I only received one threatening phone call after the first part of my Snooker’s Biggest Bust-ups feature was posted last week, which has to be regarded as a result.

On, then, to part two...

Hendry was, of course, The Man in the 1990s but the one player he could never beat was Mark Johnston-Allen, a Bristolian who twice reached the final of the European Open.

After two defeats to MJA, Hendry faced his unlikely nemesis again at the 1995 International Open. The result: Johnston-Allen won 5-4 to complete the hat-trick.

This was too much for Hendry. “I keep losing to people who shouldn’t be in the same room as me,” was his conclusion.

Johnston-Allen, about as nice a guy as you could meet, thought this was hilarious but Hendry, embarrassed by an outburst that made him look arrogant, duly sought his foe out at the next tournament and apologised in person. Luckily for Hendry, Johnston-Allen retired a few years later and so caused the great man no further trouble.

Dale did not exactly endear himself to the cheery fans’ favourite when he qualified for the 1994 Dubai Classic.

White made what was doubtless supposed to be a constructive comment about Dale’s cue, to the effect that if it was a better model Dom might himself fair better. Remember this was 1994, so Dale’s razor-sharp retort: ‘and if you didn’t miss blacks off the spot you might be world champion’ didn’t exactly have the Whirlwind splitting his sides.

They played each other in the first round at the Crucible in 2002. White won easily, 10-2, and Dale was so disappointed that he broke up his cue and slung it out of the dressing room window, where with great fortune it did not land on the head of anyone passing by.

Robidoux, an extremely personable French-Canadian, took the rare hump when O’Sullivan had the temerity to reveal himself to be really, really talented.

They were playing in the first round of the 1996 World Championship when O’Sullivan, winning easily, decided to start playing left-handed. Robidoux took this as a personal slight and, ludicrously, played on when many snookers were needed on the pink in the last frame.

Just as ludicrously, O’Sullivan kept refusing to pot the pink before the match finally ended and they each headed to their respective press conferences to slag each other off.

Disappointingly, this was all patched up very quickly and Robidoux reverted to being the nice bloke he always was.

Showboating boxer Prince Naseem was a Sheffield boy who liked his snooker. His brother once kindly gave me a fruit pastille, but that’s probably not relevant.

At the 1997 World Championship, Nas came to watch his friend Stephen Hendry in his quarter-final against Morgan, a great competitor who led 5-3 after the first session only to lose six of the eight frames in the second and then the match, 13-10.

Morgan’s explanation for his nightmare session was that Naseem’s presence in the press seats was ‘intimidating’ him, adding: “I have never met Hamed and I have nothing against him as a person. He may be a nice bloke for all I know but he just walked in through the curtains with his missus and sat down right at the front. I just felt he was putting me off and putting Stephen into the mode he needed to be in, so I asked politely for him to be moved.”

Hendry went on to lose the final to Ken Doherty, due largely to Chris Eubanks’s refusal to pitch up and sit in the front row, boxing gloves and all.

Hearn built his empire on shrewd business decisions, associating with the right people (most prominently Steve Davis) and the fact that he has a warm, engaging personality. The players always got on well with him and were grateful for the new markets he developed, most of which were usually then hijacked by the WPBSA.

However, he fell foul of Stephen Hendry, at the time snooker’s youngest ever world champion, at the back end of 1990 after announcing his new Wimbledon-style World Masters in Birmingham, which would feature singles, doubles and juniors and hand wildcards to former world champions.

One such recipient was to be Alex Higgins, who the WPBSA had banned for a season in 1990 for a litany of disciplinary offences. Hendry’s reaction to this was to announce he would not be playing, thus depriving the event of the game’s brightest new star.

Hearn, a man rarely cowed by threats, realised his tournament would not be sanctioned if other players followed Hendry’s lead and so backed down. Higgins was out, Hendry was in and the event went ahead.

This is one of those stories that has been embellished over the years, but this version should be as close to what happened as makes any difference.

Chan was Hong Kong’s best player until the arrival of Marco Fu; Browne was an Irishman who once played at the Crucible.

Their unlikely altercation came during a match at the qualifiers at the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool in the early 1990s. There had been a dispute in a frame about a miss call, this being before the rule was refined to its current usage.

At the end of the frame, Chan left the arena to go to the toilet but found a sign on the door to the effect it was out of use. As he went off to look for another one, Browne appeared behind him, also looking to answer a call of nature.

