It’s not often that snooker legend John Higgins agrees to play an exhibition match.
But local fans are in for a treat with the Wizard of Wishaw set to take centre stage at a charity event in Dundee.
John will be at the Tivoli Snooker Club in Bonnybank Road on September 2 and has spoken exclusively to the Tele ahead of his appearance.
The 42-year-old said: “I was asked through a mutual friend of the club owners and was happy to help. I know they had Jimmy White and Steve Davis up and it went well.
“I don’t do a lot of exhibitions. The way the snooker calendar is just now, there are tournaments across the world so you’re travelling a lot.
“The schedule can be quite hectic so if you’re flying back from China, then being asked to drive a few hours for an exhibition, it doesn’t always seem very appealing. I’m more likely to do an exhibition if it’s on while I’m in the area for a tournament. But for this one, it’s only an hour and a half up the road from Wishaw, so it’s fine.
“You’re obviously happy to do what you can for charity.”
John, who was crowned world champion in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011, said next month’s event will be the first time he has played snooker in Dundee.
He said: “I’ve never actually been up to play an exhibition so I’m looking forward to it. A lot of the snooker boys — people such as Jimmy White, John Parrot and Steve Davis — probably play more exhibitions in Scotland than I do, even though I live here. They maybe have better patter and a better routine than me! I might need to work on that. I’m not really a trick shot type of guy either but I’m sure I can try my best to entertain the crowd.”
John said he knows Dundee quite well, having been a regular at Tannadice and Dens Park.
He said: “I used to follow Celtic home and away so I was up a few times a year. The last time was in 2008 when Celtic won the title at Tannadice on the last day of the season. I’ve got a few pals in Lochee who I met through supporting Celtic. We would go for a few pints before the game, get the bus to the match, maybe have a pint afterwards and then back to Wishaw.
“I never got any hassle here. People often ask how I get on being in the public eye for so many years but to be honest I’ve always been pretty well-received. Most people realise I’m a down-to-earth, working class guy and folk just tend to wish you well. That was the response I always got coming up to Dundee.”
Discussing the exhibition, John said: “The plan is I’ll play a few of the local guys, then we’ll have a raffle and a bit of a question and answer session. I’ll be bringing up a signed waistcoat I wore in the World Cup last month, so I think that will be auctioned off.
“Unfortunately, myself and Anthony McGill didn’t make it out of the group stages. I did win the World Cup in 1996 when I played with Stephen Hendry and Alan McManus and that’s still a career highlight for me, winning for my country with two greats of the game.
“Stephen Hendry, along with Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan, are the three greatest players I’ve ever faced.”
John also said he was interested in seeing the changing face of Dundee and the Waterfront investment.
He said: “It’s good to hear there’s that type of investment going on in the city.
“You see that when you travel about the UK. You play somewhere, then return a few years later and it’s changed.”
Jim Carroll, owner of the Tivoli Snooker Club, said: “We haven’t yet decided which charity will benefit but we like to keep it as local as we can.
“With John not playing many exhibitions, this is a big coup for us.”
Tickets are still available by calling 01382 221 965 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.