The World Snooker Championship gets underway on Friday, with the great and good from the world of snooker descending upon the Crucible in Sheffield for 16 days of action.
But snooker and football are never too far away from one another. Fan Brian Wright has risen to cult fame for wearing a Coventry City shirt every year at the World Snooker Championship since 1989 – before football kits were banned from the tournament in 2018.
And it’s not just the crowd that are fans of both snooker and the beautiful game, with numerous players also harbouring a love for a British football team.
The Jester from Leicester is Foxes through and through. Selby has enjoyed remarkable success symmetry with his boyhood club, winning the World Snooker Championship for the first time in 2014 as Leicester won the Championship – and he shared the team’s open top bus tour around the town.
In 2016, he famously won the World Snooker Championship for a second time on the same night that Leicester were crowned Premier League champions.
“I’m not sure what’s more of a shock, me winning it twice, or Leicester winning the Premier League,” Selby said at the time [via the Telegraph].
Ronnie O’Sullivan is one of sport’s great, enigmatic personalities. From his unconventional upbringing to taking a break to work from snooker in 2013 on a pig farm, he is a complex, mysterious and fascinating figure.
In contrast, his football team of choice is pretty route one. The world number six is an Arsenal fan, and he even had a trial with rivals Tottenham in his youth – although he didn’t turn up for three weeks because he was too busy playing snooker.
O’Sullivan has featured in the charity showcase SoccerAid match in 2006 and was a deployed as a right winger. On his footballing ability, O’Sullivan said: “I’m ok when I’ve got the ball, but I don’t go looking for it or like tackling.”
Australian Neil Robertson doesn’t quite support his local team. The world number two is a Chelsea fan, and is even friends with Blues legend John Terry.
After winning the 2015 UK Championship, he was invited into the Stamford Bridge dressing room the following week to celebrate with the team after their Champions League victory over Porto.
Robertson even revealed that Terry texted him midway through the final against Liang Wenbo urging him to ‘stay focussed’.
Scotland’s John Higgins is a huge Celtic fan, and celebrated his 1998 World Snooker Championship win by parading his trophy round Celtic Park on the day his boyhood club won the league and stopped Rangers winning an unprecedented 10 league titles in a row.
And when he can’t be there to witness it first hand, Higgins has been partial to watching his side win the league mid-game at the World Snooker Championship.
The world number five also has an English side, and follows Everton. It’s a classic combination.
The world number 10 and reigning Welsh Open champion is a Manchester United fan – and struck up an unlikely friendship with former United winger Adnan Januzaj.
The Belgian international was one of the first to congratulate Murphy after he won at the Crucible back in 2015.
Murphy is such a big football fan he got completely enraged by players diving that he went on an incredibly passionate and long-winded rant about it.
“Generally, it is pathetic and it is unfortunate that every kid wants to be a Premier League footballer and is influenced by what they do,” he concluded.
Our second Scottish entry unfortunately hasn’t been able to even out snooker’s Old Firm allegiance. World number nine Stephen Maguire is a supported of second tier side Partick Thistle.
Maguire has won more major honours (six) in his 22-year career than Partick have won in their 144-year history (two).