Barry Hearn is promising 11 televised tournaments plus 12 Pro Tour events each worth £10,000 to the winner and an increase in prize money of at least £1m next season.

The new WPBSA chairman wants control of the game’s commercial rights in exchange, although these will revert back to the players if he fails to hit his targets.

In a bullish, at times confrontational letter to the players, Hearn has set out his master plan to revive snooker’s fortunes.

At the centrepiece of this is the Pro Tour which will be open to all 96 players on the main tour.

It will include some established events, including the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany, and new ones and have its own order of merit. TV coverage and internet streaming of some events is a possibility.

The top 24 at the end of the season will go into a televised Players Championship worth £60,000 to the winner.

The players, with justification, have complained of not having enough tournaments to play in. The finances are not there to stage legions more ranking events. If they were, the previous WPBSA administration would have done it.

But a Pro Tour along the lines of the successful PDC darts model would provide significantly increased playing opportunities and the chance to earn more money.

These new events may also, in time, be built up into bigger ranking tournaments, just as many of Hearn’s overseas tournaments for Matchroom in places like China, Thailand and Dubai in the 1980s were.

However, one of the major differences between the Hearn chairmanship and those of the past is that he believes the association should reward achievement and not mediocrity. He has told the players as much.

As Hearn sees it, the players deserve only one thing: an opportunity. What they make of this is up to them but if they fail to make the grade they should do something else.

This will be hard to hear for some players, although in reality most of them will be no worse off than before. The pro circuit will still consist of 96 players. The top 64 will still be safe and those relegated will have an immediate chance to re-qualify through a new Cue School held after the 2011 Betfred.com World Championship.

New tournaments include a ranking event in Germany, a gloriously tacky one-frame shootout on Sky Sports which will have purists crying into their back issues of Snooker Scene, a World Seniors Championship and a World Open, featuring the 96 main tour players and amateurs, which will replace the Grand Prix.

This is because the BBC has stated they will drop the Grand Prix in any new contract renewal. Hearn has therefore immediately instituted the World Open in the hope the BBC will be sufficiently impressed with it to take it in 2011, which would be the first year of their new contract.

Hearn is not the sort to do things by committee. He likes to be in control and, as such, is proposing to purchase the game’s commercial rights for the nominal fee of £1. He will then issue share capital in this new company worth £500,000 and control 51% himself.

Players will be able to purchase shares with priority given to those who have won most based on a points system taking into account tournament wins, meaning Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins would have first chance to become shareholders.

Prize money would rise from £3.5m to a minimum of £4.5m next season and by more in the years that follow. If it does not, the rights would be ceded back to the WPBSA.

The new commercial body would pay an annual licence fee to finance the WPBSA’s rules and regulatory functions, still controlled by the players. Hearn describes this as a ‘win-win situation.’

The Hearn plan includes support for the Snooker Players Association and a new ranking system that will change during the season rather than at the end of it.

Not everyone will agree with all of it. Cost cutting has seen the end of CueZone – which was popular with many fans, although at some tournaments it was little more than a table in a foyer – and courtesy cars for the players.

Some players lower down the rankings will fear for their own futures but, in reality, they aren’t any better off now. Snooker Scene’s own player columnist Jordan Brown spent in the region of £8,000 in expenses in his debut season and earned less than £1,000. Had he turned pro under the new Hearn plan he would have had the chance to play more, to earn more and to improve, possibly even keep his tour place if the results started to come his way.

At its core, the Hearn plan is a major attempt to increase snooker’s profile, the players’ opportunities and end the stagnation in the qualifying system and ranking list. Even Hearn’s critics would be hard pushed to deny his enthusiasm and commitment to making it work.

So will it work?

Hearn is a great ideas man but some of the fine detail needs to be ironed out. Players should attempt to ascertain how all this will operate in practice and have the perfect chance to because, unusually for a WPBSA chairman, Hearn has given every player his mobile number and email address and invited them to contact him with any questions or concerns they have.

But he will resign the WPBSA chairmanship if they reject his proposals in May, which would most likely sink the entire plan and deal a possibly fatal blow to snooker’s credibility with the broadcasters and sponsors he has been negotiating with.

We’ve been here before. The Hearn plan shares many similarities with the Altium bid, which failed to attract enough player support in 2002.

They were promising significant investment into the sport in exchange for its commercial rights. The players clung to the rights themselves, after which prize money fell dramatically and the number of tournaments on the circuit were reduced.

