18.5.10

FEARS GROW FOR ALEX HIGGINS

Alex Higgins, the world champion in 1972 and 1982, is reported by several media sources to be down to six stone and living on baby food after his teeth fell out following radiotherapy treatment for throat cancer.

A website has been established asking for donations towards the £20,000 Higgins needs for teeth implants. The 61 year-old speaks in a whisper due to the cancer.

Higgins did as much as anyone and more than most to elevate snooker from folk sport to major television attraction.

His mesmeric playing style and chaotic private life created a heady mix loved by newspapers and the public.

His capture of the 1982 world title, after which he tearfully beckoned his wife and baby daughter on to the Crucible stage, are fondly remembered as some of the most iconic images in the sport’s history.

Higgins was a hellraiser and an anti-hero. He craved the limelight and seemed addicted to self-destruction.

Many of the things he did, notably his treatment of people, could not be defended. Ken Doherty was among those who organised a benefit night for him in Ireland in 1997. Higgins repaid this generosity by refusing to sign any autographs afterwards.

This sums him up: a stubbornly rebellious spirit walking a tightrope between genius and madness.

But any other sport would have erected a statue to Higgins by now. Without him, snooker may never have reached the peaks of popularity in the late 1970s that led to the creation of the professional circuit as we know it today.

Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins once stood on top of the snooker world. The game today should offer its compassion to a fallen star.

Donations can be made here.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

A fairly despicable human being, in my opinion. There are much more deserving charitable causes. I wouldn't give him the steam of my piss. When did you ever hear of Alex doing anything for anyone?

Anonymous said...

Nice post about Hurricane Higgins Dave but the story everyone wants to hear about at the moment is the John Higgins one and a daily or weekly update on what is happening with it?

I tend to disagree with the chain of thought that it's bad for the game, because it's actually put snooker on the front page of the paper for the first time in how many years? Probably since the 80s. So certainly from a spectators point of view it is an interesting story to follow and one people want to hear about.

Top-Cat said...

Great that your back Dave, as for Alex what can you say a pure genius. He was the one that started my love affair with this great game, some of the shot's he pulled off were unbelievable, shot's no other player could pull off even today. The blue he potted in that amazing 69 break against Jimmy was one of the best shot's anyone will ever see. Lets hope he gets the treatment he deserves..
Get well soon Alex..

Anonymous said...

Good to see you back Dave.

Higgins is a one off. It's sad to see him as he is now but what a character he is. Still one of the most charismatic players in the sport, and something that today's generation can learn from.

On another note I can't wait to see what Mr Hey You and the Loopy Juice has got to say.

Greg P said...

He looks absolutely awful. I've never seen someone who's still alive look that bad. God I hope he gets the help he needs.

I'm not saying he's without guilt, but people need to get some perspective. There are far worse people than him who did far worse things, who live better than he does, in prison, because of the Human Rights lawyers. Ted Kennedy killed an innocent young girl with his drunk driving, and he was hailed as a hero when he croaked last year.

That's disgusting.

Greg P said...

Also there's people who killed others when they were out driving drunk, and they get out in three or four years. Higgins has been through much worse than that...

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with post #1. He (Higgins. Alex) brought as much disgrace to the sport as all the other reprobates put together.

Chucking the odd frame is one thing, but head-butting tournament officials. Threatening to have a fellow player shot. Battering his wife. Foul and abusive language. Pissed as a fart 99% of the time.

A statue, Dave? Paul Hunter's name lives on in the sport. Alex Higgins' wont, and nor it should.

Dave H said...

Yes it will, quite obviously

Anonymous said...

LOL@8.49

Alex's name is engraved twice on the world trophy!!!

Amazing how clueless some people are

Anonymous said...

Dreadful man but if you can't have sympathy for someone in his situation then it says a lot more about you than it does about him

Anonymous said...

Higgins' name will only live on by the likes of Taylor, Thorne, et al, continually bleating on about the so called "heyday". You could probably point the finger at him (Higgins) for the decline of the sport, given his antics.

Looking at the top 16 today, I'd reckon that only 3 would have ever seen Higgins play. Those being Hendry/Williams/King. He certainly wasn't responsible for encouraging the other 13 to the baize.

Good to have you back, Dave, just don't concur with the adulation for Alex.

Monique said...

