My dad, George, worked in Liverpool, manufacturing paints. As a youth determined to misspend it, I went to see Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins play some exhibition matches at his factory social club.
Higgins (1949-2010) had won the World Championship a couple of years earlier, in 1972. But the £400 prize money was a far cry from today’s six-figure pay-outs – so the daily grind of working men’s clubs was a professional snooker player’s bread and butter.
There was a real buzz about the place. Even though John Spencer (World Champion in 1969, 1971 and 1977) had played here recently, this was different. The atmosphere was more akin to a visceral boxing match than to the gentle probing of the green baize.
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