Shaun Murphy has been world champion, UK champion and is a player often tipped to win titles based on his professional approach to tournaments as well as his rock solid game.

All this said, it’s worth pointing out that he only has three ranking titles to his name.

I say ‘only’ – this is a little unfair. It’s not as if they come along every week. He has also won three invitation titles. Even so, it’s a lower return than might have been expected after Murphy’s sensational capture of the world title in 2005.

To come through the pack like he did was a surprise but that he would make it at the top level was not for anyone who had known Shaun since he was young.

His entire focus as a boy was to make it as a professional. When he first appeared at the Crucible he said it was his ambition to one day be mentioned in the same breath as Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry.

Some journalists – no doubt I was one of them – wondered if this teenager had ideas above his station. But although he hasn’t achieved the domination Davis and Hendry did in their respective heydays, Murphy is what all the many thousands of pros, wannabe pros and young amateurs have dreamt of being: world champion.

To produce the standard of snooker he did on the game’s greatest stage against much more experienced opponents was one of the great achievements of the last decade, indeed of any decade.

He lost 17-16 to Mark Selby in the semi-finals in 2007, 18-9 in the final to John Higgins in 2009 and 13-12 to Ali Carter in the quarter-finals last season.

I’d fancy Murphy to be there or there abouts at the Crucible for the next few years.

Last season, he dropped four places down the rankings to seventh.

In truth, though, there’s far too much focus on the rankings at the top end. What difference does it make whether a player is fifth or sixth or seventh? Who cares?

Of course, dropping out of the top four makes a difference in seedings but when the top players meet it’s all on the day. Murphy doesn’t suddenly become a heavy second favourite against, say, Neil Robertson just because he’s now below him on the list.

Dropping out of the top four may, however, be a psychological setback. Players want to keep on the up and up but Murphy has slipped back. The good news, though, is that with the new ranking system he can bounce back straightaway instead of having to wait a whole season.

And as he didn’t win a match in any of the 2008 Northern Ireland Trophy, Shanghai Masters and Grand Prix there won’t be many points to come off when the list is revised in October.

Murphy has always given the impression of being a wise head on young shoulders but off table pressures – the break up of his marriage and subsequent relocation to Sale – clearly had an impact on his form.

He isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (who is?) but from what I’ve seen he’s always been a good pro: signing autographs, chatting to fans, posing for photographs.

In his year as world champion he was always available for media interviews and willing to promote his sport.

There have been well documented (very well in some cases) incidents in the arena where his opponents have not always been enamoured by Murphy. He isn’t alone in this and, of course, there’s no taking back what has happened once it’s happened.

Some people still bang the drum that there are no ‘characters’ (without ever defining what they actually mean by that term) but I’d say Murphy is a fascinating character.

Socially, he is one of the easiest players to chat to. He’s friendly and laidback and yet seems to wind a lot of snooker fans up.

Perhaps they regard his persona is insincere. Knowing Shaun, I don’t believe it is but I also like a bit of tribalism in sport: heroes and villains, as in any drama, is what keeps people coming back for more.

Murphy turns 28 this year, not young in snooker terms but not old either.

The next five years or so is where you would expect him to enjoy the majority of his success.

He remains one of the few players in the game I would be wary of betting against but his consistency seems to have declined in the last couple of seasons – he has lost some matches in this period that few would have predicted – and that is what he will be looking to recapture in the new campaign.

That and titles: the ultimate measure of a snooker player.


garymoss87 said...

Fantastic write up.

Personally, I'd be very surprised if Murphy doesn't add to his one world title. I think he's too good of a player not to.


Anonymous said...

hes a fake.lets not forget he was the only pro against freezing paul hunters ranking points when paul had to have treatment. a so called religious man ,dont make me laugh. the irony is hes won the paul hunter classic twice. should not have even entered it if he had any morals.dont imagine this will get posted dave but i think the public have a right to know. hes a great player but as fake as u can be.

CHRISK5 said...

Oh yes,Shaun Murphy - I have seen him practice numerous times at Rushden & Raunds in the mid-late 1990s. (often with his father)

Shaun often had exhibition matches with Stephen Hendry in this period,when Hendry was still at his peak ! - I recall Shaun pushed him close - like 6-3 or 6-4 on
many occasions !

It was strange how he struggled in his early years on the main tour -
the fact there was 400-500 pros at the time & you had to go through
8 or 9 qualifying rounds to get to the TV stages - just might have had something to do with it !

When he won the 2005 World Title - despite being ranked 48th -
It was a surprise to most of the nation - apart from those who had known of his potential for many years.

Since then - It's been a mixture of ups & downs - However,he has solidified his place in the elite.

Shaun Murphy is very much a student of the game & should have
longevity in the sport.

Betty Logan said...

I expect Murphy to figure more in this decade than the last. In recent years we've seen players viable as potential world champions up to the age of 35 - Ebdon reached a final at this age, Higgins was on the cusp of 34 when he won it last year, O'Sullivan still looks good enough to win it, so if the trend continues then that will see Murphy as a contender up to 2017/2018 making him a more defining player than he was in this decade. With so many title contenders around these days I suspect success will be measured more by milestones than stats in the future. We've seen Murphy reach two: world champion, and the championship double with his UK title; I think we will almost certainly see him reach two more: a Masters win to give him the triple crown, and I would be very surprised if he didn't bag a second world title which put him up there with the all-time greats.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what some of the well documented stories are about episodes in matches.