The man is in a terrible state and whatever people think about him he needs medical help badly. However I'm puzzled about this campaign. Implants require a rather heavy surgery. General aenesthesia if several have to be installed. It also requires solid bones to accept the "roots" and healthy gums and mouth "environment" in general. After the surgery there is a period od at least 2 weeks where the gums need to heal before you can eat more or less normally. And the "teeth" can only be installed on top of the roots after severa weeks, if not months: the bones must have healed and be solid around the implants roots.
Can you see a very frail unhealthy, undernourished man weigthing only 6 stones going through this? Can you see any serious dentist surgeon risking it on such a fragile person? I don't TBH...

Are the people behind this trustworthy?

Anonymous said...

"A fairly despicable human being, in my opinion. There are much more deserving charitable causes. I wouldn't give him the steam of my piss. When did you ever hear of Alex doing anything for anyone?"
_____________________________________

like it or not he gave Steve Davis a nice life he gave Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan a career.

Snooker owes Alex big time yes hes done stupid things and is his own worst enemy but i can guarantee you this without him snooker would never have taken off like it did in the 80s and every pound players has earned thereafter was due to the interest the kid from Belfast created in the sport.

Anonymous said...

reading the few posts on this topic some are totally clueless about the history of this sport.

the legend of Alex Higgins will out live every player thats ever played snooker.

Anonymous said...

The head butts, the death threats, the fines, the suspensions, the charisma. There will only ever be one Higgins. Alex is a legend.

Anonymous said...

In reply to 9:19

You're a decade out. Snooker took off in the 70's with the introduction of Pot Black on BBC2. There then followed sponsorship money and the introduction of new events and increased TV exposure. This had little to do with Higgins alone.

The front page stories today are as detrimental to the sport as they were when Alex made the same pages.

As an aside, I was in the Swynford Paddocks Hotel back in the mid 80's and had a room booked with my then girlfriend. After spending an evening at Newmarket races, I happened to be in the bar that evening when Alex was there.

I couldn't post on this blog the language and hatred he gave to the hotel owner's wife, Helen Clarke-Bottomley.

Icon? Aye....and I'll one day make a century break!

Ray said...

Whether you believe it or not Alex IS the daddy of snooker.Without him snooker would have died years ago.
He did for snooker what his great hero Mohamed Ali did for heavyweight boxing.No more middle of the ring shufflers Ali brought speed and skill and the ultimate in charisma like never seen before and Alex did the same for snooker.
He played shots that nobody else could dream of playing or could execute.He made the hair stand up on the back of your neck.Just ask Jimmy and Ronnie who's the most exciting player ever (bar themselves) and they will tell you.And Alex has never ever been booed into any competition in his life.He made snooker sexy.
When he was in his pomp I would have paid good money just to watch him chalk his cue.I would rather contribute to get his general health improved.
A quote that totally sums up Alex,Jimmy and Ronnie is "God gives genius but not without strings"

David Caulfield said...

It appears a lot of these posters are extremely naive!

I wish him all the best!!

Maisie said...

Someone once said "Since when was genius affable?"
Alex put snooker on the map and much as his behaviour has sometimes frustrated and angered me in the past I recognise his pure talent and what he gave to the game.May the force be with you Alex.

Anonymous said...

entitled to your opinion Ray, but thats all it is. YOUR OPINION

factually, it cant be judged.

my opinion is that he helped, but some people, like you, seem to get aroused at the thought of him carrying it on his shoulders, which he certainly never.

in my opinion

Anonymous said...

I think there are more important things for you to be posting about at the moment Dave. In particular the new tournament on Sky is great news.

Anonymous said...

"You're a decade out. Snooker took off in the 70's with the introduction of Pot Black on BBC2."
___________________________________

Pot Black Started in 1969 but it took until Alex Higgins winning the World Championship in 1972 for TV to screen a World Championship match that happened in 1973 on the back of the interest created by Alex Higgins.

it beggers belief the ignorance of some as to the origins of this sport and why TV Took as much interest in it as they did.

shortly after winning the World in 1972 ITV Made a documentary on Alex and brought snooker in to mainstream TV.

His impact on snooker was enormous let nobody underestimate that.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared.
Hi Dave
How’s tricks! Thanks for the plug Mr 8:00 PM it’s nice to be remembered. About Alex! “Oh for God the gift to gay us, to see ourselves as others see us” The bold Rabbie Burns.

My only comment is the common use of the word “Genius” concerning the many people that can play snooker to an advance standard.
The silly talk is understandable considering the wild patter used by snooker commentators to attract gullible youngsters to our beautiful game.

