Clive Everton at the mic
Clive Everton returns to the commentary box
After breaking his hip during the first day of the World Snooker final, the veteran commentator is ready to return. But he also has a new book out, 'Black Farce and Cue Ball Wizards', which criticises the way snooker has been run.
When the BBC snooker commentator Clive Everton had a fall in April, the timing couldn't have been worse. He was in the middle of commentating on the World Snooker Final and knew immediately that he'd miss his 509th consecutive day at The Crucible.
But he's fit and ready to go once again, with a new book out. Listen to Andy Stevenson's interview with Clive Everton by clicking the link below, or read extracts below.
How's the hip?
"It's coming along nicely. My physio says it's the best recovery he's seen in his 35 years in practice and I'm now the proud possessor of a titanium hip."
You new book, Black Farce and Cue Ball Wizards, is out now. A labour of love I assume?
"Well, snooker has been a labour of love for me. I've been involved in one way or another since I was 14.
But the serious aim of the book is to underline the way snooker has wasted the golden future promised in its heyday as a television phenomenon in the 80's.
In the last 25 years, a succession of administrations have wasted at least some of the game's potential."
What in particular do you feel has gone wrong?
"The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association has wasted money on a lot of things, has been riven by internal strife and made a lot of wrong decisions.
They did not prepare for the loss of tobacco sponsorship and have quite a bit to answer for."
Can Ding Junhui dethrone O'Sullivan?
Do you feel the actual game is as healthy as ever?
"The future of the sport on the table is actually fine because the standard of junior play now is higher than it's ever been, and snooker is taking hold overseas. Their standard is improving all the time too."
What do you make of the current stars like Ronnie O'Sullivan?
"O'Sullivan is the greatest genius the game's ever seen. He has of course had a lot to contend with, but he has allowed his depression to lull him into some fairly bad behaviour at times.
There are a few instances where the modern players don't behave as they should, but on the other hand, players like Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White all behave impeccably."
How did you get into commentary?
"I always wanted to be a snooker commentator ever since I first heard the sport on television in the 1950's.
I did an audition at Thames TV and was appointed there. A few years later, in 1978, I started at the BBC."
Do you feel the BBC gets the balance right in terms of talking too much during frames? You have a large number of ex-pros with you in the commentary box now...
"There's something to be said for having a lead commentator and a distinguished ex-player as a summariser. We have a great many more statistical aids these days giving us all sorts of information.
There's no doubt that styles have changed. There was certainly a lot more silence in those days. But we are encouraged to talk when there's something to say.
There are times when it gets too much, but I think the BBC teams get it not too far from right."
Do you feel the British grip on snooker is eroding?
"Well that's not only the way it's going but also the way it should go.
We need the big titles to be won by some of the international players, to underline the fact that snooker is a global sport."
Is snooker a sport though, and not a game?
"Of course it is. If archery and shooting are sports, then so are snooker, darts and bowls."
last updated: 19/09/07
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