14.4.09

SAME OLD, SAME OLD

They - and by 'they' I mean newspaper columnists who write about snooker once a year - say there are no 'characters' in the game.

I disagree, mainly because I know the players and I know who the characters are.

However, I would agree that many of them have not emerged fully and do not come across to the public at large.

But this is a vicious circle. Last night, BBC1's Inside Sport interviewed Jimmy White as a Betfred.com World Championship preview.

Why?

I think Jimmy's a great guy but he's not at the Crucible.

Why not interview someone who actually is?

Ronnie O'Sullivan is profiled in today's Guardian. The interview is interesting enough but follows exactly the same pattern as all his other interviews: the tortured genius, the father in prison, the bad behaviour, the charm, the contradiction etc etc...

Ronnie and Jimmy are modern day versions of Macbeth which, back in the day, used to be by far Shakespeare's most popular play. If a theatre was staging it all the other theatres would know it was in trouble and having to rely on something established to get the punters in.

This is how even saying the name Macbeth became to be regarded as unlucky.

I know Ronnie is popular and fascinating, but there are 32 players at the Crucible this year and many TV viewers will know next to nothing about many of them.

This does not mean they are not 'characters'.

But if nobody ever bothers to interview them then they will remain largely anonymous.

This is snooker's biggest problem. It can only be solved by encouraging players to speak their minds and reveal their personalities.

Jimmy White isn't in the World Championship. Ronnie O'Sullivan could lose on the opening day.

If he does, there are 31 other players taking part.

It would be nice if some of them could get some recognition.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree. And in your excellent podcast you suggested players starting their own blogs and websites and I agree with that. It's also partly the players responsibility to get themselves heard in the media as well as the media for reporting.

This always happens at this time of year, people going on about the "characters" of the 80's. Honestly I would gladly stick a bullet in some of them. They haven't got a bloody clue.

Monique said...

I agree also but there is the key "It can only be solved by encouraging players to speak their minds and reveal their personalities." ... are the authorities ready to allow that?
Also I'm not entirely with you when you say only ROS is profiled ... over the last week I have read articles about Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Graeme Dott and Mark Selby (true it was short), plus your interview of Michaela Tabb. ... but how many fans take the effort to look for it?

stuartfanning said...

Maybe they are better off not being featured by the media. Look what happened when they featured the so called fairytale romance and marriage of Shaun Murphy. Real life soon dampened that.

Anonymous said...

It seems journalists and editors can only be bothered with things people already find interesting, and don't see it as their responsibility to make new and diverse things interesting. The all-Chinese clash would have been a nice preview - particularly given the threat Liang now poses to Ding's supremacy as the top Chinese player, and the strange and perturbing decline of Ding from his teenage heights.

Monique said...

to anon just above ... well there is this for you. http://www.china.org.cn/sports/news/2009-04/14/content_17600007.htm

Not about the clash but very interesting anyway. Especially a it is coming from Chineses press. But how many did spot it? It's there though ...

Dave H said...

I spotted it

Not least because it seems to be a rehashed version of my Snooker Scene article!

Anonymous said...

well said Dave. a great blog / point, well made.

(typical Mon deflection ;) hi Mon x)

Monique said...

Yes Dave indeed! That's exactly what I said on TSF ...

@anon ... not deflection ... just wandering female mind (if such a thing as "female mind" exists other than being an oxymoron...)
hi anon x ;)

Matt said...

Could not agree more with your sentiments here, particularly regarding the big sites like the BBC.

Sergey said...

I agree with your points....but it could be a hell of a lot worse.

What would happen if the BBC pulled the plug? The only reason the World's gets the coverage it does is because of the BBC coverage. The newspapers just aren't interested in the Malta Open, or some other tin-pot tournament in some far-off land, and subsequently the sport is lucky to get any sort of mention in the press.

Anonymous said...

