A year ago, the prospect of John Higgins becoming the black sheep of the snooker family seemed ludicrous.
He was the best player in the world with a well earned reputation as an amiable guy, unaffected by fame and fortune.
All that changed in the Ukraine earlier this year and the subsequent News of the World sting that left Higgins fighting for his professional survival.
Today he returns at the European Players Tour Championship in Hamm, Germany, his first match since losing 13-11 to Steve Davis in the second round of the World Championship.
In an interview with the Scotland on Sunday, Higgins likened this to a trip to the dentist. He is unsure about how his fellow players and the wider game will welcome him back.
Some have sent messages of support. Some have not. I know one well known player – a good friend of Higgins – who was simply too embarrassed by the whole affair to say anything to him at all.
Higgins has been the recipient of many - mainly anonymous - insults from some fans on the internet and admitted he read many of these comments through natural curiosity.
But public opinion is only that: opinion. The tribunal was headed by an independent lawyer who came to his judgement based on the available facts, not his own prejudice.
I wouldn’t write anything about John that I wouldn’t say to his face.
I believe he was very naive, well, stupid, to put himself in that situation but the idea that, were this a genuine plot, he would have trousered the £260,000 ‘bribe’ is not one I could picture. I’ve known him a while and that isn’t him.
But it is true that top sportspeople can develop a kind of arrogance without even knowing it. They become accustomed to a lifestyle and a sort of untouchability that means they don’t fully think through their actions.
Regardless of whether he was led into a possibly career ending scenario by his manager, Higgins should surely have behaved in a more professional manner.
And he knows that. He will have thought of little else since he was suspended.
Some will forever look at him and see someone they believe was prepared to cheat. Some will be happy to see a successful, contented person brought down a peg or two. Some will support him to the end.
Higgins will never convince everyone of his innocence and as the years go by the myths surrounding the case will grow.
But he’s back and he has every right to continue what was, until last May, a glorious career.