Chan said, ‘No, Paddy, out of order! Out of order!’

Browne assumed this was a reference to the earlier miss rule discussion and grabbed Chan by the lapels, shouting: ‘Don’t tell me I was out of order!’

These two met in the first round of the 2004 World Championship, a match that Hann had to win to remain in the top 16. It wasn’t a friendly affair, with a few comments here and there as it wound on to its conclusion, which was victory for Hicks.

His remark to Hann as they shook hands - ‘that’s you out of the top 16’ – led to the players having to be separated by the referee, Lawrie Annandale, unwittingly forced to play a kind of Kofi Annan role.

Hann says he told Hicks: ‘You’re short and bald and always will be and I’ll fight you in the street for 50 grand any time you like.’ Hicks, who has never denied being short or bald, declined, although Mark King stepped up to fight Hann in a boxing match – Pot Whack as it was called.

Joe Davis was reported to be spinning in his grave.


Anonymous said...

who made the call?

RichP said...

These are always interesting to read. What's happened to Mark Johnston-Allen now? I know he used to run a snooker merchandise business at the venues etc also thought he was a half decent commentator when he worked for Sky even with the Bristol accent!

As for the King/Hann fight it's quite absurd when you think about it now that this ever came about. Quinten Hann's ban must be nearly up now surely if it hasn't passed already?

Sparky said...

Pat Houlihan v Joe Davis in Part 3?

Anonymous said...

Quinten Hann's ban isnt over until 2014 it was a 8 years ban.

Anonymous said...

I only remember Mark Johnston Allen, when told of the Hendry comment what a disrespectful thing it was to say about a fellow player. Got it from WWW Snooker

Anonymous said...

hendrys comment about mja was terrible. it was a comment youd say with your mates in a banter way and he was caught out by anger of the moment so say it publicly.

thankfully things like that were rare with him and he had the brains and common sense to say sorry. better man for it.

Anonymous said...

none with clive everton in it?

Anonymous said...

There was an interesting follow-up to the Darren Morgan/Naseem Hamed scenario.

Hamed rocked up at The Crucible a number of times over the years to support Hendry, and the two of them seemed to have struck up some sort of friendhsip.

But when Ronnie O'Sullivan made his attack on Hendry the night before their 2002 world semi-final, it was said at the time that O'Sullivan had been encouraged to do it by Hamed, having been hanging out with him earlier.

Don't think we saw Hamed at The Crucible again after that.

Anonymous said...

dave can u answer why John higgins got cleared last year and quinten hann got an 8 year bann for the same sting??i read an interview hann gave last year when this story broke out about john..

Anonymous said...

I am sure there are instances of players refusing to shake hands after a match.
Didn't someone refuse to shake Quentin Hanns@ hand?

Anonymous said...

Why did Hendry get Higgins chucked out of the World Masters? It seems quite an extraordinary thing to do, Hendry must have been pretty p*ssed at him at the time.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Graham Miles once accuse Dave Martin of tripping him up in a corridor before they played in the English Championships somewhere?
A scuffle ensued and the match went all the way to the final black wehre Miles went in off.

Anonymous said...

PNH was at the crucible more times after 2002. for definite!

Anonymous said...

they werent the same
im sure you already knew that though
go back to playing with the buses

Anonymous said...

did or didnt you mean your first word to be "did"?

Anonymous said...

What about the time Quinten Hann beat Chris Small in the UK Championship 9-8 and on shaking hands Quinten said "do you know where the nearest lapdance club is in York."
Chris Small was not amused.

And how about Quinten's boxing fight with Johnny Magee. The first round is on Youtube and I still don't understand how Hann didn't win. See below.


Moondan Ate My Rat said...


of course the Higgins and Hann cases were identical tabloid stings

the only difference conveniently was that Higgins was world champion whilst Hann wasnt as big a name, plus Higgins had this family man tag before whereas Hann was a party animal, so the WPSBA conviently threw the book at Hann as they saw him as trouble so this was an easy excuse to get shot of him just like they had with the year ban to Alex in 1990.

Im a great believer in Karma and Hanns revenge will come in some shape or form.

He should have been marketed as the golden boy of the 2000s and saviour of the sport along with Hunter.

Dave H said...

The actual reason was that Quinten Hann didn't contest the case

Also, neither case was heard by the WPBSA

Anonymous said...

