Following his epic Crucible triumph, Stuart Bingham has agreed to tell us all about his year as World Champion on here. Our first chat was obviously very focused on the past couple of months and how this is all panning out for him.
So Ballrun, has it all sunk in yet?
Yes and no SB, I’ve been taking the trophy everywhere with me, doing lots of interviews that I’d never have done before, getting recognised in the street a lot more which is all a bit surreal. I think it will really sink in when I get to venues and get introduced as World Champion.
I saw you on the Clare Balding Show say that you were watching it back every day, are you still doing that?
Well I would be SB but my Sky Plus has packed up hasn’t it? I’ve only gone and lost all the things I taped.
Oh come on Ballrun, with all that cash you’ve got now you can get that sorted surely?
I dunno SB, my mum and dad have got it all taped and they’ve put it on a disk for me, there’s always You Tube too.
A bit careless Ballrun?
Probably SB yes.
So come on, tell me, did you ever expect to be World Champion?
Well, I wouldn’t say expect, but when you turn professional you dream of being world champion and world number one. But when you look at the names on the trophy, the likes of O’Sullivan, Higgins and Williams you sometimes think ‘it’s just too hard’, but I suppose I kept the faith, got a bit of confidence from other wins and just said to myself that all I had to do was play well for two weeks and I could win it and that is kind of what happened really.
So how have things changed for you? I know you keep saying you won’t change but surely your life has changed a bit?
I haven’t spent any of the money yet. I’m going to see what happens over the next 6 months to a year and see what comes in from sponsorship deals and things like that so I suppose then things will change a bit but right now I’m down at the club with The MO’D (Martin O’Donnell) putting in a few hours getting ready for the World Cup, so no change there really.
So what’s the nicest thing about being World Champion then?
I’ll tell you what SB, I’ve had a few decent freebies.
Freebies? I love all that Ballrun, come on then spill the beans.
Well I’ve had a few invites to golf things from Barry Hearn up in Loch Lomond, really enjoyed those.
You’ve joined the Dark Side Ballrun? Part of the Bazza mafia?
No no, SB, just part of the fun. I’ve been invited to Wimbledon by Martina Navratilova.
Blimey, you are mixing with the stars Ballrun. Anything that might connect with us lesser mortals?
I took the Mrs’ car in to the local Vauxhall garage to get fixed and the bloke said he’d do it for nothing as a congratulations.
Nom Nom Nom
Money goes to money Ballrun, that’s what my mum always says….
And, I got free fish and chips from the local chip shop.
How the other half live eh? And you say your life hasn’t changed? Are you having me on or what?
I know I know, but that’s all history now SB, I’ve just joined the gym to lose a bit of weight so the free fish and chips are a thing of the past. Sadly.
I believe you Ballrun, thousands wouldn’t. Now then, I have to mention the C-Word.
I thought this was a clean blog SB?
No not that one. I mean The Curse. Are you the man to break this legendary snooker law?
Well, I hope so. It’s just an honour to have the chance to do it. I’m just going to see how the season pans out and try not to upset the snooker gods too much to give myself a fighting chance.
So have you got any goals for the season then?
I just hope I can win a couple of tournaments. I remember when I won in Australia the year after wasn’t great for me because I expected too much of myself. But now I’m a little bit older and wiser I hope I’ll deal with it better. I know that sometimes new world champions have poor following seasons so I just hope I don’t follow that path. I’ll continue to practice hard. My dream goal if you like is to capitalise on winning the World and get to Number 1 in the rankings, but I’ll just take things as they come and try not to worry too much about it and enjoy the year ahead.
Right, a couple of questions from the land of Twitter. Andy wants to know if you’ve got any tips for coping with all the travel? The tour is quite demanding these days and you seem to cope well with it playing in everything.
I’ve tried everything really SB, keeping to UK time, reverting to Chinese time and all that. But I think the best thing to do is just sleep when you feel you need to and not worry about what time it is. Sometimes I’ve played matches after around 3 hours sleep and played my best snooker because I’m so tired that’s all I focus on. Then other times, especially in China the way the crowd move around and their phones going off all the time, you get a bit irritable with them and lose your focus.
You feel like decking them you mean?
In a nutshell SB, yeah.
Ron wants to know if you think it’s fair people comparing your Crucible win with Joe Johnson?
All I’ll say is that Joe didn’t beat the likes of Graeme Dott, Ronnie, Judd and Shaun to win his. I think he was 150/1 to win and I was about 50/1, so there’s not a lot similar there really to me.
Yes, I agree there. Nobody would have backed Joe with a free bet but your win wasn’t as unexpected as that to those who know the game. Someone wants to know what your favourite cheese is, I think this is where the conversation takes a turn for the worse.
When you say cheese to have a photo done with a big silver trophy with ribbons on it and a massive cheque in your pocket.
There is another question from someone called Mark in Cwm who says he knows you but I’m not going to ask you that one.
Probably wise SB.
So, you’re off to the World Cup this week, looking forward to it?
Yes, it should be a good event as it’s a bit different from normal. The format is a bit of a lottery with one frame here and there and Scotch doubles, I think I’ll be putting Selby in a few positions he’s not used to so we’ll see what happens.
Do you two get on then? It would be a bit of a problem if you didn’t wouldn’t it?
Yeah it would, but luckily we do get on and so do our wives so it’s all good.
Well good luck with that, at least you’ll have a good time. Thanks for your time and if you ever need to offload any of that dosh I’d be happy to take some off your hands no problem.
I’ll let you know on that SB, see you next time.
Bingo Calling returns next month.