SELBY RIGHT ON CUE FOR FOXES
Mark’s title triumph follows Leicester’s
DIE-HARD Leicester City fan and snooker star Mark Selby is hoping to celebrate the Foxes’ return to the Premier League next season by parading his own World Championship trophy round the King Power Stadium.
While thousands of fans lined Leicester’s streets on Monday to celebrate City’s Championship title-winning heroes, Selby was battling it out on the baize with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.
Selby went on to produce one of the most memorable Crucible fightbacks to beat the Rocket 18-14 in Sheffield, having trailed 8-3 and 10-5.
His against-the-odds victory was in stark contrast to the Foxes exploits this season, they returned to the top flight after a ten-year absence having set a club record for league victories (31) and points collected (102) in a season.
Selby missed the open-top bus parade which started on High Street and continued past Clock Tower – finishing in Town Hall Square where 6,000 fans had gathered to greet the team.
But the 30-year-old has promised to deliver his own lap of honour when Nigel Pearson’s men kick-off their Premier League campaign.
“I missed that open-top bus parade, didn’t I? I could have been driving that. I’ll have to get my own double decker and put them on,” said the Jester from Leicester.
“I’ve got to wait a while now to parade the trophy around the pitch with the season finished, but hope- fully they can do some kind of day where I can take it to the ground and see everybody there, congratulate them and they can congratulate me!
“The manager Nigel Pearson was texting me wishing me all the best during the tournament – the rest of the players were probably too busy getting drunk.
“They probably didn’t even know I’d won until Tuesday!”
Winning the world title was a childhood dream for Selby, who dedicated his maiden win to the memory of his late father, David.
Selby lost his dad to lung cancer when he was just 16 and his dying wish was that his son would one day go on to become world champion.
Selby also paid tribute to Malcolm Thorne, the elder brother of snooker commentator Willie, who also died of cancer in 2011 after helping shape his career.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” added Selby.
“My father passed away from cancer when I was 16 just, two months before I turned professional, and his last words to me were ‘I want you to become world champion’.
“I said to him I will do it one day, it’s just a matter of when not if, and thankfully that day has become. There’ve been a lot of people in my life who have helped me through.
“Malcolm Thorne who is former UK champion Willie Thorne’s brother. My father got me involved in snooker but Malcolm was the one who spotted me and helped me along the way.
“I’m sure he was looking down on me, smiling and watching me lift that trophy and same with my father too.
“To come through and play Ronnie and beat him in the final, it is a dream come true.
“I’ve had some tough opposition, Ali Carter and Neil Robertson, and everybody who I’ve played has been tough. I’m just amazed.
“From 8-3 down Ronnie is one of the best frontrunners in the world, I didn’t purposely try and bog him down but I was not playing well at all. I had my chances and just kept missing.
“Ronnie was taking advantage most of the time but then a couple of times he missed, I just kept digging in and managed to nick a new frames.
“All tournament I felt confident, and I knew that if I got a chance I felt like I was capable of scoring.
“When Ronnie came back to 15-14 and asked me the questions, I probably played my best snooker of the
PARTY TIME: Champions Leicester on their open top bus parade around the city centre
THE BOSS OF THE BAIZE: Mark Selby with his World Snooker Championship trophy