Players should read Hearn’s plans and consider them carefully rather than asking their managers – or those who call themselves managers – what it says and what it means. If they have any queries, they should address them directly to Hearn instead of relying on rumour.

Black propaganda was what did for Altium in the main, with talk of hidden agendas and ‘taking over the game,’ as if the game belongs to anyone in the first place.

On May 5, the players will get their chance to decide their own futures – again.

They should ask themselves three simple questions:

1) Do we really want to play more?

If they do, as they have always said, then the Hearn plan is a no-brainer.

2) Why should we care who runs the game’s commercial rights?

Surely players should concentrate on playing and earning money from their sport. As long as the money is going up, why does it matter who is in charge?

3) What is the alternative?

Most of them aren’t happy with the way the game has been the last few years. Supporting Hearn may be a gamble but turning down this chance to reinvigorate the sport is a bigger one.


Anonymous said...

brill news

Johnnybigbananas said...

Does this mean the Players have to forego their rights to sell / display a Logo on their waistcoat ?

If so, he's got no fuc&ing chance of them voting for his proposal ...

finn said...

Well said Dave, I hope the players have the good sense to see that this is the only way for the game to have a future. May 5th is an interesting date, hopefully it will give the BBC plenty of time to make it clear to some of the more doubting sections of players of the credibility of the proposal. I think Barry will use the coverage to get his message across loud and clear so they are left with no option but to see sense

trophymad said...

Well this is a risky plan for Barry Hearn. All in or all out, no in between possible. I hope the players will see the good in it, the potential for the game is huge. What I somehow don't like the idea of another "main tour" beside the real maintour. There is a lot of split potential here. On the other hand it really will give the Paul Hunter Classics a different meaning. So let's wait and see. If I where a player my answer would be yes. But I'm not and from a distance things always shine more bright then they really are...
But with this plan Hearn can figure out one thing for sure: Which Player's really in the game and who isn't.

Anonymous said...

One of the most promising signs is that the European Masters will be over 4 days (using 6 or 8 tables). Snooker is no different to golf or tennis - in the early rounds there are only a handful of players that people want to watch, having 1 main table will mean better crowds and (hopefully) better venues (the cost of a 4 day event being much lower than a 7 day event). It also allows the possibility of a final taking place on a Saturday.

The online coverage of the Championship League and qualifiers shows that it is possible to cover non-TV tables cheaply using fixed cameras, so it should be possible (for the purists and for betting) to show streams of any non-TV tables at ranking tournaments.

It may take time but I hope these both become part of the plan.

Ruthie said...

Hi Dave,

Thanks for publishing this. It's good to get a picture of what might happen. Two questions:

1. Can players opt out of many or all the events? Stephen Hendry certainly suggested in the past that he would like the calendar to operate more like golf where players could pick and choose, and we all know Ronnie sometimes likes to limit his involvement.

2. How many countries would get to host? If Barry Hearn gets the votes would he be able to turn it around quickly enough to make all the events happen without settling for a UK-based tour?

Cheers, R

CHRISK5 said...

Still a circuit of 96 players & still the Top 64 being certain to remain on the tour.

This was one area which should have been modified.

Yeah,maybe that policy was kept to get enough 'votes' (I know)

However,in my opinion it should have reduced to the Top 32 only being certain to stay on the tour -to increase competitiveness in ranking events & not reward 'mediocrity' as someone put it.

Instead of this blueprint seeming to have a clear direction.

It's turning into a compromised fudge so far.

Good news that there will be numerous more events for the players & it's encouraging that the more successful tour events might eventually gain ranking status.

Still more precise details that are yet to be revealed ofcourse.

From what I have galvanised from this plan so far - It's getting to 50/50 whether it's gonna work.

Not too many of these ideas seem to be consensus driven or have the best formulas.

Anonymous said...

What do you think of the two week qualifying school as opposed to a season long secondary tour (UK Tour, Challenge Tour, PIOS etc)?

I've been debating all day that it will only enhance the chances of players 'fluking' their way onto the Tour, either through a good draw, or 'flying' for a week etc.

Also, what ever will the aspiring full time amateurs do for the next 14 months? Just practise and wait patiently? And wait.. and wait???

I know it is not Hearn's job to look after the amateurs, but how are players, especially the aspiring youngsters aged 16/17, expected to learn/improve and build their way to Main Tour standard by playing in 4 tournaments crammed into 2 weeks a year?

Greg P said...

