbish so far and I have switched off the white match because its awful ,we all new the windward was the wrong choice and tonight has shown it !

SnookeromAnka said...

snooker is definitely dieing... in UK
Barny didn't mention a huge amount of people across the world who are interested in this poor, dieing sport

and Janie, what are you going to do with miles of column in newspapers.... chinese newspapers?

ps: agree White was a wrong choice!

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear David
How are you lad! As the dear ole “Bookie” and there close cousins are the main benefactors of snookers prize money, I think you should know the unwritten rule Dave. Never pick and choose a bet offered or the poor ole bookie becomes a common “Punter”.

Picking and choosing your posts on the Mr Ronay subject was wrong. Opinions are a sign that your people are alive and thinking. If you won’t your blog members to always agree with the “Loudest Voices” it will cease to be the David Hendon blog site.

Mr Ronay or the said papers official writer on snooker should have been invited to comment and if he fully agreed with his work mate’s opinion. Discrimination Dave they say is unlawful.
Mr hey you

jamie brannon said...

To be fair I agree with Dave, the piece is not well researched and I don't agree with any of what you have quoted. However, he is allowed his view and surely just because you are not into snooker doesn't mean you are not allowed to write negatively about in a justified way. I hate Formula One and would quite happily write an article on it, but I would do it constructively and attempt to do some research as otherwise then I think someone like Dave is write to criticise it.

Dave H said...

Being entitled to an opinion doesn't mean it's a correct or informed one.

Mr. Ronay has posted the following on thesnookerforum.com:

Hello. I wrote the article you're talking about. Seeing this in print I kind of agree with you. You don't often regret writing things but I could never really see the point of this one and wish I'd never got involved. Here's how these things work: the Obs wanted an article about snooker dying for their mag. my own choice would have been 50-over cricket, but they asked me to do it, so i wrote something quite mild and elegaic, which was then tweaked a little to make it sound more damning. For what it's worth I'm going to try and do an "another-viewpoint" piece about snooker not actually dying after all. And, yes, you spotted the irony: is if anything's dying around here it's the observer sport monthly

jamie brannon said...

Fair play to Ronay for coming out and being honest about. I agree about the informed bit, but there is no such thing as a right or wrong opinion in my mind as is it not fact. Im in agreement mostly Dave these pieces seem too crop up too often around big events. Got to say I loved Ronnie's post match comments on the BBC today about Ken Doherty wearing a thong and then saying Ebdon should hurry up around the table!

Dave H said...

His opinion that snooker will be an amateur sport by the end of the decade is quite obviously wrong

jamie brannon said...

Well I fully agree but neither me or you know that for sure. Don't get me wrong it is 99 per cent certain, but if Hearn did fail to pull it off then where is the game going to go. In my eyes the UK is bigger than the Masters doesnt mean I'm right though or wrong, but perhaps something as sweeping as what Ronay said is wrong as it is based on little evidence. I t wouldn't take that much to slip into semi amateur though as a number of PDC players still have jobs.

Dave H said...

All opinions aren't valid or equal. It depends who holds them, their knowledge, experience and insight.

southerner said...

What does it matter what's in the newspapers, any way?
Aren't newspapers on their way out?
Who bothers to actually buy newspapers nowadays?

jamie brannon said...

Did I not leave another comment here, perhaps I forgot to press the right button, as the comment did not appear offensive

Dave H said...

Don't think so, but post it again

jamie brannon said...

To be fair I will leave it as I was doing that annoying thing where I labour a point too much! I did notice you tip Murphy for title. As you are on form you may be right, I went be Maguire but now Ronnie has got past Robbo I think he will take some beating on his home patch. Against Murphy the crowd could be even bordering on hostile as he is not the most popular of players.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hello Dave and Hello Barney Ronay
I am sorry Dave that your fellow writer has bailed out. Putting pen to paper with regret for a professional is a short cut to the dole.
I am very surprised Barney that you couldn’t find the plausible words in syntax to keep Dave’s blog ---Blogging, it was good for another two weeks.

The “Fine Art” snooker method Barney was the only post that agreed with your sentiment on Snookers demise. The Fine Art opinion was “Tongue in Cheek”, simply by knowing that snooker the “Fine Art” will probably dominate snooker worldwide as the games only copyright. Mr hey you

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Dave
How are you lad! I am really sorry that you have dropped another couple of my posts; I expect Dave it must be on borderline legality as opposed to unsavoury remarks.

The game is really based on the copycat principle of “Watch Me” and I’ll show you again, and don’t forget to follow through.

I hope that “The Mechanics of the balls” and the introduction of “Snooker Physics” will not require conformation from a gaggle of physicists. Mr hey you.