All through the 1990s the perennial question asked every year before the World Championship was ‘can Jimmy White win it?’

For the last couple it has been ‘can he qualify?’

This year it’s ‘can he stay on the tour?’

That’s the stark scenario facing the popular Londoner, who reached six Crucible finals between 1984 and 1994.

White goes into the Betfred.com qualifiers this week placed a precarious 60th in the provisional rankings.

He may well have to win his first match to remain in the top 64. If he slips out he will be relegated from the professional circuit after 30 years.

The WPBSA do have at least one wildcard at their discretion. I would find it incredible if this didn’t go to White so that he could continue his career but he could not rely on it indefinitely.

And with the qualifying structure likely to change he might not be able to.

If White gets through a round he ought to be safe. If he loses, his fate with rest in the hands of the players below him on the list.

Either way, it’s a parlous state of affairs for a former world no.2 who, despite the vagaries of form, has never lost his love for the game.

Jimmy’s had some disappointing setbacks this season, losing 5-4 on a re-spotted black from 4-0 up to Ian McCulloch in the Welsh Open qualifiers and then 5-4 to Xiao Guodong in the China Open.

But it was his withdrawal from the UK Championship qualifiers to go on I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here which has proved most costly.

Nobody goes on forever but White’s vast army of supporters will hope their man can go on a little longer.

Regardless of his current fortunes, he’ll still attract plenty of support both at the qualifiers and from those glued to live scoring.


Anonymous said...

do you have any insight into the future structure of qualifying?

I notice Un-Nooh has lost his place on tour and Michael White could lose his depending on other results this week. Will any changes make it easier for players like these still to participate?

moondan said...

I started my snooker obsession with Alex, moved on to Jimmy then by the end of the eighties appreciated all players.
Im not sure Jimmy the player has a vast army of fans anymore and its something else that snookers masters have got so wrong.
I thought it was a disgrace that Jimmy got the wild card at wembley his existing game did not warrant it and again the fools that run this game seem out of touch with reality.
I do not know anyone who rushes home to watch Jimmy, or even talk about him anymore and those that run snooker should look to its future rather than its very distant past.
We are blessed with many great young players who are far more deserving and any wild cards on offer should be played for by snookers most promising cases.
Snooker says it wants to attract the youngsters, well they wont do that by dishing up one of modern snookers founding grandads.
The kids of today have no connection to Jimmy whatsoever and yet again snooker is in danger of a step backwards.
Will it ever end?

Monique said...

Why would you find it incredible if Jimlmy didn't get that wild card should he lose his place Dave? I would find it disgraceful if he did TBH. He chosed to skip the UK, one of the majors, to go in the jungle. Fine. His choice, but one that doesn't speak of commitment. So I would prefer the wild card to go a young player who would be in his first year on the MT and would narrowly fail to retain his place, especially one of the chinese or thai guys for whom the difficulties of being an expat add to the difficulties of the job at hand.
Ok guys, bring them rotten tomatoes!

mathmo said...

Firstly, I am very excited about seeing Jimmy in the qualifiers on Wednesday (and fingers crossed Drago qualifies so I can see him as well).

As for Moondan. I disagree that Jimmy has no army of fans. The match at the Masters shows how well he is supported. The weather was dreadful and must have prevented a few hundred getting there but the place was still buzzing. And in the qualifiers he manages to get 30-40 people to watch him compared with 3-4 on the other tables.

Dave H said...

Monique - because wildcards are supposed to represent popularity and Jimmy is still the most popular player in the game, like it or not

Monique said...

Dave, sorry, but if wildcards represent popularity someone has to explain to me who did allocate them last season and why? Unless the guy had smoked some bits of the old Crucible carpet before picking his choice?
And BTW I have nothing against Jimmy as a person or as a player.

Dave H said...

You may have noticed the board has changed since

Monique said...

Yes of course, I have ;) and I was expecting that answer from you, sort of. I just wish and hope that decisions are explained then: lack of transparency has been one of the worst things in the past.

shaun foster said...

simple fact jimmy puts bums on seats therefore is going to be a prime candidate for wild cards.I would rather watch jimmy not quite at his best in a packed venue than some up and coming player in a half empty one

Anonymous said...

If wildcards were based on popularity then surely John Barrowman would be a certainty to get one.
Thats assuming he is a very popular celebrity, at least the BBC seems to believe we all love him anyway.
He is always on the goggle box these days.

Samivel said...

I totally agree with Monique. If Jimmy can save himself, fine. But to give a wildcard to someone who prefers to sit in the jungle rather than to compete in the second most important tournament, would be a slap in the face of every dedicated player.

And is there a rule that the wild card recipient has to be chosen on the basis of popularity? I can think of other valid reasons, some of them mentioned by Monique.

Anonymous said...

Dave - do you have any idea on what date the draw for the last 32 is taking place? Thanks.

Keith said...

I say again it should be more like Golf where they invite the old players but with plenty of places available for the younger ones so everyone's happy. Would Tom Watson have bothered with the Open if he'd had to come through endless qualifying rounds?

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hi Dave
Thanks for the post lad! Congratulations too for a new influx of quality filled articles. I think “Night English Classes” and the fine art of self expression has taken over from Snooker Practice.

About Jimmy White! The young man has sadly lost it, and steadily has gone down hill since 19-93 when a baby faced John Higgins really frightened him but then failed to see the “Jimmy White” game was gone without recall.

