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Shaun Murphy in Sheffield's Winter Garden
Shaun Murphy in the Winter Garden

Shaun Murphy Interview

by Seth Bennett
What's it like to wake up as Snooker World Champion? Rotherham's Shaun Murphy tells us why he'll be buying a bigger mantelpiece for the trophy he won as a 150-1 outsider at the age of just 22.

Shaun Murphy with the World Snooker trophy
Shaun can't believe he can take the trophy home!

Three weeks is a long time at The Crucible.  Rotherham-based Shaun Murphy earned the right to compete in Sheffield  in qualifying rounds at Pontins, Prestatyn, and stepped up to the table as a 150-1 outsider.

When he beat Matthew Stevens 18-16 in the closely fought World Snooker final in on May 2nd, he became the first "qualifier" to do so since Terry Griffiths pulled off the feat in 1979.

The former World Snooker Newcomer of the Year moved to Whiston in South Yorkshire just six months ago, to live with his fiancee Clare Llewellyn. Now he is a local celebrity and a contender for the title of Rotherham's favourite adopted son.

BBC Radio Sheffield's Seth Bennett caught up with a shellshocked Shaun to find out whether his victory had sunk in.

Shaun Murphy: The first thing that's astounded me is I can't believe I've been allowed to take home the real World Championship trophy. I mean this thing has got Joe Davis' name on it, it's from 1927 and I got up this morning and there she was sitting in the middle of the lounge floor. I can't believe it.

Do you just keep picking it up and looking at it, re-reading the names time after time?

" I'm just a 22-year-old lad who loves to do everything that 22-year-olds love to do. "
Shaun Murphy

Yeah, I'm gonna sit down later with a cup of tea and read all the names that are on
this trophy. Y'know, very soon my name is going to etched onto it and will be there

What does it mean? When do you realise what it means?

I haven't realised what it means yet and I don't know how long it's going to take me, but I'm sure I will do. As for what else it means, I'm sure it's the epitome of our sport.

It's like the Open Championship at golf and Wimbledon for tennis, is the epitome. I've got other hopes and dreams that I want to fulfil, this is certainly one of them. I didn't expect to fulfil it at 22. Driving home in the car last night, I said to Claire "I've done it" and that was the level of realisation I had last night. I couldn't believe it.

Were there a few moments of stunned silence then?

It's been mostly stunned silence. We came here last night for the after-party and everyone was coming up with congratulations and stuff like that. It's just a bit of a whirlwind really and, er, I just wouldn't mind getting away from it all really to be honest. I'm going to go and plonk myself on a golf course somewhere. I'm going to take a tent and hide out somewhere...

Have you been able to deal with all this? You've come from relatively nowhere, I know when we sat down and talked just over a week ago, it was just you and I. No one was coming over and bothering you and all of a sudden you've got the focus of Britain's media, you've got photographers telling you to pose like this, camaramen telling you to walk there. How do you deal with that yourself?

I'm quite easygoing anyway and  I like to think I'm quite amenable to people. I think the media is very important because I think dealt with in the right way, it can be very handy. I don't think there's anything wrong with being polite to people. It takes an extra second to be nice to somebody and y'know if I'm too big for my boots to say yes, or no or please or thank you to somebody then  I need to be taken down a peg or two.

Shaun Murphy during the World Snooker final
Shaun demonstrates his composure during the final.

I make it my job to try to do every interview, to see everyone who wants to say hello and it's down to you guys and everyone else that kind of helps to get the recognition for sporting people that are there.

We've talked about you being the local lad and the fact that you really enjoyed that. Were you surprised with the way people took to you and that when you walked out there was the "Go on Shaun. Go on Shaun."

Yeah absolutely, you know we had so many friends and family in the audience. But there were so many neutrals who were on my side, y'know I think they started following me in the early rounds and by the finals the roof lifted off. It was quite overwhelming at some stages and I'm hoping that this success will help my Yorkshire "Green Card" come through quicker. [laughs]

Well if you need someone to counter-sign the application, just let me know. How do you think your life's going to change? All of a sudden you're a face that's recognised.

I just think it's one of those things that comes with it. I'm looking forward to the challenge of coping with that and y'know it's something that I'd rather have that challenge of facing than not facing to be honest with you. But I might be world champion of the snooker world but I am just Shaun Murphy at the end of the day and I get up every day and do what I love doing. I'm very fortunate where that's concerned.

But I'm just a 22-year-old lad who loves to do everything that 22-year-olds love to do. Clare and I, we've got our life together and life does go on. Slightly differently now, but pretty much the same as before.

Have you got anywhere to put this?

No. We need to buy a bigger mantelpiece. First thing Clare said was "Doesn't go with the house." [laughs]

What do you do with something like this, do you just have it at home?

I've got a secure box for it but it looks a lot nicer out of the box, so I'm going to keep it out for a long time. Like I say, I'm surprised that I was actually allowed to take the real one. I did want to take it but I didn't think I was going to be allowed to and I don't know how long I'll be allowed to keep it for. But whilst I've got it, I'll be looking at it.

Have you got a message for those that have followed you over the last three weeks and maybe what they can expect from you for the future?

I've got a message of thanks for those that have followed me. Everyone who bought a ticket, everyone who turned on the TV and watched and supported, be they armchair supporters or whatever. Just thank you very much for their support and I hope more comes my way. I'll do everything I can to have a great season next season after four or five weeks off. I'll be back at the table working hard and I hope this is the first success of many.

last updated: 04/05/05
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