35 Facts About Alex Higgins


Alexander Gordon Higgins was a Northern Irish professional snooker player who is remembered as one of the most iconic figures in the game.

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Alex Higgins became the first qualifier to win the world title in 1972, a feat only two players have achieved since – Terry Griffiths in 1979 and Shaun Murphy in 2005.

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Alex Higgins won the UK Championship in 1983 and the Masters in 1978 and 1981, making him one of eleven players to have completed snooker's Triple Crown.

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Alex Higgins was World Doubles champion with Jimmy White in 1984, and won the World Cup three times with the All-Ireland team.

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Alex Higgins came to be known as the "People's Champion" because of his popularity, and is often credited with having brought the game of snooker to a wider audience, contributing to its peak in popularity in the 1980s.

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Alex Higgins had a reputation as an unpredictable and difficult character.

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Alex Higgins was a heavy smoker, struggled with drinking and gambling, and admitted to using cocaine and marijuana.

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Alex Higgins started playing snooker at the age of 11, often in the Jampot club in his native Sandy Row area of south Belfast and later in the YMCA in the nearby city centre.

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Alex Higgins returned to Belfast and by 1965, aged 16, he had compiled his first maximum break.

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Alex Higgins was the youngest-ever winner of the title, a record he held until Stephen Hendry's 1990 victory at the age of 21.

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Alex Higgins won the Masters twice, in 1978 and in 1981, beating Cliff Thorburn and Terry Griffiths in the finals respectively.

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Alex Higgins made appearances in the 2005 and 2006 Irish Professional Championship, these comebacks ending in first-round defeats by Garry Hardiman and Joe Delaney, respectively.

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On 12 June 2007, it was reported that Alex Higgins had assaulted a referee at a charity match in the north-east of England.

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Alex Higgins continued to play fairly regularly, and enjoyed "hustling" all comers for small-time stakes in clubs in Northern Ireland and beyond; in May 2009 he entered the Northern Ireland Amateur Championship, "to give it a crack", but failed to appear for his match.

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On 8 April 2010, Alex Higgins was part of the debut Snooker Legends Tour event in Sheffield, at the Crucible.

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Unorthodox play of Alex Higgins was encapsulated in his break of 69, made under extreme pressure, against Jimmy White in the penultimate frame of their World Professional Snooker Championship semi-final in 1982.

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In particular, former world champion Dennis Taylor considers a three-quarter-ball pot on a blue into the green pocket especially memorable, not only for its extreme degree of difficulty but for enabling Alex Higgins to continue the break and keep White off the table and unable to clinch victory at that moment.

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Alex Higgins went a little too far for ideal position on his next red but the match-saving break was still alive.

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Alex Higgins drank alcohol and smoked during tournaments, as did many of his contemporaries.

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At the time of his 1972 triumph at the World Championship, Alex Higgins had no permanent home and by his own account had recently lived in a row of abandoned houses in Blackburn which were awaiting demolition.

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Alex Higgins had a long and enduring friendship with Oliver Reed.

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Alex Higgins was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1981 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the Pot Black Club in London.

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In 1983 Alex Higgins helped a young boy from Manchester, a fan of his who had been in a coma for two months.

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Alex Higgins's parents were growing desperate and wrote to Higgins.

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Alex Higgins recorded messages on tape and sent them to the boy with his best wishes.

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Alex Higgins later visited the boy in hospital and played a snooker match he promised to have with him when he recovered.

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In 1996, Alex Higgins was convicted of assaulting a 14-year-old boy, while in 1997 then-girlfriend Holly Haise stabbed him three times during a domestic argument.

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Alex Higgins published his autobiography, From the Eye of the Hurricane: My Story, in 2007.

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Alex Higgins appeared in the Sporting Stars edition of the British television quiz The Weakest Link on 25 July 2009.

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Alex Higgins had cancerous growths removed from his mouth in 1994 and 1996.

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Alex Higgins had lost his teeth after intensive radiotherapy used to treat his throat cancer.

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Alex Higgins was buried in Carnmoney Cemetery in Newtownabbey, County Antrim.

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Alex Higgins was an inspiration to many subsequent professional snooker players, including Ken Doherty, Jimmy White and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

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Alex Higgins arguably fulfilled his potential only intermittently during his career peak in the 1970s and 80s; Everton puts this down to Davis and Ray Reardon generally being too consistent for him.

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Alex Higgins made the first 16-red clearance ; it was a break of 146.

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