You can listen to my podcast with WPBSA chairman Barry Hearn here.


Anonymous said...

He IS the new Messiah!

Chris said...

Very good pod cast, and I appreciate that you didn't have lots of time but I am disappointed that my question about the future of billiards wasn't asked. It's the WPBSA, B stands for BILLIARDS. IT'S THEIR RESPONSIBILITY.

CHRISK5 said...

The podcast didn't reveal anything new - that wasn't already featured in the proposals document or in the public domain already.

Though,the tiniest surprise was that the Shootout event isn't yet confirmed to be on Sky.

Onto Crucible walkon music.

For the music to have a bigger effect on pre-match presentation.

The players tune should start when the tournament official knocks on the players changing room door & the music continues while they make their way through the entrance hall,to the curtain,to the table.

It would make the process last 2-3 minutes & give justice to their choice of music & build it all up in a very,very overblown fashion!!

Something Barry Hearn should easily understand!

I also think Reanne Evans looks kind of cute - She could be Amanda Holden's sister!

There you go,the Womens game already has a megastar looking player to build the product around!

Anonymous said...

We need some cheerleaders at the intros. Snooker needs to get itself into the 21st century. And ditch the bow ties and waistcoats as well. It's like watching an episode of Upstairs Downstairs. It's a right turn off for all the youngsters watching.

Anonymous said...

What is needed are some characters in the game which have seemed sadly absent in the last 20 years or so.

Greg P said...

Rubbish. Mark Selby and Ronnie O'Sullivan are characters. No doubt about that. They've had some classic matches together, too.

And John Higgins is a character too. He's the John Wayne of snooker - the tough guy who is also a family man..... and he has a large supply of something known as "True Grit". I'm serious!

Greg P said...

Or maybe I should say he's like Bruce Willis in Die Hard... remember last year at Sheffield, all those comebacks against the odds?

Anonymous said...

John Higgins isn't "a character". But, when you are the defending World Champion and confirmed World nunber 1 for next season you don't have to be.

Dave H said...

What does 'character' actually mean?

Stephen Hendry once won the World Championship having broken a bone in his arm. Was that not a great display of 'character' or should he have been on the beer or headbutted someone?

Anonymous said...

I think what is meant is that they are no characters that the fans can relate to any more besides Jimmy and the Rocket. I think its nonsense but because everyone realised that they have to play the Hendry way to be successful you just got a succession of Hendry clones.

Ali said...

You don't need to be a 'character' if you are the best, a la Higgins.

It's like Roger Federer. He is by no means a 'character' (especially when he was younger) but his tennis does his talking.

Anonymous said...

my comment seems to have been missed (again) david....

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced that people who say there are no characters in the game anymore simply don't watch snooker...

Or define character as drinking alcohol. Then again, law of averages I'm quite sure that many of the people that watch snooker are bereft of character too.

Dave H said...

Which comment?

jamie brannon said...

I think there are different types of character. What Hendry did was a display of how tough and determined a character he is.

The likes of Ronnie and Alex are in my opinion far more interesting people as they are mavericks who don't tow the line so much and when you read an autobiography - you do want some controversy.

Anonymous said...

'Mavericks'or alternatively ignorant show-offs

jamie brannon said...

Just listened to the blog, hard to judge because of how short it was. Disappointed, but not surprised my question about the BBC wasn't asked. Think that is more important than some issues mentioned.

I like Hearn at timbut actually thought his comments about were a bit silly.

Anonymous said...


Sonny said...

Those who incessantly refer to the "lack of characters in the game like there were in the 1980's" are either deliberate wind up merchants who know their targets (i.e. people like you and me), or have deluded themselves into thinking a session between "characters" Cliff Thorburn and Terry Griffiths was more entertaining than one between say Liang Wenbo and Mark Selby, because their rose tinted nostalgia specs have warped the 1980's into something they never were.

I imagine the same breed of people who think 1980's snooker was better than today are also part of the anti-Hearn movement desperate to see the game continue the slide into oblivion so they can persist in peddling their negative nonsense about how good snooker used to be and how it's now on the way out, instead of appreciating how good are the players we have now and how bright the future can be...