"a gloriously tacky one-frame shootout on Sky Sports which will have purists crying into their back issues of Snooker Scene"

Ha ha. Not really. I couldn't care less if he makes new events with this stuff in it.

The noises that he and Roy Co.. er I mean, Steve Davis were making, it sounded like he wanted to replace the Grand Prix with stuff like this. Or even the UK or Worlds.

He can make all the one frame events he wants, with referees in bikinis and tetris blocks floating down the table and whatnot. Who cares.

Anonymous said...

Well in golf the PGA Tour has both a Q-school and a secondary tour, so I don't see why snooker couldn't have both.

jamie brannon said...

So are the BBC more likely too keep the World Open, as I don't think they will unless the event was seriously jazzed up. I echo Greg with the shootout as long as it doesnt impinge on the established, and become a regular format for ranking events then I see no issue with it.

Snooker fans may want to read Matthew Syed's column from last Wednesday, Hearn is mentioned in there- his quotes were not so impressive when talking about not altering long frame formats.

Greg P said...

BTW another question, Dave, will Hearn try to get the BBC to bring back Clive Everton, or is he not that bothered about it? I know he has Clive doing the Premier League so obviously he thinks he's a good enough commentator. The initial decision to sideline him still baffles me.

Frankly if I have to listen to Willie Thorne wrap up a world final again, I'll go nuts. Willie really should go and read what David Vine had to say about snooker commentary to the Guardian, a few days before he died...

CHRISK5 said...

The riskiest part of the plan is definetly the split loyalties between the established ranking structure & the new player tour format & the allround amount of invitationals as a proportion of the calendar.

A repeat of the PDC/BDO darts fiasco type thing occuring in snooker would be lamentable - But,the way it's going - quite predictable it could happen.

However,amid all the huster & bluster to come in the weeks ahead.

One thing that will NEVER ever change - In that,a players career will continue to be defined by their performances in the World,UK & to some degree in the Masters.

Most snooker followers know those are the 3 events which most matter & most relevant to the sports perception as a whole.

I really hope some of the new,wacky formats do get 5,6,7 year olds hooked on the game (it all helps)

Though when they get older - they will evetually realise the events that are most important & substansial in nature.

Just like I found out myself with Doubles & Nations Cup formats in the mid-late 1980s - which I used to percieve as almost irrelevant - compared to the Majors & the more complex weave of storytelling.

Anonymous said...

I hope the players see sense and vote yes here as I feel it is the best way forward for the game.

My main worry is that if the players vote no Barry will resign and just create his own tour (mainly for the elite) and we will end up with two seperate tours like the darts.

I also think Barry new this when taking over the chairmanship.

Anonymous said...

A one frame knock-out ranking event, in Germany. Its a long way to go for one frame.

Surely a best of 5 has to be the minimum, you cannot have a 1 frame ranking event. Thats ridiculous.

As with a best of five grand-prix, thats bad enough, but just passable. I think a bit more thought needs to go into 1 frame events, especially if they are abroad.

Janie (EBSA Media) said...

Some very interesting reactions from 150 plus of the leading European players here in Malta, plus the countless numbers of officials, refs and assorted spectators.

99.9% broadly in favour of the proposals, both for the Top pros and for development of events for aspiring players and for spectator opportunities in more countries.

The 0.01% was a friend of a former board member!!

Dave H said...

These are all good questions but I don't have the answers to them.

Maybe I'll ask Barry Hearn if he will answer them and any others anyone has.

Anonymous said...

Dave, ask him what colour his boxer shorts are please :)

seriously, id rather listen to WT than matter of fact Clive....next time you have a moan on a blog think that some folk have a different opinion.

Dave, good job at the agipi...where is the best place to ask you a question about it?

Greg P said...

Ok. Well I know Jimmy White agrees with me about the uh, "quality" of Thorne's commentary so that should be enough to get Barry onto this one.

Anonymous said...

Dave, that would be an excellent idea and if our Baz has got any sense he will.

I think the base is there for improvement and the promise/pledge to leave the big three alone is a positive. But as ever the detail is in the detail.

He knows what he's doing, I have no idea if the lower players will like it or not but it will get them thinking about their commitment levels at least.

But the clear message is, if you are good enough and work hard, you're gonna be ok.


Anonymous said...

Janie never was any good at maths.

Hanna said...

I wonder if it is such a good idea to stage the one frame shoot out in Germany, of all places. People here are more tradionalist about this sport than in the UK...

Anonymous said...