I hate to put dampeners on the game but isn't it the case that snooker is just all played out (as billiards was c.1940). Everything that could happen in the game, has. The breaks, comebacks, speed, slowness, drug stories, fights etc have all happened and there's nowhere left to go. With the last of the old school (Jimmy White) almost semi-retired, it seems like the end of an era that ain't coming back.Is it correct in saying that the 'Golden Age' of snooker co-incided with players who had years of 'comedic' training on the exhibition circuit. The only way todays personalities will shine through is if the players gain the self-confidence from the same type of experience.

Totally agree, the podcast is excellent!!


Mat Wilson

Anonymous said...

exposure is the only thing needed

darts, though i dont usually like the comparison, is a fine example.

many players were seen to have no character. in the pl most of them have shown a different side to what the general public knew

wildJONESEYE said...

Dave i totally agree with what you said....

Who the hell is Rory Mclaed....Nobody Knows his Story because we get force fed Jimmy and Ronnie like a broken Record.

i want to learn about new players get to know what makes them Tick ...

see what they are about and at the moment papers are recycling the same old same old... time after time after time regarding Ronnie and Jimmy.

jamie said...

You say that Dave there are other characters, but after a match it is Ronnie who is most intresting. Without O'Sullivan the game would be struggling a little more. The other players rarely say anything controversial. They all say everyone is a great player and plenty of other banal comments. I mean O'Sullivan has been critical of the way players play, questioned whether Trump is that good, you dont get the other players saying these things. Plus an O'Sullivan interview is never always the same as like you say he contradicts himself that it varies from one interview to another what he is going to say. At the end of the day it is about selling papers and getting ratings, whether you like it or not. Plus it wasnt really a preview last night anyway it was about Jimmy White's career.

Dave H said...

At the end of the day its about easy copy rather than trying to find anything interesting to say about lesser known names. Seriously, is there anyone who doesn't know Ronnie's dad went to jail and that - amazingly - Ronnie might prefer him not to be in jail?

And Jimmy wouldn't have been interviewed if the World Champs weren't starting this week

wildJONESEYE said...

Dave

its lasy Jernalists..

snooker is such a brilliant sport with some brilliant players but because of prejedice jernos think its right to slag off snooker without the guts to find out for themselfes just what makes new players tick.

charicters is there but without publicity from newspapers and TV how will that be shown and then for that same people to turn round and say theres no charicters is just plain stupid..

Anonymous said...

A pity Holty hasnt won titles on tv over the last ten years as if he had he would be one of the biggest stars the game has ever known. Ebdon, Williams, Higgins, Hendry are all great personalities but many of the others havent had the experience. Then again back in the 80's with a handful of exceptions we were told the players were characters by the commentators. A number of them (excluding Reardon, Higgins and Spencer) came over as fairly miserable when at the table- including most of the names people look back on as characters!

Most of these players in the draw this year are very pleasant people if you have the chance to speak to them. Perhaps if most of them were unpleasant temperamental prima donnas they might get more coverage!- although the attempt to make Maguire appear dark and moody that has been attempted in the last couple of years hasnt really worked. Jimmy was spot on when he commented that we need the world doubles and the world team cup back- a chance to see players away from ranking tournaments and dialoguing together will help the image immensely. These current players are very interesting people (far more so than 10 or 20 years ago) lets hear more from them. What about inviting each of them to speak about there most memorable matches on here Dave- and I dont just mean the top ten players!

Anonymous said...

the reason folk say snooker would be lost without rony is that the majority of folk are happy listening to his same dross over and over, citing others to be boring when they arent boring, its just that nobody gets a look in cos rony can play very fast and loads of females fancy him, and guys who play snooker and pool all want to be him as he can play great fizzy shots like jim white and sandy higgins did. hes a poor mans sandy higgins. bored of him gonna quit. bored of him saying snooker is boring. bored of him having a go at lesser known refs. bored of him being deliberatley outrageous in interviews, citing hs just being himself. bored of him saying and doing the same old rubbish. i think his snooker is fantastic most of the time, though i dont care about his speed or fancy shots, just great snooker, but for me the sooner he chucks it for good instead of threatening to 100 times and not doing so the better snooker will be as fresh life will be bred among those left who want to be there and want to be the centre of attention but can as they cant do 147s in 300 seconds or whatever and dont look like the housewives choice. yes i am bored of him. snooker would be much better without him. please retire rony.

oh and for those who are going to reply with something "smart". go for it, say i am boring, contradict me, say i should get a life, say hes the natural talent we all should worship. i am bored of that too, so youll just bore me more.

good day!

jamie said...