Long may Barry Hearn reign over the Island of Snooker and long may the Islanders back the monarch into battle for the hearts and minds of the voters who can rescue this wonderful game from the brink of extinction! No Hearn is not an option!

jamie brannon said...

Haha! Sorry that was meant to be a little bit instead of timbut, but I actually thought his Ebdon comments were a bit silly.

Mark Davis made some interesting but ultimately worrying remarks in some local paper recently.

Anonymous said...

Jamie, i dont want controversy and i dont want maverick, especially drunken idiotic behaviour, or biting other peoples lip

that isnt interesting or funny IMHO

each to their own

Anonymous said...

Your're not going to get far in the media world with comment's like the last one Jamie, can you write it in English please.

Anonymous said...

Having "character" would point to being able to drink a flagon of ale while using a spider or swan neck while bridging over an angry pack of reds.
Then leaving the Crucible via the stage door and disappearing into the night to play in a shifty poker school in nearby Rochdale and not getting any sleep for 36 hours.
This is how it used to be in the days when referees wore yellow blazers while officiating.

Greg P said...

What did you say about the BBC James

Anonymous said...

Waiting to hear what Mr Hey You has got to say

Anonymous said...

Ebdon's comments about Hearn were more than silly

CHRISK5 said...

Sonny @ 4.16pm - I agree with some of your points - to an extent.

If you researched BARB viewing figures for Snooker Finals - the absolute peak era was between
1982-1987 - when,not just the Worlds - but all televised events garnered very impressive viewing figures.

The standard of snooker play itself has improved greatly
in recent years - I have enjoyed closer competitiveness of all the top players & events - which has made a refeshing & welcome change from the predictable Davis or Hendry walkovers we used to have.

There are some aspects from snooker in the 1980s which are worth savouring - But the game has & will continue to evolve & has a bright future on a global scale.

I am undecided yet on the Barry Hearn plan itself. (in it's lacking of total/precise detail)

Also,it's a myth that he will do it all by himself - He has a trusted team behind him,who have worked with him for 25-30 years & it requires many other people & aspects of cultural taste to make
snookers perception with the casuals improve again - Everything has to be linked & connected to make the rebuiding plan work.

It's an effort that requires many valuable contributions.

Those who think that Barry Hearn is the 'last chance saloon' for Snooker is also another pedalled myth - Snooker will rebuild with or without him - that is assured.

I ask Sonny if he could tell us which part of the Hearn plan impresses him so much - that's it's a 'vote clincher' as such ?

Anonymous said...

Chrisk should really go to specsavers if he think's Reanne could be Amanda holden's sister, she looks more like Lucy Beale.

Anonymous said...

Sonny 4:16 - There is no question that snooker was more exciting in the 1980s, hence the perception that there were more 'characters'. Firstly, there was the clash between the "old" and the "new". Champions like John Spencer and Ray Reardon were having to meet the challenge of new ultra-dedicated players like Steve Davis and Terry Griffiths. There was a strong overseas representation with Perrie Mans and latterly the Francisco's. The 3 top Canadian players were all very different, yet equally fascinating. There was also a defined clash of styles with many of the top players still adopting a more defensive game whereas the likes of Jimmy White, Kirk Stevens and Willie Thorne were more aggressive.
There was also Alex Higgins, and love him or loathe him he was fantastic for keeping interest in snooker very high all through the 80s.
The people who knock this era need to ask who (apart from ROS) do non-snooker fans really want to watch?


Anonymous said...

'Snooker will rebuild with or without him'

Of course it will. That's why prize money has halved in the last decade and there are only six ranking tournaments.

Far from 'knowing more about snooker than anyone else' you know nothing at all about the way it works, its problems or its bleak future if this plan is rejected.

Anonymous said...

Yes, bring back the Franciscos. That's what the game needs right now.

Anonymous said...