And how are the players going to fund transport and the like to play in Europe? There's a lot more in the fine print - be careful out there! On May the 5th, there should be a debate with as many players/representatives there as possible then they should be allowed to go away for two weeks to absorb what they have heard and only then should they vote on the proposal. The players should vote individually and not give their rights away for their managers to vote as they see fit.

CHRISK5 said...

Janie (EBSA) - Your'e easily pleased then - if you think everything is already rosy,perfect & that'll do kind of thing.

Not every facet of the structure has yet to be revealed anyway.

So,why so many people are jumping one way or the other so quickly - is a bit premature.

I'm reserving my own verdict until I know the exact strategy & recipe for the major 3 events.

That is the entity on which many fans will judge the proposals - Not just those who contribute to the blogs like this - But,many others who just follow snooker by simply watching & observing the formats & events - only when they are being televised.

Dave - Why should Barry Hearn answer any questions ? - Until everything is on the table & transparent - it would be a pointless (but funny) gesture.

If every detail of the proposals package had been revealed in one big,bold declaration or statement -instead of this tedious & quite infantile drip-drip effect - then so many people wouldn't have got this confused in the first place!

Come to think of it - That's how so many strands of the web operate anyway!! LMAO

Anonymous said...

i bet anyone a grand that half of the players tornaments wont happen it will get cancelled half way through like the pro series this year, 12 televised tournaments now im really laughing televised on what a magical tv in outer space !!!!!!!!!!!!!! pains me to say this snooker is DEAD once bbc start dropping tournaments its game over RIP Snooker

Anonymous said...

It's a pity there's no 6 reds event. This would get the crowds in and really ignite the game. This could replace the one frame knock out option, which is just Hearn's way of reviving Pot Black.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Maybe you could book an afternoon with Hearn in Sheffield and give him a Q&A (am sure this will happen anyway next month,) but purely for Snooker Scene. Sure he will from PR point of view.

I think he has concentrated on the snooker after his proposed takeover of the BDO was turned down.

This new tour does look like the PDC one, but the only hope is there isn't revolt when it starts. Otherwise we are facing a two-tours scenario which had been on the agenda before.

Any reaction from the 110sport camp or lee/ian doyle?

Thanks, Joe

Anonymous said...

A few comments.

First of all, 6.46pm, the event in Germany isn't a one-frame situation. I don't know where you got that from, but it definitely isn't the case.

As for the plans themselves, it's nothing short of a revolution in the game, which is great.

The one thing I would say is this - why not award ranking points for the new, smaller events? Obviously the points on offer could be much lower, decided by a formula based on the frame distances of the matches and the quality of the field.

It would give these events much more value, and would almost certainly lead to much greater participation among the leading players.

There could also be a problem with some of the top players playing very few of these events, or maybe none at all, thereby severely reducing or even eliminating the possibility of qualifying for the Players Championship.

It would certainly damage the credibility of that event if the likes of O'Sullivan and Higgins weren't involved.

Overall though, the plans look great, and it should also be remembered that Barry Hearn has never come across as the sort of man who rests on his laurels. So even if all this comes together well, I doubt he'll want to stop there, and will go on making improvements.

Let's just hope the vote doesn't turn into another Altium, although I'd be confident it won't.

Anonymous said...

promises on paper is nothing yet.

we need to see it working and the sport flourishing again.

i hope he pulls it off but ive seen people promising things before then fans and players get swept along with it and bang nothing.

CHRISK5 said...

Greg P - I thought Clive opted out of commentating for only the Masters event - basically because of there being less matches & no hectic two-table set up.

I'd imagine he will still call matches at the Worlds & UK,like he continued to do last season.

I agree that the 'great rabbitting WT' could learn something from
messrs Lowe & Everton - on when it's most ideal to comment/summarise & most crucially....... when to pause & let the snooker do the talking!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Dave what would be a good idea would be a 'podcast' with Barry Hearn before the World Championships if you are able to nail him - as well as giving us the opportunity to listen to him, it will give him the opportunity to sell his ideas as I'm sure players read this blog as much as fans.

Witz78 said...

Well done to Barry Hearn for drafting this detailed blueprint in a relatively short period of time since his election into power.

No-one could seriously expect miracles overnight and a wave of new rankers to emerge.

Hearn is copying his successful PDC darts model to an extent and who can blame him. Its proved to be a monstrous success, and by pledging his own cash (at risk) into these plans for snooker, he is quite rightly entitled to make a return should they be a success in the long term.

