SELBY RIGHT ON CUE FOR FOXES

Mark’s ti­tle tri­umph fol­lows Le­ices­ter’s

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Chris Bai­ley

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.

Prom­ise

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.

Amazed

“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

tour­na­ment.”

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

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