It's the ridiculous clothes that put me off. Who else is forced to wear a tie to play a sport? Snooker needs to ditch the 1920's dress code and move with the times if it wants to attract a new audience.

CHRISK5 said...

Anon @ 10.06 AM - The dresscode is going to be altered for events such as the Shootout & the so-called lesser ranking events.

It's only the Worlds & UK formats that are most likely to keep the traditional attire.

The dresscode plans & their suttle variations is one area which Barry Hearn seems to have got the balance just right.

jamie brannon said...

I just asked whether he thought the BBC would be involved after the current deal expires.

CHRISK5 said...

Anon @ 12.33 AM - Amanda Holden would look even more like Reanne Evans - when she wakes up first thing in the morning!

It's only the tons & tons of makeup/mascara which disguise their slight differences!

On a serious note - If the Male circuit sorts itself out in the next 2-3 years - Then I am sure that more ideas & extra investment will be made to promote the Womens game again.

Sonny said...

ChrisK - I'm sure the viewing figures were higher in the 1980's but cultural trends since then towards more tv channels and other media means if that time were had again today the viewing figures wouldn't be much different from now. Certainly the players personalities wouldn't count for toffee. If today's players were around in the 80's they would be equally remembered.

I am a child of the 1980's, I watched them all and while Alex Higgins is still probably the most entertaining player to watch both at the table and in his chair, many of the other players have been surpassed by the wealth of talent around today. Of course they should all never be forgotten, they have played their part in snooker history and they were all household names but it's the same across the board in other sports. Most people from the 80's remember Prost, Senna and Mansell yet couldn't name anyone past Schumacher and Hamilton today, likewise with golf and Ballesteros, Norman, Faldo, Woosnam and today with Tiger Woods and who else? If that's your mentality!

As for Hearn, I was a sceptic at first but the more I hear from him and his enthusiasm, no nonsense attitude and the ideas he has the more I know he is the right man to run snooker at this moment in time.

I don't know why people are so fixated with this 51% - it allows him to go about his business and do what he wants to do, what do the players currently do with their >51% control? Not a right lot so it shouldn't matter to them plus he has pledged to hand control back if he doesn't meet his targets. He has a proven track record and he knows that's not going to happen.

And shortening the Grand Prix? It's all been explained. The BBC want to drop it so he's making it more appealing. It doesn't mean he's about to shorten every event into a shot clock, he's paving the way to more variety in the future i.e. a mixture of shorter AND longer format events. Every event should be different, have its own identity. I'm a die hard and even I have become bored with the same format events over the last few years in the non-majors.

As Clive Everton aluded to, the Altium deal was a once in a lifetime opportunity which was squandered and we're unlikely to get that chance again. Well now we have another chance. If people think that if Hearn can do it then others will be able to then they need to remind themselves about what has happened since the Altium deal fell through. 6 ranking tournaments anyone?

anon at 8:25am - snooker wasn't more exciting in the 80's, that's a myth! It's always been the same, close matches will produce drama and be memorable and walkovers will be boring to watch much like a Davis or Hendry annihilation of a fellow player. Champions like Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, Peter Ebdon, Ken Doherty are having to meet players like Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins, Mark Williams are having to meet players like Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson, so that arguement is flawed. The overseas representation is still there with Marco Fu, Ding, Liang Wenbo, Neil Robertson, soon to be Luca Brecel and no doubt more European players in the future. The players mentioned are also very different to each other. The fact we don't have more top foreign players is something Hearn will address with a revamped qualification and ranking system.

As for exciting players, try Liang Wenbo, Ding Junhui, Mark Williams (what a final they gave us!), Ronnie, Selby, Robertson, Allen, Cope... I'm personally looking forward to see what Zhang Anda is all about.

Anyway, second rant over. I hope you will all check out my new forum and become Islanders for some top discussion and banter during the World Championships!

Anonymous said...