Genius has never been part of snooker! In fact the game though almost one hundred years old it is without meaning or explanation; plus the only game sold without detail on how to play the game’

Granted there are rules on how to score points, but not on how to acquire points except by the copycat method of “Watch Me” and the player you like best to copy.

For the record Alex was on equal genius with Ronnie Jimmy Steve and the rest of the “Century Makers” in snooker. Players sadly don’t know what they are doing right. Mr hey you

Anonymous said...

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/bizarre/2979358/Snooker-greats-come-out-to-support-frail-Alex-Higgins.html

jamie brannon said...

It is fair to say Doherty doesn't hold grudges about that 1997 night. He spoke warmly about him at this years championship.

Great to have you back as where else is there for on-the-button snooker news.

Anonymous said...

Jamie

what a pro says on camera and what they say privately, to friends, other players etc... can be very different at times

Anonymous said...

Apparently a British company (http://www.thesmilecentreuk.co.uk/) will donate the teeth to Alex...

KILDARE CUEMAN said...

Looks like the Hurricane has had a bit of luck.

Apparently a dental practise in Manchester has offered to do the job for free.

Fair play to them, but theres now a new dilemma to be solved.

What happens to the money that was already raised?

Pint o' lager, large vodka, and a tenner forecast on the first in Hove.

Anonymous said...

I wish Alex well although its a pretty safe bet that most of his followers on here have never met the man.
He was pretty ghastly by nature but this should not stop humanity taking over and sending on our support.
Otherwise we'd be as bad a person as he invariably was.

shaun foster(wigan) said...

i would just like to say despite all the negative stuff written alex was a breath of fresh air and a joy to watch so hang in there the hurricane i dont think them upstairs are ready for the antics of you and oliver reed just yet.good luck alex the pig

jamie brannon said...

I hope we get your end-of-season awards as their always a highlight.

I echo the guy who said it would be a good to have a brief summary of what has been happening in the snooker world.

Anyone aware of where I can see the full line-up for the World Seniors event. I noticed that Ebdon is 5-2 favourite with Paddy Power and Doherty 7-2, which surprised me as I thought Hendry was playing.

Bryn said...

The question of when Alex did something nice for someone? Actually, despite all the bad, he did find time to do good. Some will know that when John Spencer became ill in the the 1980s and his career was threatened, only Alex (who went straight round) and Cliff Thorburn who sent gifts from Canada responded to John's plight at that time. Alex the helper was the lesser known side, but I promise you, it is there.

Anonymous said...

Jamie

last i heard Hendry was asked but declined

Betty Logan said...

There's also the story of Alex making a tape recording for a boy in a coma to help him recover. Urban myth or not, I tend to believe it.

Pot Black played its part in snooker's success, but it was Alex Higgins that really turned it into a mainstream spectator sport. He could charge £500 a night for an exhibition back in the 1970s (equivalent to about £5000 these days) which was more than what weeks of play earned him from his first world title. It probably explains why he wasn't a prominent title winner in the 70s despite being the best talent by a country mile - as opposed to today where the prize money was low, Higgins actually lost money by playing in tournaments instead of exhibitions! But it was Higgins' involvement that was an attraction for corporate sponsorship that started to see prize money increase, and I'm sure it was his involvement that lead to increased TV coverage. His natural attacking style and high risk/big gain strategy fundamentally changed the game. Players like Jimmy White and Stephen Hendry came along and emulated them with their aggressive style of play. Back in the day the shots he took on were considered reckless but would be considered the norm now, while the "correct" shot of the time would now be regarded as negative.

Reardon and Davis had better records, so I suppose that made them better players on paper, but he really is the greatest player that ever lived when you look at his overall impact on the sport. Is he a nice man? Probably not, but I don't care.

Here's the Higgins segment in "When Snooker Ruled the World":

When Snooker Ruled the World Part 2

Anonymous said...

You have David Attenborough of all people to thank for snooker's popularity, he was the guy at BBC2 who decided to start broadcasting it.

gareth said...

alex higgins day is over. Just like jimmy whites is. Time to look at the present and future instead of living in the past. He chose to become a drunk and throw his career away so he has to live with his decisions

doney said...

leave the past in the past and look to the future. Higgins chose booze over an incredible career. He made his bed and has to lie in it. I feel more sorry for jimmy white who gave everything to snooker and didnt get out of it what he deserved.