49 Facts About Alex Higgins


Alexander Gordon Higgins was a Northern Irish professional snooker player and a two-time world champion who is remembered as one of the most iconic figures in the sport's history.


Images of a tearful Alex Higgins holding his baby daughter after his 1982 victory are regarded as some of the most iconic in the history of British televised sport.


The family lived near the Jam Pot, a snooker and billiards hall in the Sandy Row estate, where Alex Higgins frequented from age 10, initially running bets for his father and doing odd jobs.


Alex Higgins took up snooker in the following year, initially at the Jam Pot before he practised with more challenging opponents at the Shaftesbury and YMCA clubs in the city centre.


Alex Higgins disliked the required menial work despite being fired six times, was taken back on board.


Alex Higgins stayed for almost two years, during which he gained weight and became too heavy to ride competitively.


Alex Higgins left the stables for London, where he settled in a Leytonstone flat and resumed playing snooker.


Alex Higgins won several money matches and earned extra income at a paper mill near London Bridge, but homesickness led to his return to Belfast after a year.


In 1967, Alex Higgins joined the snooker league at the Mountpottinger YMCA where he faced tougher opponents.


Alex Higgins practised as much as six hours a day, studied weaknesses in the other players, and devised new shots in his game.


Around this time, Alex Higgins defeated world champion John Spencer in several exhibition matches.


Alex Higgins relocated England as it presented more favourable opportunities for snooker.


Alex Higgins turned professional full-time at age 22, and Higgins worked out his "battle plan" against the top professionals around this time; he noted they were percentage players and to beat them, chose to "attack with brute force and scare them to death".


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


In 1973 Alex Higgins made his debut appearance on Pot Black, but he lost his first game and stormed off the set.


At the 1986 UK Championship, Alex Higgins head-butted tournament director Paul Hatherell after an argument.


In 1988, Alex Higgins was dropped by Kruger and acquired a new manager, Robin Driscoll.


In January 1989, Alex Higgins fell out the window from his partner's first floor flat and broke 30 bones in his ankle.


Alex Higgins arrived at several subsequent matches on crutches and played while hopping on one leg.


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


Alex Higgins competed in pre-season qualifying matches against amateurs, including former women's champion Stacey Hillyard.


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.


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


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.


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


The 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.


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.


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


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


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.


Alex Higgins married twice and had four children from three different relationships.


In January 1980 Alex Higgins married Lynn Robbins in Wilmslow, Cheshire.


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


Alex Higgins was too ill and frail to have the implants fitted.


Alex Higgins was found dead in bed in his flat on 24 July 2010.


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


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


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.


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