That is not what the piece is about though it is more about how he is dealing with the release of his dad, so it has moved on. The diababa anecdote was also intresting. I agree that it would be nice to have other players featured as im sure they have personalities, but read Mark Selby interview in Radio Times and compare that to Ronnie and Ronnie is definitely more intresting. Like the piece says Ronnie is the most fascinating figure in British sport, I think we should celebrate that as snooker fans and not worry whether Shaun Murphy amd Mark King are getting their column inches, also Ronnie is champion so has earned the extra intrest. Fair point about White, but its down to ratings and selling papers still, you could get easy copy out of any player but it wouldnt sell.

Anonymous said...

i completely disagree with you jamie.

i think the selby interview was better and more interesting.

Anonymous said...

As the Newsnight feature last January asked, "where are the WAGS in snooker?".
No further questions your honour.

Anonymous said...

i liked football and music before WAGS were "about".....not relevant IMHO

jamie said...

i have made a policy of not getting into an argument with anyone called anoymous as im sure it is the same person who always gets at me if I big up Ronnie.

Anonymous said...

Well said Dave. The media certainly should invest more effort into varying their coverage. Even the BBC is guilty of giving more background on the more high profile players much to the dearth of their opponents. The montages between frames for example when you'll be bombarded by the same video of Shaun Murphy visiting a hospital and have nothing comparable on his opponent.

As for ROS being interesting I'm afraid anyone with a bit of imagination would have got bored of his interview style a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

Oh god, it was only a matter of time before wildJONESEYE found this place. God help us all.

wildJONESEYE said...

who are you then anonymous ??

scared to show youre true colours....

sorry dave but i have to deal with these types of idiots often on forums.....

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Annonymous 2 places above wildJONESEYE.

I'm so goddamn tired of those attention seeking Ronnie interviews where he begs everyone for sympathy. Seriously, no mood for that.

Anonymous said...

Re: BBC - Ceefax has posted snooker stories under Boxing and Gymnastics in recent days. I know they've cut back on staff, but this was just silly!

Loki said...

Dave, please be honest to yourself. People would like to read about extraordinary personalities like Jimmy and Ronnie. Ok, recently I've read an interview with Cope. and what? - banal phrases, standard thoughts.... boring.... If you see they are interesting persons, please, don't criticize Ronnie or Jimmy, just try to cook the delicious material about others.

Dave H said...

Please read my post again - at no point did I criticise Ronnie or Jimmy

Demon Potter said...

Dave has hit the nail on the head here – not just in snooker, but in so many other sports all we get shoved down our throats are the big names, eg. Football – Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool & Arsenal, plus David Beckham; Golf – Tiger Woods; Cricket – Pietersen & Flintoff; Tennis: Nadal, Murray & Federer; F1 – Hamilton; and so the list goes on...

It seems newspaper/media editors think the general public at large are not interested in anyone else but the big names – how wrong they are. We're not all Man Utd-supporting sports lovers who are obsessed with Tiger Woods.

Yes, Ronnie is probably the most interesting player on the circuit at present, but that doesn't mean every other player should play second fiddle to him. There are plenty of other characters out there who seem to be constantly pushed into the background.

On principle I interviewed Simon Bedford before the Grand Prix earlier in the season and what a fascinating insight I got into the life of a "lesser light" on the World Snooker Tour, how he has to juggle a 9-5 job while also trying to climb the World Snooker ladder.