Ultimately Hearn is in it for the sport he loves and not for his own financial gains, as they will be minimal compared to the time and effort it will take, as against the easy option of glitzy elite invitational events for Ronnie and co he could have pursued.

As far as i see everyone is a winner with these proposals...

The players

1)Chance to play more often
2)Chance to play for more money
3)Safety net for players out of top 64 as they enter Q-school with immediate chance to get back on tour

The fans

1)More snooker rather than the gaping blanks in the calendar weve became accustomed to
2)Chance to see the players in a variety of different types of events
3)The main events untouched so the purists should remain content

Snooker in general

1)Greater exposure under more broadcasters
2)Initial expansion into Europe with plenty more potential to progress the sport.

Critics of some of the trivial matters in BHs plans and those who are anti-BH really need to swallow their pride and back these plans.

Whats the future hold if these plans are vetoed and BH walks away from the sport?

A rudderless ship of warring factions of players arguing and bitter in fighting, whilst the game becomes even more of a laughing stock to the public. At the same time, the Beeb will walk away from the Grand Prix (for starters) and the slow death of the main tour and sport as we know it will happen.

The only certainity in a no-vote is that it will ultimately lead to a breakaway elite set up (ironically under Hearn probably) and the journeymen who voted against it would have scored the biggest own goal ever as theyd cut off the hand that feeds them.

Lets hope common sense prevails. Janies comments are certainly positive on this front.

Dave H said...

Chris - you're wrong on two counts.

1) Clive didn't opt out of any commentary. For those who asked, he will be doing some work for the BBc at the World Championship.

2) You complain there should have been a 'big bold statement' rather than a 'tedious drip-drip effect'. The document ran to something like 20 pages, making it one of the biggest World Snooker declarations there's ever been. I just picked out the key parts but the whole thing is available to view on thesnookerforum.com.

Anonymous said...

He's also wrong to say it would be a bad idea to interview Baz and ask for clarifications when quite clearly that's the best way of cutting through all the speculation and piffle

As for all the tedious sniping around some of the detail, why don't people read the document instead of mouthing off because they've half heard something and believe it to be true?

Janie (EBSA Media) said...

I didn't say I was pleased or otherwise.

I was merely relaying the opinions of a large number of players of all abilities gathered here in Malta.

We had the full document here on Saturday morning and it's been available here for everyone to read since then.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure Hearn has any say regarding the BBC choice of commentators.
How far will the supremo tag go?
Everton is certainly a fine commentator but I suspect he is as old now (70's) as Ted Lowe was when he retired.
I await the next anchor man for snooker commentary, it certainly isn't anyone who is currently in the chair.
Jimmy Michie was quite good I thought, many years back.

Anonymous said...

per Barry Hearn's document there will be ranking points from last 32onwards in the pro tour events.

Also the top 8 on the protour not in the top 64 will keep their tour spots so actually those in the 96 will still have 72 spots plus chance of qualifying through the tour school.

If players vote against Barry Hearn's proposals they will be doing so for 'I don't like you' reasons or through fear.

The question for them is I think do you want snooker to have the possibility of a renaissance like darts has under Barry or do you want it gradually fade away like bowls (which I think is down to 3 events a year!).

CHRISK5 said...

Anon @ 10.26pm - Thanks - That is actually good news that the various Tour events will carry some kind of ranking merit.

But,what percentage of points compared to the traditional ranking events ? (20%,30%,40%)

Also,will the points systems be simplified to double digit figures - so that most people can understand it again ? - Is the ranking system going to modify to a one-year list instead of the two season rollover mess ?

If Tour events are only going to be best of 3 & 5 Frame matches,then the proportion of ranking points gained should be reflected according to the much reduced match durations.

If anything,at least the Player Tour events cannot be tainted by the 'glorified invitationals' tag -
a very smart move indeed.

That said,I still await exact details of the Worlds,UK & Masters formats - Will the very 'comical' World Open brand remain ?

Maybe the major 3 events might remain stale & untouched for the 2010/2011 season - because of the original BBC contract - But,as much as I enjoy the established 3 tournaments - they should be modified,tweaked,re-invented somewhat for the next 2011/2012 contract onwards.

As for who owns this or that shareholding in snooker - I couldn't care less as long as the product itself is mixed,vibrant, competitive & full of colourful sponsors!

Greg P said...

I would think Barry has enough clout to fix this. I mean it's just a matter of common sense. There was a big enough backlash against the decision originally.

