World Snooker 2016: Changing fashions at the Crucible Theatre

By Phil CartwrightBBC Sport
Snooker world champions in pictures
2016 World Snooker Championship
Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 16 April - 2 May
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport app, Connected TVs and online.

The 2016 World Championship final between Mark Selby and Ding Junhui, which begins on Sunday, will be the 40th to be played at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre - snooker's most iconic venue.

The sport has changed a lot since 1977 - the game itself, its characters, and its fashion.

Snooker got its big break during the 1970s and 1980s, with the advent of colour television and increased media exposure boosting its popularity, and making superstars of the era's leading players.

iWonder: Why did snooker get its big break in the 80s?

Bill Werbeniuk
It was not strange to see players drinking lager, just like Bill Werbeniuk pictured above
Alex Higgins
Or smoking cigarettes, like Alex Higgins, in between visits to the table
Tony Knowles
Tony Knowles was one of snooker's pin-ups during the 1980s, often dressing to impress at the Crucible
Dennis Taylor
About 18.5m viewers watched Dennis Taylor, spectacles and all, beat Steve Davis in the famous "Black Ball Final" of 1985
Steve Davis
Davis, who retired from snooker at the start of the 2016 event, won six world titles between 1981 and 1989. His quiet, focused approach and relaxed demeanour resulted in the writers of puppet-based satire show Spitting Image giving him the nickname "Interesting". Even when he swayed away from the traditional snooker player's attire - white shirt and black waistcoat - he plumped for a sedate combination of brown and beige. Interesting? Anything but
Joe Johnson
It wasn't just the players guilty of some fashion faux pas. Thoughts on this yellow dress worn by Joe Johnson's wife, Terryll, when outsider Johnson won his only world title in 1986?

Into the 1990s, when the prize every snooker fan wanted was a John Virgo waistcoat.

John Virgo on Big Break
Virgo presented the BBC's snooker-themed quiz Big Break alongside Jim Davidson, with guests winning a snazzy waistcoat if they successfully completed his trick shot
John Virgo
Virgo, a former UK champion and a member of the BBC's commentary team, remains a popular figure among snooker fans

While Big Break entertained millions of television viewers on Saturday evenings, Stephen Hendry became the sport's dominant force and many of snooker's colourful characters from the 1980s drifted out of the game's elite.

Dominic Dale
Welsh potter Dominic Dale sported this colourful combination of red and white at the Crucible in 1999
Dominic Dale
And he returned in 2000 wearing yellow. He failed to qualify in 2001, when surely green would have been his colour of choice?
Barry Pinches
Not to be outdone, Barry Pinches often wore a green and yellow waistcoat in Sheffield - the colours of his hometown football club, Norwich City

One snooker star has shone brighter than most since the turn of the century - Ronnie O'Sullivan. While his choice of playing attire has rarely changed, his hair certainly has.

Ronnie O'Sullivan
O'Sullivan, seen here in 1995, won his first world title at the Crucible in 2001
Ronnie O'Sullivan
His second title in 2004 came while wearing a hairband
Ronnie O'Sullivan
Now a five-time world champion, O'Sullivan - who was beaten by Barry Hawkins in the last 16 of this year's event - prefers a neater style up top

And it is not just "The Rocket" who has experimented with his hairstyle over the years.

Matthew Stevens
Proud Welshman Matthew Stevens added red highlights to his hair for the 2005 final, which he lost to Shaun Murphy
Judd Trump
While a fresh-faced Judd Trump arrived at the Crucible for the first time in 2007 with a haircut more likely to be seen in a boy-band than on the green baize

The snooker fashion parade has even continued during this year's championship, with Alan McManus sporting a tartan trouser and waistcoat combination during his semi-final against Ding Junhui.

Alan McManus
You would never guess that McManus, making his first World Championship semi-final appearance since 1993, was Scottish judging from his outfit

Snooker is now a global sport, with ranking events staged all over the world and players competing for huge prizes - the winner of the 2016 World Championship will take home £330,000.

The game appears to be as popular as it ever has been - and there is still room for the fashion-conscious to strut their stuff.

Judd Trump
Super shoes sign off our look at snooker fashions through the ages - first, these from world number five Trump
Dominic Dale
And finally this snazzy pair from Dale

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