I would guess the players will be walking around the table like advertising slogans on legs, with exploding red balls and lottery winners spotlighted in the baying audience.
Middle-to-lowly ranked players promoting double glazing on one arm and internet backgammon on the other.
A far cry from the wonderful days at Burroughs & Watts where true gentlemen played snooker for the love of the game in front of engrossed true fans of cue sports.
All played on particularly tight pockets with bonzoline or ivory balls which were dull in colour.
The real colour was produced by the proper men that played the game with no obvious need for the desire and sickly glitzyness we are about to witness under the new regime.

Anonymous said...

As Joe Davis once said, and I quote "In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is bling".

Anonymous said...

To Mr Hey You...i keep reading your quotes regarding the rolling ball and that you say this is not possible?? Can you please explain this to me because i did physics at school and never once did i hear anything so daft!

Anonymous said...

Sonny - there was far more variety in the 1980s than today. There is a 'sameness' even blandness about so many of todays top players. There was something individual about most of the top 16 of that era, and real rivalries.
Apart from the Mark King v Quinten Hann spat a few years ago, can you name anything controversial recently that hasn't involved ROS, which would have non-snooker fans talking?

Why would anyone new to snooker be attracted to the game by any player outside of ROS, J.Higgins, S.Hendry or S.Davis - all of whom are in the autumn of their careers. Being good at the game isn't enough in itself to get people interested in the game (outside of the World Championship).

CHRISK5 said...

Sonny - Many thanks for the very rounded & balanced reply.

Unlike afew on here - Who just criticize & don't put forward their own views in a more eloquent fashion!

Funnily enough,when Snooker had it's original boom in the
mid 1980s - There was only six ranking events then aswell - It worked then because of all events being on terrestrial,all having sponsorship & a range of formats that had Best of 17,19,23,25,31 & 35 Frame Finals.

The less amount of formats since has contributed in some part to the staleness & dullness of events in recent years.(not so much the percieved lack of 'characters')

The new plans to not just broaden the formats again,but also having a mix of dresscodes - shot clocks -
one-session to 2 day Finals is very welcome & promising indeed.

If it all worked out - The different blends of each event would exceed that of the mid 1980s structure.

The sticking point is - If Hearn had a choice between expanding the ranking structure to 12 events OR expanding the PTC to 25 weekend events - Which would he choose ? - You CAN'T have both & I am sure he would choose the PTC - Because that's his 'baby' so to speak. (though I hope to be wrong on that)

Ofcourse,in the multichannel era,
the viewing figures are never gonna get back to what they were.

Though,I am sure that Hearn will be looking for at least a 15-20% viewer increase on recent seasons.

Which would be a more realistic target to accomplish.

CHRISK5 said...

Dealing with the politics of the May 5th snooker vote itself.

Apparently - If Hearn loses - He is going to walkaway or set up a rival tour (PTC maybe).

That would be foolish - No doubting that Barry Hearn takes plenty of financial & business advice off various people in his team.

So if the May 5th vote failed - It would be more sensible to address any concerns the players have (taking advice) & within 3-4 weeks - come up with a slightly modified proposals package - while still maintaining the basic themes of greater format blending & more events as a whole. (which are really necessary)

Basically - the May 5th vote SHOULDN'T be the take it or leave it approach - Only talk of such measures if a hypothetical & revised 2nd plan didn't get approved (in late May or something)

If Barry Hearn loves the game of snooker itself & is passionate of it's future - like keeping the snooker circuit as one whole structure with NO divisions.

Then - he should be open to the option of a modified 2nd proposal plan - But,only if it became necessary.

It probably won't come to that anyway - but it's another strand of leverage which is more plausible & sensible I would say.

You can have a firm grasp of vision & be a listener at the sametime!

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Mr X @ 10:58pm Hi Dave.
How are you both! An explanation Sir on “The Fine Art” theory on the “Rolling Ball”. It is impossible sir to make a ball roll on a level surface.

A ball sir can only be moved by “Thrust Force”. In snooker it is with the force of the cue tip. The cue ball if struck centre will “Skid” as a cube, if struck off centre it will immediately “Spin” while skidding.

