Snooker Loopy

Joining the pantheon of World’s Worst Excuses has to be this corker from snooker’s John Higgins and manager Pat Mooney, having been allegedly caught by a News of the World sting operation to discuss match fixing.

Mooney: “You have no idea what the circumstances were in Kiev, that’s why I have no comment. But we were genuinely in fear for our safety.”

Higgins: “In all honesty I became very worried at the way the conversation developed in Kiev. When it was suggested that I throw frames in return for large sums of money, I was really spooked. I just wanted to get out of the hotel and onto the plane home I didn’t know if this was the Russian Mafia or who we were dealing with. At that stage I felt the best course of action was just to play along with these guys and get out of Russia.”

Mooney apparently facilitated a deal whereby Higgins would be paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for throwing certain frames later on in the year. After Pat Mooney’s three meetings with the undercover reporter before both men flew to Kiev to discuss the alleged deal further, tell me: do they look in fear for their lives in this video? Maybe it’s nervous laughter. And smiles. And relaxing is just how they react to terror.

Did the Russian gangsters pull the old “drug BA” trick from The A-Team to get them on the plane? Or is this instead the proof that one of the role models of snooker, one of the most successful professionals over the past decade and more, is in fact a pathetic low-life cheat?

Crime never baize, ladies and gents. Higgins will be in the red after this. Chalk this one up to experience. Hard to believe he was framed. He just can’t catch a break. His career has gone to pot. He didn’t spot the plant this time. He’s screwed. And stunned.

Right, time to give the snooker puns a rest, I think. Thanks to the rllmuk forum for some of the above beauties.

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