'The finest ever snooker player': Tributes pour in for Alex Higgins after Hurricane finally blows out. He was, in the words of his rival Steve Davis, 'the one true genius that 'He beat me up for the first two years of our relationship. pregnancy locks after giving birth with these easy tips from an expert. Stephen Hendry has revealed details about the "strange relationship" that he had with snooker legend Alex Higgins. Speaking to the Belfast. As Steve Davis slips into sporting retirement he can reflect on a life well lived "I did start out as a nerd and Alex Higgins was this frightening Every player has a love-hate relationship with snooker. . Find ways to get active.
All of a sudden this esoteric table game was a television sensation and Davis one of its biggest stars. And that person effectively mapped out my life for me.
God knows what I would have been otherwise. I can't believe my luck. People thought I was his product - and I was. When the England cricket team were always losing back in the 90s, I thought that if they made Barry captain they'd start winning.
He was my mate, my agent and the perfect man to have in my corner. Six ,, Ranking tournament wins: Snooker's heyday in Britain was Davis' heyday.
You couldn't keep 'The Nugget' off the back pages. Players were treated like pop stars. I did a signing session in a sports shop in London and the security couldn't hold the people back.
It was shocking to see that level of fervour, I couldn't get my head around it. Slow it might have been, but it was also gripping. There are still people out there who want to read a good, long book. Not everybody wants to skim through Twitter. It doesn't have to be fast and furious. Someone once wrote that any sport that has commentators that whisper can't be a sport.
But where there's whispering, there's drama. It would have ruined it. Seventy minutes of tension and agony. And while Davis says the programme makers played with the truth, he is happy to admit that most of it was accurate in essence. He had this pent-up aggression inside him, something like hate. He was almost feral and I was always unnerved in his company. He reminded me of that cartoon character Taz - wherever he went he left a trail of destruction behind him.
I played him once in an exhibition match and what should have been a bit of fun became just so intense. He was more entertaining sitting in his chair than I was playing. He never did anything quietly, he always made a big song and dance about it.
Eye of the hurricane: inside the crazed world of ALex Higgins | Sport | The Observer
Higgins was in a catch 22, he didn't like food very much and couldn't eat because he had no teeth. His body was discovered after concerned friends broke into his flat having failed to contact him by phone. It is not known how long he had been dead inside the apartment in the Sandy Row area where he grew up. It was a humble end for a two-time world champion considered to be one of the finest snooker players of all time.
Taking up the sport at the age of 11, he won the All-Ireland and Northern Ireland amateur snooker championships in After turning professional he became the youngest World Championship winner at his first attempt, beating John Spencer in The record was eventually beaten when year-old Stephen Hendry claimed the trophy in Higgins claimed the title for a second time in Looking into the camera he claimed, with utter conviction, that he felt 'nothing but disgust' for the industry that still sponsors all the major snooker tournaments.
Cigarettes are everywhere in snooker. Most snooker players were given free cigarettes. But, regardless of his motivation for appearing on the programme, he stole the show. The public was shocked. It was impossible to argue with the man, rasping defiantly, 'I intend to fight this case to the end. It's easy to stop smoking. I have a strong will-power.
Stephen Hendry: More snooker stars should have been at Alex Higgins' funeral
What chance has cancer against me? He was back in the public eye. The reasons were not of his choosing but at least people were talking about the 'Hurricane' once more. To a man who, except on rare occasions, has lived his life according to the motto, 'there is no such thing as good publicity', that was something to be cherished.
Unlike the next splash. Once he held the world in his palm, a two-time world champion, the best, they said, his sport had ever produced But that was then. What Mulchrone probably didn't know is that Higgins had started out playing all-comers for money in the Jampot on the Donegal Road in the late Fifties and early Sixties and, despite becoming world champion twice, had never stopped hustling.
However, the story surrounding the Mirror piece is worth exploring in detail because it demonstrates not only Higgins's relationship with the tabloids but also why he has become so circumspect about every person he meets. The day began with someone tipping off the papers for a nominal amount of money when all he wanted to do was play a bit of snooker and hustle and two days later millions of people had arrived at the conclusion that he deserved pity, something that distresses him greatly.
Blood On The Carpet: How Higgins and Davis made modern snooker
This kind of casual betrayal, repeated countless times over the years, has convinced him that only the paranoid survive but his blithe refusal to accept that he can be outsmarted by 'fucking pressmen' and the money he believes his story is worth keep drawing him back towards the flame where he almost always gets burnt.
Acting on a tip-off, Mulchrone made his way down to a snooker club in the back streets around Strangeways Prison in Manchester. He had pallid skin, his cheeks were drawn in, he had thinning hair and his throat was covered by a cravat. He was also wearing what might have once been a garish waistcoat. That said, he was still whizzing around the table as best he could.
The frame we saw him play he lost. And so, we were working out what to do, whether we should snatch a picture or try to gain his confidence or whatever. Once ensconced Higgins, assuming that his luck was in, gambled and asked for an 'extraordinary figure'. The paper refused and negotiations commenced. Part of this process involved the newspaper taking Higgins in search of a former friend in a pub in one of the less salubrious parts of the city and then to the home of a female friend.
He went in, left the journalist outside for 20 minutes and then reappeared. Financial negotiations, at this point, were still ongoing as were the precise topics for discussion.
Steve Davis: Retired snooker great says life 'like living in a big holiday camp' - BBC Sport
It proved impossible but, sensing that he had a fantastic exclusive, Mulchrone asked him to sleep on it. The next morning, unsurprisingly, he had not changed his mind. Even at this stage, and with 'a substantial amount' of money on the table, he could not override his natural instinct for screwing them for some more. The impulse was not greed. Rather, it was driven by his belief that he was 'owed' for all the papers he had sold for them in the past.
Higgins has a keen, although considerably inflated, sense of his own market worth. Consequently, the Mirror snatched a picture of him outside the hotel and the piece went ahead without his cooperation.
As Mulchrone now admits, '[The picture] spoke a thousand words for me. I didn't really need to do very much once that picture of him appeared. That told the story He was upset when it came out but the man pissed on his own strawberries in an extraordinary way. Back in London, I was still frantically trying to find a hotel in Manchester that would take him for the night. Alex Higgins seems to have systematically targeted every major hotel in the city centre over a sustained period of time and managed to get banned from the lot.
That takes real dedication. The process was further complicated by Higgins's demands for a hotel with a golf course, his food order 'I've not eaten for three fucking days' and then the need to book somewhere before anyone checked with the duty manager. Using a false name would be futile because when he eventually turned up he would be barred and the whole process would have to start again.
I had already received a polite refusal from the last city centre hotel and was actively searching for somewhere in the suburbs, preferably South Manchester where he used to live and might feel at home. By this stage Stephen O'Malley, a friend of mine whom I had pressed into a reluctant babysitting role, and a work colleague he had brought along as back-up had made their way to the Circus Tavern.
This was the 'little pub' in which Higgins had left most of his worldly possessions. The Circus Tavern is a two-room establishment with a bar the size of a butcher's chopping block. With real fires and an absence of pretension, it has the feel of an Irish country pub despite its location in the centre of Manchester. Consequently, it has a large number of expatriate Irishmen among its clientele but not, it would appear, Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins who was in a 'bit of a predicament' somewhere else.
Ten minutes later, however, he arrived wearing a fedora which he took off only oncesmoking and demanding both a drink and a place to sit down.