in Belfast in 1949, Alex Higgins was only ten years old when
he began playing in his local snooker hall, "The Jampot".
It was a tough environment in which to learn and provided Alex
will the mental strength and 'bottle' that would stand him in
good stead in his professional career.
a fourteen year old he was apprenticed as a jockey to Eddie
Reavey at Wantage, but due to continued weight increase he was
released. He only had one public ride. Alex had maintained his
snooker ability throughout this period and as a nineteen year
old won the Northern Ireland Amateur Championship and almost
single-handed took Belfast YMCA to the British amateur team
title. These successes catapulted him into the public awareness
and soon after Alex turned professional.
then decided to leave his native Ireland and move to England
to make an impact on the professional game here. He arrived
in the North West
of England and soon developed a reputation for fabulous attacking
snooker, playing in money matches, competitions and exhibitions.
after in his first attempt at the World Championships in 1972,
Alex won his first World Professional Snooker championship.
He was 23 years of age.
to the flamboyant nature of his play and his off the table exploits
Alex soon became the most popular and highest profile professional
player in the game. The "peoples champion" as he became
universally known, attracted media attention wherever he went.
His every move was scrutinised and his many indiscretions with
gambling, women and drink made tabloid headlines. His fights
with the snooker establishment were also well documented, with
Alex punished with fines and bans for a myriad of offences.
the course of the following decade, Alex would remain the game's
biggest box office attraction. He featured in many great snooker
matches, won many trophies, had major disappointment and personal
sadness, but also featured in many of snooker most memorable
was a snooker genius, a genuine star who helped make snooker
what it is today.
two world championship victories remain the highlight of his
snooker career. He won many other competitions including the
Benson and Hedges Masters twice, lost in numerous finals and
semi-finals and was Irish Championship from 1972 until 1980.
was also responsible for arguably one of the greatest clearances
ever witnessed. Trailing by two frames to Jimmy White in the
Alex produced what is widely recognised as the greatest clearance
in the history of the championship. After winning the final
18-15 against Ray Reardon, after clearing with a century, Alex
then lost by the odd frame to Griffiths whilst attempting to
complete the World / UK Championship double in that year.
was the following season when Alex won his next major final,
recovering from 7-0 down to win 16-15 in the 1983 Coral UK final.
This avenged his earlier 16-6 defeat to Davis in the 1980 UK
successes followed in the 1984-85 season with Alex reaching
the Coral UK and Benson and Hedges Irish Masters, whilst winning
the Hofmeister World Doubles and the Guinness World Cup for
provided a roller coaster ride for his legion of fans throughout
the duration of his career as a professional. He provided snooker
with huge publicity and an anti-hero figure the general public
could identify with.
remains the most famous player the game has ever seen.