I’m afraid Jimmy is a bit “Mad” going by Albert Einstein who says. To do the same thing repeatedly and expects a different answer “Is a sign of Madness”.

Jimmy like so many “Experienced” players and “Nearly Men” it must be obvious that a change is called for. But amazingly all players rush back to the table to actually practice the very faults that forces a hand shake with the winner.

Jimmy had wonderful technique, but Jimmy loved the reputation of having “Natural Ability” and played mostly to the gallery. Like most forty plus players Jimmy thinks he only needs “Practice and Consistency”; not realising the Consistency part (poor) is already established. Mr hey you

Anonymous said...

The whole game rest on the shoulders of 7-8 players, Jimmy White being one of them

Players at all levels should be thankful he still wants to play

Dave H said...

Snookerbacker - see above

moondan said...

How come that I never meet these folks who love Jimmy so much?

I am well known in my own area, still play a lot, especially pool with the youngsters at the pub, talk a great deal about snooker to them and if Jimmys name is mentioned at all, it comes from me.
The youngster today want Ronnie,Robbo,etc, they dont want Davis, White, Hendry, thats who their dads and grandads liked to watch.
To some of them even Ronnies on the Hill.
This has got nothing to do with good management, it has everything to do with those in snooker employing has-beens and no doubt a financial incentive for them personally.
Jimmy had his time, he made himself a legend, its now the kids time, dont rob them of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm 19 and jimmy white's my favourite player

Don;t pretend you talk for anyone but yourself

Janie Watkins said...

Oh dear - a bad day for the Fine Art Method at the PIOS as Ian Glover contrives to lose 4-3 after being 3-1 up

moondan said...

anon, 3-15.

I wasn't talking for you, I was talking for the long term good of snooker.
Snookers in the mess its in because there are too many old players having too much say.

Greg P said...

moondan, I hate excessive nostalgia more than anyone, but maybe the so-called "young prospect" players should start actually winning things if they want to get noticed......

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hello Dave
I agree with Mr3:03 PM post. The nineteen year old lad that favours Jimmy White really loves his Mam and Dad or his snooker elders. Any one that has seen the original White cue action often now feels some embarrassment for Jimmy.

Jimmy was hospitalised in the nineties and when he returned for practice no coach could help him as his style of play was always a “One Off”.
The then coaches and Guros could only suggest going back to basics. Jimmy had “Only” lost his timing and tempo, the factors that made the wee man exceptial to watch.

Tony Drago plays with a similar cue action but comes off the ball much too soon. Tony plays as quick as he can move, but with neither Jimmys timing nor a specfic tempo. Mr hey you

Anonymous said...

I think Keith's post says it all..

Anonymous said...

i agree with monique

and i disagree with Daves reply to her.

wilcards are not meant for that and that alone

there are many reasons a wildcard can be used and not JUST what you singularly said they are for in reply to Monique!

i hope Jimmy loses his place. it would be his own doing!!!!

jamie brannon said...

White deserves one more season for what he has given the game, there is nothing excessively nostalgic about that, at the end of day they gave David Gray one.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Janie Watkins Hello Dave, hows tricks!
Thanks lass for the plug on 4:07 PM. I honestly dident know Ian was playing Janie or I would have said a “Hail Mary” for him.

I can only assume lass that Ian started to play to the galary as there probable was some one present to impress, maybe it was you Janie?
At least now Janie you know there is a different and entertaining brand of snooker. I am glad lass that you enjoyed four frames of snooker or were they all scrapy frames?

Ian Glover is a good lad but is almost incappable of being a winner Janie as the lad tries too hard to be liked and never has a strong opinion on anything in case you may disaprove. Ian loves to mix with these “Real Players”.

If the great Steve Davis or Jimmy was to say that the most successful practice is between Midnight and four A M. Ian like many players would honestly believe them or if potting was easier on Monday Mornings or Thursday best at PM it would be considered "Gospel" truth. Mr hey you

PS The psychology of snooker is unique and belongs only to the species that play snooker. DM

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that the person who says Jimmy is their favourite player is telling the truth and is 19. But for most 19 year olds who were born in 1991 and would have limited memories of watching snooker before the age of ten, if indeed they watched it at that young age, Jimmy is someone who they just would not have seen on TV many times if at all. When was he last playing on the BBC before the Master's ?

cb said...

I've nothing against Jimmy White but the delusion of some of his fans is unbelievable. Constantly going on about bums on seats and packing venues when he doesn't even qualify for tournaments these days. The fact is that he had a great run at the higest level but it's over. He was there for 25 years yet some people think time should stand still. Did other legends get such a weird reaction when their form went?

mathmo said...

"When was he last playing on the BBC before the Master's ?"

How about 2004 when he won the Players Championship, reachedthe final of th European Open and the Semis of the UK? At the end of the season he was ranked 8 in the world, and would have played in all the televised ranking events in the next season.

Anonymous said...

The Welsh open in Feb 2009 (if you lived in Wales and were at home on a weekday afternoon)

David Caulfield said...

10:53 pm Anon

What an utterly ridiculous comment! If you don't have a good memory of snooker history then don't comment on it!

moondan said...

Nostalgia has its time and place but never at the cutting edge of the game.
Having seen Alex at his best in the early seventies, Davis at his best in the eighties, Hendry at his best in the nineties and Jimmy at his best mingled in with all those three, its certainly not a pleasure to sit through a session watching their c games.
Stuff nostalgia.


Go for it Jimmy nate. All the very best of luck.