If Barry feels there's still a place for the traditional events, I'm sure he would agree that these events also deserve some professional, non-cringe-inducing commentary.

CHRISK5 said...

Dave - Thanks - Once I got through all the codes,passwords etc to access Snooker Forum files.

I did..... eventually get more details of the document.

For the Top 16 players,there scheduele looks much busier.

7 Ranking events
6 Tour events minimum participation
Premier League or Champs League
Sky Shootout
Players Tour Finals event

That is 17 events minimum & would or could increase upto 18-23 events overall - depending on their dedication to the Players Tour format.

Though,I would prefer if 17 events equated/formulated into 12 genuine legit Rankers & 5 Invitationals instead - And with ALL players guaranteed to take part in EVERY
registered event - Though,that policy could be developed in future. (ie) If afew of the more productive Player Tour events gained full & unequivocal ranking status.

It's a decent idea to having changing provisional rankings affecting the draw for each event.
So we don't get the same repeating matches throughout the season.

But - The season-ending ranking positions must still remain paramount as to the players overall standing in the game.

As expected though - Precise details of the intended vision for Worlds,UK & Masters WASN'T forthcoming - OR indeed the exact nature of ranking point allocations OR their numeric quantities - OR if it's going to be a straightforward one season list or remain at the rollover two year list.

So all the facts & figures have yet to be established - It's a reasonable start though!

Trophymad said...

@ Hanna: Who said that the Sky Shoot Out is in Germany? In the calendar it says "to be called"
Gosh! I'd love it if this event would be in Germany!

Dave H said...

It'll be in the UK for sure, probably Manchester

jamie brannon said...

Hearn has no say in commentary, you wouldn't get Wimbledon telling the BBC who to use.

I miss Clive, but Willie is not that bad. His reading of breakbuilding situations is second to none and his own vernacular, like when he talks about whether a shot is 5 or 6 out of ten that keeps him distinctive. Added to that he strikes up a good chemistry with John Virgo

Anonymous said...

Snooker doesn't need one of the UK's best sports promoters taking charge, it needs the return of Mike Dunn.

jamie brannon said...

Just thought I let everyone know that at 2am later tonight, I will be settling down to watch my 21 years of Embassy World Snooker video. It only goes up to 1996, but it a nice melancholic lookback at some great memories even though most of them I never saw when they actually took place. The incomparable David Vine fronts the video.

trophymad said...

@ Dave: I thought so. Manchester... Well I hope that Hearn tells us soon where it will be, because I'll be there!!!!!
P.S.: thanks for the answer...

oldschool said...

barry said he didnt want to reward mediocrity then gave jimmy the wildcard instead of wenbo. go figure.

Anonymous said...

jamie - Willie IS that bad. He is the absolute barrel scraping of a commentator!!!

oldschool - absolutely - and that's where the propsed new structure is heading too.

Anonymous said...

What did Wenbo do to deserve a wildcard?

How many fans would he have pulled in?

How many column inches would he have generated?

Do people really not understand how this works yet?

Anonymous said...

It's all very well Barry Hearn promising to give things back to the players if he fails but how much of the £3 million will be left to hand back. Didn't he say that he would use the money to try and get the game back to where he believes it should be? Far far too risky.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Much better to get renowned businessman and promoter Mike Dunn back.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:04pm

I agree with Jamie in liking WT's commentary. Everton is OK but I find him far too negative in approach whilst Thorne's enthusiam is infectious.

Of course, the fact that Thorne reached higher echelons, to me, make his observations more credible.

Anonymous said...

if barry was as clever as he makes out surely opening the main tour up to all players would generate a lot more money in entry fees and also generate more interest from all those associated with the new influx of players, time to stop protecting those that are on the main tour and let the cream rise naturally instead of handpicking those that are going to succeed. in my opinion there are lots of good players who arent even tyring to get on the main tour as they know its a bit of a lotterey, if all tournaments are open i could guarantee you would see and hear more unkown players as the standard goes a long way past the 96 players. keep the game alive and open the tour!

Anonymous said...

you have got to look at the bigger picture, there is too much emphasis on main tour players, in my oppinion if you want to pay your money you should be able to take your chance, open the main tour up in to a world tour that anybody can enter, you dont see the f.a saying to the smaller clubs all the way down the leagues "no you cant enter the f.a cup or clomb the leagues to reach the top" get a grip barry 2weeks a year for amateurs is not going to keep the game alive at grasss roots, they will all end up giving up and the game will be dead......