Most people on here know who most of the players are, but the occasional viewer who tunes into the Crucible every year will wonder "Rory who?" and "Andrew Higginson? Never heard of him" and I find that a real shame as it is the World Championship of a very popular sport and all 32 players should get their share in the spotlight.

wildJONESEYE said...

Loki

with respect interviews with Jimmy and Ronnie are as boring as it gets because theyve been saying the same thing for years....its Just Recycling whats been said before.

RichP said...

If i'm perfectly honest I don't want to hear stories about Rory Mcleod or Andrew Higginson. It's Ronnie or Jimmy or Stephen Hendry people who have had clout in the game that I want to hear about. They're the ones that will sell the game not Higginson or Bingham, lets be serious right?

Big name brands sell, so I hope the tabloids continue to do what they're doing as that will benefit snooker far more than a dull interview with Mark Selby, whose interview on BBC Radio 2 for the Masters was enough to put anyone off snooker for life!

w said...

what else is there to hear about Jimmy,Ronnie or Stephen ????

i like to watch them play im a hendry fan but i dont want to read about them ive got books after books after books about them...

about time i get to know other players dont you think ??

Anonymous said...

In the defence of the Guardian's Donald McRae, it's worth pointing out that every journalist who went along to the Betfred launch wanted to interview O'Sullivan.
Very few actually managed this. McRae came away with the goods, even if the topics covered in his interview were hardly revelatory.
There are varying accounts but it sounds like Ronnie disappeared rather quickly after the sponsorship announcement and did not hang around for the one-to-ones some journos were promised. Many were miffed.
Put yourself in the position of a sports editor on a national newspaper.
Who do you want in your centre-page spread - Ronnie or Rory Mcleod?
Mcleod might have an interesting story but he ain't going to sell you any papers.
Slap Ronnie on the front page - as the Guardian did when trailing their interview - and your casual snooker fan will pick up a copy, rather than, say, the Times.
Unfortunately it comes down to simple economics.
Want to read about Rory Mcleod (my apologies, I'm just taking a random example)?
Well, I'd suggest you need to read blogs such as this.
The average punter wants to read about Ronnie and his ilk, and in the current climate a sports editor can't justify features on the sport's lesser lights.
Much as it is a shame, don't look to the mainstream media for minority interest stories.

Anonymous said...

im not sure whether to agree with opop....

Jamie

i wasnt arguing with you at all.

you stated your opinion

i stated mine was different

IMO youre thinking theres an arguement about to start because i stated a different opinion. well youre quite clearly wrong. a difference of opinion does not consitute an arguement. it could have started a debate, but it seems thats beyond some people on here as as soon as someone offers an oppposite opinion most get on the defensive right away instead of debating like adults (not a dig at you!)

Monique said...

I very much agree with anon at 1:21AM. It's how economics run and it isn't the players or the journalists fault. I would love to read interesting profiles about the newcomers in particular but that will only happen if WPBSA makes the effort to prepare and broadcast them and maybe facilitate interviews. On one hand the less prominent players are probably not much used to such exposure and may need some support there, on the other hand your average sports journalist is probably no snooker freak (they often cover several sports) and might not even know the guys. As WPBSA has taken a tight hold on what goes to the press it makes things all the more difficult without their collaboration.
Of course we have places like this one and GSC ... but the ones who come here (and there) ... well they know already quite a lot usually.
BTW ... the person getting the most press coverage this year is clearly Michaela Tabb :)

Anonymous said...

Monique said...
BTW ... the person getting the most press coverage this year is clearly Michaela Tabb :)


Whats her highest break?

Is she left-handed or right-handed?

Who did she beat in the qualifiers, or is she top 16?




In which other sport does a referee claim the most press?

Sadly - for some - it does speak volumes as to the state of the game.

Anonymous said...

i think its sadder that one particular player gets most of the limelight because he breaks rules and plays snooker very quickly and is the housewives choice. some dont, but i do.

jamie said...