But I've never quite been able to get over how hypocritical it is for a Christian to sell advertising space on his waistcoat to a bookmaking firm. Ho-hum.

Anonymous said...

Despite not many points being taken off his ranking he is still only 6th http://prosnookerblog.com/rankings/201011-provisional-rankings/ on the Provisional list but with both Ronnie and Ding missing from the second PTC he should be up to 4th if he beats Ebdon in Round 1.

jamie brannon said...

I think his religious preaching and his too carefully cultivated Mr. Nice guy image turn people off.

Personally I don't mind him too much as he is a very articulate and fascinating interviwee with a lovely cue action.


Heres a list to cause a bit of confusion. These are the VERY provisional rankings.

That is to say, with the 2008 Bahrain and UK championships removed, along with the 3 tournaments already removed in the existing provisional list.

These will come into operation AFTER the UK and will be used for seeding for the German and Welsh open.

1. J. Higgins 44505
2. N. Robertson 38865
3. D. Junhui 35385
4. A. Carter 35005
5. R. O'Sullivan 34945
6. M. Williams 31041
7. S. Maguire 30005
8. S. Murphy 29965
9. M. Selby 29265
10.G. Dott 28210
11.S. Hendry 27545
12.M. Allen 27165
13.M. King 24405
14.J. Cope 22885
15.R.Day 22845
16.L.Wenbo 21925
17.P.Ebdon 22190
18.M.Fu 18640
19.R.Walden 22845
20.M.Davis 18090
20.R.Walden 18100
21.K.Doherty 17470
22.B.Hawkins 17365
23.J.Perry 17170
24.S.Bingham 17135

Yes, I know, I need to get out more.

Anonymous said...


I fail to see the relevence between Christianity and advertising bookies.
As a lapsed Christian, I dont recall any ban on having a flutter.
Perhaps you are getting confused with some other religion. ho hum

Betty Logan said...

Shaun won the world title as the biggest outsider ever! Had a bit of help from upstairs if you ask me, maybe Jimmy should have said his prayers every night.

Anonymous said...

no point coming up with a provisional list AFTER the UK Championship until After the UK Championship.

there are 10 PTC Events The World Open,Shanghai Masters and The UK Championship to be played before the list you come up with will be used with points being piled on that list is as useless as the World Snooker list..

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secrete is wasted if not shared
Hello Dave
Thanks for the posts lad! I must apologise Dave that my posts have failed to create any interest and are never refuted or disputed.
I should of course be pleased Dave that I am always right for a change as I never win one at home where the “Better Half” refutes even my assertion of day and night.

Your new found Blog about Ex-World Champs has endless copy Dave if we are only allowed to say nice and kind things about the subject.
Too often Dave we find “Snooker People” objecting to “Less than Favourable” comments said about there favourite player but never the objection by the player.

For instance young Champ Murphy! Shawn would win more and enjoy his game much more if he would relax the tight muscles between left shoulder and cheek. It merely proves the point that champions can play “Successfully” with bad habits.

Shaun never misses playing with his “Left Hand” as he is always then correctly balanced without the mental and physical stress of the shoulder and cheek lock. Mr Hey You

Anonymous said...

6 34. u silly old man.didnt know u potted balls with your cheek .u constantly talk rubbish i wish dave would ban u from this site.go and work on your allotment or something more usefull than this fine art crap which doesnt exist.

Anonymous said...

i remember meeting shaun at a major tournament a year and a half before he won the worlds. he was largely ignored by fans who didnt really know him well enough then...

he was score checking the tv monitor outside the main arena when i went up and said hello and wished him good luck in the competition. now, everyone is entitled to their off days, and i know back then he was very young, but the words that came out his mouth and the way he said it to me, someone out of several dozen who were there who actually knew him, make me dislike him with a passion. wolf in sheeps clothing!

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secrete is wasted if not shared
Dear Mr X @ 12:50 pm. Hi Dave.
Thanks again mister for the plug! I think dear Sir you are being used by some shrewd but frightened self cantered people.
The new snooker complex at the old Sheffield football ground may demand new ideas as well as some new faces but the main purpose will be to extend north the “Matchroom Enterprises” for Barry and snookers other new share holders.

All new venues will struggle Dave even if practice and coaching was free to all students as the game is so “Repetitive” with an insipid kind of expertise.
Promising viewers a 147 or money back will not attract sponsors. The game is a “Turn Off” and will have to change.

Giving free time and basic coaching to all female students may save snooker as the girls would never play copycat snooker.
A secret worth sharing Dave! A keen student only needs pointed in the right direction and they teach themselves.
The “Watch Me” and I’ll show you again method may lead to copying the “Successful bad habits” that all players have. Mr Hey You

Anonymous said...

Dave, i really dont see what the post by DM at 1123 has to do with Shaun.

I am amazed you let any of his posts be published on here, as he certainly adds to frustration of regular posters and posts a lot of lies too!

Anonymous said...

I agree with 5:52 PM.

11:23 AM's posts are "Self cantered" and their meanings are kept "secretes".