I’m not quite ready to retire just yet.
The new year is almost upon us and while most of the other snooker websites have been reflecting on the year, I’ve been busy doing other things and consequently haven’t found any time to blog or even to tweet. Much, I’m sure, to the relief of many.
I’m not really even sure what I’m going to write here yet, but it just felt like the right time to return to the blog as we approach 2015. If anyone missed Matt’s awards posts over the Xmas period, shame on you, they are here and here.
In terms of this blog, I am going to break an annual tradition and NOT announce my retirement any time soon. I know this will come as devastating news to those of you who look forward to me doing this every year, but this year I mean it. I am not going to retire the blog just yet.
The reason for this is I suppose threefold, firstly, I will continue to pick and choose events I cover, this is a bit of an advantage of not having a bookmaker tie-in deal, as I have had for the first four years of this blog. It means, very much like the players, I can concentrate on only the events that I am interested in and not every conveyor-belt tournament under the sun.
Secondly, I continue to very much enjoy doing the Snookerbacker Classic and I hope to have some really exciting developments to announce about that in January. The Grand Finals Day is not even half full yet and the line-up already looks incredible, it can only get better.
Finally, I’ll also be working on another snooker-related project for the next few months, it’s already underway and once it’s done I’ll need this place to promote the living daylights out of it.
So that’s me, but what about snooker? This is, after all, the only reason for this blog’s continued existence.
Well, I do think the sport is in good shape for the most part, I was disappointed with the UK format and semi-final changes, I do think that more varied sponsors need to be found, I think the Chinese tournaments, with the exception of the International Championship are all becoming very very similar. I would like the German Masters to be given the status it deserves and the formerly prestigious Welsh Open is basically now just a PTC. But all in all I have enjoyed the year.
The World Championship was great again, despite the disappointing sponsor (come back Betfred) and it’s only a few short months until we are back in Sheffield. I enjoyed the Champion of Champions again, if only for the best Twitter hashtag of the year and the ITV team, the PTC’s are beginning to get their own identities and I like the increased emphasis on Europe and I always enjoy the Masters and the German Masters.
Of course, off the table is always in the spotlight too and the whole Stephen Lee saga came to a close, I do feel that the length of his ban was pretty hard on him and nobody likes to see someone kicked into touch with a young family and not many other options.
Big bounces and kicks are now the hot topic almost every day over on Twitter and it seems ludicrous that World Snooker can’t find a solution to these strange phenomenon. But they are now trialing a breakthrough piece of technology called ‘polish’ which seems to have gone down well with the players, if they’re not careful they’ll soon have to find something new to moan about.
Ali Carter has had quite a year too. Ali has become a friend of mine and I’m ecstatic that he’s beaten this cruel and indiscriminate illness for a second time. All of snooker and indeed everyone else can take heart from both his tale and the positivity he showed throughout the battle, he is a great example of why a positive outlook is essential when facing difficulties, whatever they may be. He’ll still be back to his grumpy old self on the table though soon, you mark my words.
So that’s my reflections on the year and hopes for the new one. I think the amount of snooker now is about right after a far too busy schedule the previous season. The changes to the rankings and what this means for players seems to me to be having the desired effect and all talk of burn-out should now be abated. It’s onwards and upwards for 2015, starting with the Championship League from Crondon Park and followed by The Masters at Alexandra Palace, part of Bazza’s BOGOF deal on the back of the current circus that’s on there.
I’ll sign off with a few brief awards of my own:
Player of the Year: Ronnie O’Sullivan
Match of the Year: Michael Wasley beating Ding at the Crucible. Pure Drama.
Achievement of the Year: Robbo’s century of centuries.
Tournament of the Year: The World Championship.
Amateur Tournament of the Year: Modesty forbids me from revealing this one.
Snooker Website of the Year: Cue Tracker. Incredible achievement and an essential visit for stats.
Snooker Channel of the Year: ITV. More please and BBC take note, your viewers are not all retards, only half of them are.
Rookie of the Year: Oli Lines. Great kid, I taught him all he knows.
Hero of the Year: Ali Carter. An inspiration.
Prick of the Year: The Wizard of Glos and Snooker Bingo on Twitter, can’t split them.