It is interesting to note that 2001 is the
20th anniversary of Steve Davis winning his first World Snooker
title at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield.
This means that his two book autobiography is
virtually 20 years old as well, these books are worth reading as they capture
moments in time that are long gone now and allow us access to the thought
processes that contributed to them.
These books are considered by many to be
virtually worthless in a collecting sense and yet I enjoy reading them. These
books jog my memory about matches that I have watched and about events that at
times I almost felt a part of such as Dennis Taylor and Steve Daviss epic
1985 Crucible final that is well documented in Denniss own book, Frame by
Ray Reardons life story is recounted in a
book, as is Terry Griffiths, these two players are interesting for a variety of
reasons, not least because unlike most of todays top players, they had
other jobs before being able to make a living from Snooker.
Ray was a Police office and a miner and Terry
sold insurance, worked on the buses and in the mines as well.
What comes across in their books is the love
they both had for the game of Snooker and their realisation that they were
privileged to be able to make a good living from doing something that they
enjoyed so much, along with their strong work ethic.
I remember when Stephen Hendrys book came
out in 1990, many critics said "what has he got to write about, hes only
22". Stephens first book is worth reading alongside Ray Reardons
for example because of the contrast in lifestyles if nothing else the two eras
are massively different.
Stephen Hendry has achieved so much in the game
that I feel a second book is long overdue and would be interesting reading.
His instruction book, "Stephen Hendry Snooker
Masterclass" is an excellent work on the theory and practical skills of the
game, yet an insight into how he stayed at the top for so long and what effect
chasing Steve Davis records has had on his career.
Another players book that is well worth
reading is Cliff Thorburns book "Playing for keeps". This book reveals
some very deep and personal insights into a man that, to many television
viewers seemed slow, methodical and boring. To me it is surprising that more
people dont see that, it is contrast that allows a game of Snooker to
grab the full attention of the viewers. Dividing the audience and encapsulates
additional drama and excitement due to the different styles employed. Think of
the battles between Steve Davis and Alex Higgins if you doubt my assertion, how
many people do you know that were neutral when their matches were in
Cliffs book is a welcome addition to my
collection and after reading it I can remember wanting him to win and succeed
more than ever.
Cliff was and still is I feel sure much more
than a Snooker player and yet, this is what he is known for and I suppose what
he will go down in history for.
Like Peter Ebdon, Cliff Thorburn was I feel
playing for his life and the lifestyles of his family and I suspect that he
felt a sense of putting his reputation on the line, every time he took his cue
out in front of an audience. I had nothing of this insight before reading his
Looking back to the players of many more years
ago, I am disappointed that such players as Willie Smith and Tom Newman did not
put pen to paper concerning the events that led them to their chosen
profession. I understand a book exists written about the life of Walter Lindrum
and of course the autobiographies of Joe and Fred Davis have been recorded,
more fully in Joes case of course.
Fred Davis "Talking Snooker" reveals quite a lot
about the championship and exhibition circuit of the period that he was
competing and is at times amusing and fascinating.
Fred talks with great respect about his fellow
players of the time John Pullman, Walter Donaldson and Rex Williams and of
course his brother Joe. His book is a good record of the times when Snooker was
in decline due to the popularity of Television and reflects on the irony of the
Pot Black programme revitalising the game that Television nearly saw off
John Parrott co wrote a book
after winning the World Snooker Championship in 1991; this book is littered
with amusing stories about life on the circuit and fresh perspectives on the
events that shaped Johns career. I particularly enjoyed Johns
comments concerning his views of the other top players at the time.
John displayed great loyalty to
his friend and personal manager Phil Miller, at around this time. I remember
that to me this incident proved that John has a deeper side that is highly
principled and a character that is strong enough to be a winner and a
long-standing ambassador for his chosen sport.
Some of the young players of
this era, in the clubs will not remember even John Parrotts win of ten
years ago, so this book will be a revelation to them should they be able tom
obtain a copy.
Most of the above mentioned
books seem new to me as I have been collecting books since 1986, which is at
the time of writing 15 years ago. I feel that many people may even now just be
starting a collection and unaware of what has gone before. These little
articles are designed to give these collectors encouragement to seek out these
hidden little "treasures".