So many things I could say about this thread. Firstly big names do sell the sport, they have earned the right to more of the limelight, the lesser players deserve less attention until they earn it. Dave does not criticise Ronnie or Jimmy in his post but in response to me mocks Ronnie's interview even though he said it was intresting enough. Also what makes a character to one person may not be the same for another, some people would say Selby is a character, I would not as he is just a normal pleasant chap, where Ronnie is far more complex which makes him more fascinating.

Anonymous said...

...and i completely disagree, so no matter how many times others on here say he "IS" snooker there are a similar number who can see the woods for the trees and state they think differently.

all good

snooker147 said...

Totally agree, Dave.

Monique said...

Last 24h news

Nigel Bond : http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/sport/Snooker-Bond-happy-wait-chance-world-stage/article-905007-detail/article.html

Stephen Hendry : http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/sports-latest/2009/04/16/hendry-the-eighth-can-be-my-title-86908-21281854/

Mark Williams: http://www.sportinglife.com/snooker/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=snooker/09/04/16/SNOOKER_World_Williams.html

Mark Selby: http://www.sportinglife.com/snooker/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=snooker/09/04/15/SNOOKER_World_Selby.html

Peter Ebdon: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport/other-sports/ebdon-confident-of-doing-a-double-14269745.html
http://www.sportinglife.com/snooker/worldchampionships2009/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=snooker/09/04/15/SNOOKER_World_Nightlead.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/snooker/5159306/Peter-Ebdon-eager-to-prove-Ronnie-OSullivan-wrong.html
http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,12243_5192046,00.html
http://www.sportinglife.com/snooker/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=snooker/09/04/15/SNOOKER_World_Nightlead.html
http://www.rte.ie/sport/snooker/2009/0415/ebdonp.html

Ali Carter: http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,12243_5171831,00.html

Ding Junhui : http://www.cctv.com/program/sportsscene/20090415/108132.shtml

Memorable Crucible moments: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-1169978/The-magic-Crucible-A-trip-sports-memory-lane-snookers-World-Championship.html?ITO=1490

Nothing specifically on ROS.

Sooooo ... while it is true that the newcomers and less known players don't get the coverage they should, it's definitely NOT TRUE that all the hype is focussed on Ronnie. It doesn't take much effort (just subscribe to some RSS feed sources) to access to a lot of information about snooker and the players, although there is a lot of rehash/reuse. And again it should be WPBSA role to promote those less known players in collaboration with the media. They are their representatives and they have the data and the contacts.

Anonymous said...

all of those reports and interviews were very refreshing. heard bits of them before but for the most part it wasnt too repetitive, unlike some players.

thanks mon

Monique said...

Actually anon, if you read it every day as I do, you'd soon find out they are as repetitive as any ... at least for household names: Higgins, Hendry, Jimmy notably. There is a limited number of themes those guys want to discuss with the press, and I guess journalists are not always very creative when they prepare their list of questions for interviews.

That's why I appreciate this place. At least Dave takes the opportunity of events to put some of the less known players in the highlights. And I do my bit to relay the information on other forums, including ROS forum.

Monique said...

Jamie Cope : http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/snooker/8000255.stm

Monique said...

Stuart Bingham : Stuart Bingham: http://www.echo-news.co.uk/sport/4294761.It___s_bullseye_for_Bingham_/

Monique said...

Ricky Walden : http://www.chesterchronicle.co.uk/chester-sport/other-sports/2009/04/16/snooker-ricky-walden-ready-for-debut-at-world-championships-at-the-crucible-59067-23394224/

Anonymous said...

Martin Gould: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/snooker/8000833.stm

Anonymous said...

John Higgins: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/scotland/8000824.stm

Anonymous said...

actually mon i do read them every day as you know because you are well aware of who i am ;)

local news on local players is easy to find on the net

national press, as dave said, is embarrasingly focussed on one person out the 32

Anonymous said...

Monique wrote

this

and this

and that

and this

and that

---------------

great mon but that is not the point dave was making, as he has explained to you on his other most recent blog comments page