Snooker: The cue crusader who is Scene and heard but never ignored

Clive Everton has railed against authority but his boyish enthusiasm for the game remains

At his office near Halesowen, on the periphery of Birmingham, Clive Everton prepares the next issue of his magazine, Snooker Scene, a periodical which leaves neither perceived wrong unexamined – forensically so, as many of those whose wrath he has incurred would testify – nor any rightful cause unsupported in the sport. Hence, on this particular day, his mind happens to be attuned to Steve Davis and the case for an honour beyond the OBE the six-times world champion possesses.

Everton, whose rich tones grace the BBC's snooker coverage and whose journalism also appears on these pages, plans to run a reader's letter in the next issue which asks rhetorically: "Surely there's a case for Steve Davis to be knighted?" The commentator concurs. "That would be great for the sport, and not inappropriate in terms of what he's achieved," Everton says, still exuding, at 70, his enthusiasm for the game that first enraptured him as a schoolboy. "Steve Davis has been a great ambassador for the sport. It would give snooker a dignity and a positive image."

In truth, such qualities are not ones generally synonymous with professional snooker, as Everton concedes throughout the pages of his fascinating book entitled Black Farce and Cue Ball Wizards*; not only because some of its players have, over the years, been guaranteed to sate the red-top appetite for tales of sex, drugs and alcohol, but also because its administration has been too frequently exposed as flawed. In that exposure, Everton has played a highly significant and controversial part.

It troubles him that though "snooker will survive because it's a strong game", it has palpably failed to evolve profitably from the golden years of the 1980s and '90s. "Absolutely no provision was made for the end of tobacco sponsorship, which was signposted seven years in advance," he says. "We now have only seven world-ranking tournaments, plus the Masters. The knock-on effect is that the game's public profile is just about zero between those tournaments.

"The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association [the governing body] missed a terrific chance in 2002, when an offer from Altium, backed by Warburg Pincus [a City finance house] proposed nine world-ranking tournaments, plus the Masters, plus two big invitation events. The people at the centre of the governing body would not be involved, and they worked to defeat it. In the ensuing five years, that has caused the players to lose just over £9.5 million in prize money. It was a chance for a new start and a better financialfuture. But it was defeated by self-interest and stupidity."

Such sentiments are generated by his love for the game. "I've played a role in getting rid of some pretty pernicious regimes," he says of the WPBSA and certain chairmen and board members. "Their usual trick is to try to get the BBC to sack me, in an attempt to harm my credibility. Only once did it come close to that, in 1985. A BBC executive producer was persuaded to sack me. But my agent got on to Jonathan Martin [then head of sport], and I was reinstated."

Given his trenchant comment and unrelenting scrutiny, perhaps his tome should be entitled Cue the Crusader? "I've always had a passion for the game and I wanted to be a voice for reform. But as soon as you try to do that, people try and nail you," he says, alluding to the WPBSA's attempt to discipline him in 2005 over observations he made in Snooker Scene. Everton actually resigned, "but they still attempted to come after me for costs. They're determined to squash me and put me out of business." Not much chance of that, confronted by a character who is angered by "abuses of power" in any walk of life. "Mind you, it's a bit lonely sometimes."

* Published by Mainstream, £17.99

Sport
Murray celebrates reaching the final
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Life and Style
tech
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Sport
Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal for Spurs
footballLive: All the latest transfer news as deadline day looms
Arts and Entertainment
Master of ceremony: Jeremy Paxman
tvReview: Victory for Jeremy Paxman in this absorbing, revealing tale
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher

£130 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher Jan 2015 - July...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - 9-12 Months

£14500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Accounts Assistant is immedi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Communications Executive

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Ashdown Group: SQL DBA (SSIS, ETL) - London, £60k

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL DBA (SSIS, ETL) - Central London, £60,000...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness