Each week I will be looking back at the career of a former professional, starting with a player who is now involved in running the professional circuit...
Martin Clark was a great talent who rose to no.12 in the world rankings but whose career was ended by illness.
From Sedgley in the West Midlands in England, a long time hotbed for snooker, Clark was a talented junior who came to the fore in the region's highly competitive local league.
Sporting one of snooker’s best ever perms, he turned professional in 1987 and enjoyed a sensational television debut, beating Dennis Taylor – world champion in 1985 and at the time one of snooker’s best and most recognisable players – 5-0 in the Fidelity International at Stoke.
At the 1989 Mercantile Classic, Clark reached his first ranking event quarter-final and appeared in two more that season.
He was certainly good enough to win a title but never made it to a ranking semi-final. His defeat in ten quarter-finals remains a record.
Clark was a semi-finalist in the 1992 World Matchplay – a major invitation tournament – and recorded plenty of encouraging results against top players but never quite broke through into the upper echelons of the rankings.
Given his talent, he seemed to be heading for the top eight but was in fact relegated from the top 16 after four seasons inside.
His career declined through no fault of his own. Clark suffered from worn vertebrae in his neck. He had to wear a brace and his form inevitably dipped to the extent that he decided to retire.
It was a difficult, dispiriting decision to make but he did so without any complaint.
Clark is still very much involved in snooker as one of the WPBSA’s tournament directors and he is a credit to the governing body. He works hard, he’s very helpful and he has the respect of the players because he was one himself and he understands tournament life from their point of view.
He is a passionate Wolverhampton Wanderers supporter and so has, for once, had a good year at the Molineux.