The key difference though which is always overlooked, is that the WPBSA did file charges in both cases. With hann it filed match-fixing charges whereas with Higgins this charge was dropped before the hearing. WSA didn't give the tribunal a chance to determine Higgins' guilt in regards to that charge. You can't say there wasn't bias in that decision. I'm not saying Higgins was guilty, nor that Hann didn't deserve 8 years, but there was clear bias in how the cases were handled. If you agree to throw matches then the WSA should file match-facing charges and let the charges be tested, no exceptions.

Anonymous said...

Hann probably would have got off lightly had he attended the hearing, but by not showing, he had to be given maximum penalty

finn said...

I think Clive has done a great job in publishing his article about the Maguire v Burnett case in this month's issue. It certainly makes things crystal clear for me. I see he has also used video stills from that match in his piece. As these are not in the public domain, I would very much encourage him to take steps to have these uploaded to YouTube or something similar. This way the snooker public will not feel like it has been swept under the carpet and that there has been a deliberate information blackout. Again I thoroughly commend Clive for continuing to report the facts, as he always has done, irrespective of whom it may upset. He is of a dying breed: the true journalist .

Anonymous said...

The actual reason was that Quinten Hann didn't contest the case

Also, neither case was heard by the WPBSA

6:05 PM

no point replying to these assholes dave. they know fine well.

surprised youre stilll letting comments like that through when theyre made to inflame and annoy.

Anonymous said...

You can't say there wasn't bias in that decision.

6:41 PM


there wasnt bias in that decision

Claus said...

Great stuff, Dave. Whenever you dig into your bag of stories it is pure gold. I humbly beg for more.

Anonymous said...

The World Open or ranking snooker needs to return to Scotland, and Glasgow is the most sensible option. Hearn's depriving the country's leading export of the game of a top tournament. He allows tournaments in Australia cos you have Robertson, Brazil cos you have some guy who once reached the last 128 or a ranking event, but he won't have a tournament in which has been the home to four world championship victories in the last six years. A disgrace

Dave H said...

It's not in Scotland because World Snooker would lose money on it and there's no British broadcaster who want to show it.

Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

It is a travesty though, but not of Hearn's or World Snooker's making. I can't imagine there are that many sporting events held in Scotland that are more prestigious than a professional ranking snooker tournament. This is exactly the sort of thing BBC Scotland should be covering: BBC Wales manages a few days per year, so why can't BBC Scotland? What is the point of a regional broadcaster if they don't cover high profile Scottish events?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely spot on 5.19pm. BBC Scotland used to cover the Regal Scottish Masters, don't see why it can't cover this. The Welsh event could be sacrificed for an event in Scotland, or at least rotating it every two years.

Anonymous said...

the welsh open is a welsh production independently from network BBC....why cant Scotland do like wise....nothing to stop them.

kildare cueman said...

Dont forget Higgins and Medati

Anonymous said...

Scotland rules snooker.

Sparky said...

Rotating a ranking event between Wales and Scotland is absolutely spot on!

Anonymous said...

I don't see how that solves anything. BBC Wales isn't going to broadcast an event in Scotland is it, you muppets?

Anonymous said...

Time to forget about backwaters like scotland and wales. Snooker is a global sport now and is no longer a product of the British legion

Anonymous said...

While is space for the PTC there is no harm in letting the Welsh keep their Open while their broadcaster covers it, but I agree we shouldn't be targetting these countries. The next big targets should be India and some of the other European countries: France, Netherlands, Poland and Russia are all worth a crack. Perhaps its time to resurrect the European Open and move it around some of these places.

jamie brannon said...

There is scope for a part 3.

Here is a few possibles:

O'Sullivan v Selby
Ebdon v Drago (A spat at 2002 World Championship)
Carter v Bingham
O'Sullivan v Murphy
Everton v Thorne (Partly to see if it's true as it crops up on here quite a bit.)

There were a few others but they escapre me right now. However, you probably feel it has been exhausted.

The Dale v White clash surprised me, I imagine it is all in the past now.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it was a slap from Willie Smith that had Joe Davis spinning in his grave

Unknown said...

There was a column in one of the papers about the O'Sullivan/Robidoux spat at the time, along with a cartoon, IIRC, blaming one of the commentators for winding Alain up by calling him "Elaine" throughout the match.