More Alex Higgins

Further to Eamonn’s tribute to Alex Higgins, David Gordon has posted this video on Facebook and I thought it deserved a wider airing here. On a weekend when so many people – bafflingly – are glued to the awful pointlessness of Formula One, this is a reminder of what a decent spectator sport looks like, thickly overlaid as it is with the emotional highs and lows that always accompanied watching Alex at his peak.

Unusually for a frame of snooker, I remember this one vividly – the long black and red and the audacious stab at the blue.

Tell me you didn’t jump up at the end of that clip even though you knew the outcome already?

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  • Rory Carr

    Terrific, Paul.

    Forget all about the carping of his undoubted human failings, which we all share to one degree or the other. Pious condemnation of his drinking, smoking, gambling and treatment of others is not for us to utter. It is left to those affected, his private circle, those nearest and dearest who might have been hurt in the turmoil to forgive or not as they are able. But it is sheer hypocrisy for those of us who were not affected, who had no personal relationship with the man, to do other than hauld our wisht on these matters upon which we can only speculate with Pharisiacal prurience.

    It is left to us, his public audience, to marvel and give thanks for the great pleasure he afforded us in the public demonstration of his undoubted talent.

    May he find peace at last.

  • iluvni

    Sheer class.

  • After all these years no one does it better, still magic.

  • Charminator

    A class act, no doubt about it. Closest thing yet to him is Ronnie O’Sullivan, but there’ll never be another.
    Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

  • Nunoftheabove

    The best of times, the worst of times. No half measures, babes. Electricity in a Louis Copeland waistcoat.

    Thanks for the memories, Hurricane.

  • @Rory – all of that stuff has had plenty of airings here and elsewhere. For another time and another place maybe, but I think that it’s important that everyone sometimes gets a bit of space to have their good points considered and acknowledged.

    The thing about Alex Higgins was the attractive swagger about his play. This clip captures both the nervy and flawed edginess around him and the audacity and commitment that he was able to draw upon. Some of his positional play is less-than-perfect here. He gets himself into a few spots and then has to get out of them with great leaps.

    @NotA: “Electricity in a Louis Copeland waistcoat.” That’s him, isn’t it?

  • Ryan

    It really defines someone’s age if one can remember the joke
    ” SAS goes through more embassies than Hurrican Higgins”

    an iconic mark in our mis-spent youth

  • Mick Fealty

    Tom Humphries spans the bridge between contempt (him and his grandad hated what Alex did to the genteel old guard of snooker) admiration, but he gives the story a cracking ending:

    “There was a lesson which he seemed to learn late but clearly that being a people’s champion didn’t guarantee you the warmth of the people when they turned away from you. He seemed to be cripplingly lonely in his late years, he spoke of suicide and ended up hustling for few quid in the bars and clubs of Belfast. There was a certain horrible irony in the man who drank so much being unable to consume solids in his latter years, the man whom the people claimed to love seemingly lying dead for a few days in his Belfast flat before his absence from this earth was noticed. The man whose mouth brought him so much trouble was reducing in the end to a whispering skeleton.

    “You couldn’t write a more bitter or more sad end to a story of wasted talent and misbegotten fame. Like Best but with less obvious charm Higgins seemed to be a warning against getting what you wish for. Sometimes it will kill you.

    “He changed snooker and made it theatre. Hating him was the flipside of loving him but he was never less than compulsive viewing. In the wake of Ali and in the wake of Best the arenas they graced have always seemed a little bland, a little bit too sickeningly perfumed by posturers who see controversy as a cynical career move. So it shall be with Alex Higgins. The rise in popularity of snooker which he sparked drew in a new generation of pencil waisted, etiolated youngsters who play the percentages. And the last, fleeting irony is that the game is more bland and characterless now than ever it was in the Pot Black days.

    “Love him or hate him you would love to see him scourge some of the grey accountants of the baize who have inherited his kingdom.”