A ball struck at 1/0 clock will run on an axis of 1to7, 2/8, 3/9, 4/10, 5/11 and 6/12 plus the same six axes on reverse making twelve in all.
This happens while the ball is moved by thrust force and skidding. The object ball is moved only by “Collision” force.
The cue ball that took “Side Spin” off the cushion was obviously “Skidding” before it took off in another direction. Please check with your school teacher mister. Mr hey you.

PS For the record Mr X the ball may “Roll” the length of its own circumference immediately before is has exhausted its “Thrust Force”. DM

Anonymous said...

I notice Chrisk knows all about makeup/mascara ;)

oooooo i say!!!

Dave H said...

The vote isn't on May 5. That's when the meeting takes place for the players to quiz Barry Hearn on the proposals.

CHRISK5 said...

Dave - In typical snooker fashion -Things are going VEERRYY slowly!

By May 5th - the proposals package would have already been on display for 6/7 weeks !!

If the players are not clued up by then or phoned Barry in the meantime (to iron out any wrinkles) - then that is quite laughable from an organisational point of view !!

If the vote were straight after the World Championships - It would have been perfect timing to capitalise on the momentum of the event itself.

Be straight with us Dave - When is the initial vote going to be ?

In any event - having the option of a slightly modified 2nd proposals package (if it were required) would be wise too.

CHRISK5 said...

The way things are going - I imagine the Snooker vote will take place when the Wimbledon Tennis & Football World Cup are hogging up all the mass media coverage instead !!

As Hearn is already chairman of the WPBSA anyway - Why bother having a vote at all ?

None of it makes sense unless they are trying to ground Snooker into the proverbial dust!

Roll on the World Championships of Snooker itself - If only to have a break from this tedious innuendo.

Dave H said...

Having two proposals would be idiotic and completely muddy the waters. The players need a clear and unequivocal plan, not some fudged fall back option that will basically mean nothing changes.

There has to be a month's notice before an EGM can be called. It won't be called until the players have a chance to question Barry hearn directly - which is what is happening on May 5.

Not moving slowly, just sensibly.

CRIKES said...


" The way things are going - I imagine the Snooker vote will take place when the Wimbledon Tennis & Football World Cup are hogging up all the mass media coverage instead !!"

The vote will hardly get much media coverage whatever way it goes..

"As Hearn is already chairman of the WPBSA anyway - Why bother having a vote at all ?

If Hearn does'nt get the vote he walks..

"None of it makes sense"

Bit like your posts!!!

CHRISK5 said...

Anon @ 1.32 AM - Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

You should be a (c)RAP 'artist' - You know - sampling/covering old classic records - REALLY badly!

As you have nothing original to contribute - You probably do that already!

Anonymous said...

I would have thought that you as a independent blog would have had a field day on the conflict that is rife in the board of WPBSA, the Chairman and Steve Davis are shareholders in matchroom and are both trying to persuade the players to sell their assets to a company that they will control for £1 - Steve Davis is also chairman of snooker players association who are about to receive substantial amounts of money from the wpbsa - I thought this was supposed to be an independent association.

Regardless of whether it is a good deal or not, If they want to put a bid in for the commercial rights of the company Barry Hearn & Steve Davis should declare the conflict and stand down from the board of wpbsa with immediate effect.

Also why is there no tender process? In order to get the best possible deal for the members it is the duty of directors to test the market - surely if other sports promoters/companies were aware of the company being up for sale for £1 there would be other interested parties.

Pat Mooney & Brandon parker are also conflicted in that they are receiving handouts to promote their events from the wpbsa and are also heavily involved with the snooker players association.

I can only wonder why you have not been more vocal on this conflict - I'm sure the members would appreciate your unbiased opinion.

jamie brannon said...

Hendry,s walkover's were never dull. Just because a match is close doesnt mean it was an exciting contest.

In sport drama is great to watch, but you can't beat the likes of Hendry, Federer, Mickleson and Messi showing us true greatness, which is a rare commodity. You can witness drama at many levels of sport, but watching true great's at their peak is part of what makes sport so enthralling.