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The Fountain #9, December 12th 1996

New Image for Snooker

Snooker's ruling body, the WPBSA has finally acknowledged that snooker needs to brighten up its act, by this I mean the dress code. For too long players have been made to look like penguins. As far as I know snooker is the only sport where the players have to wear evening dress, this is just no good in the 21st century. It now seems that the board have finally accepted that change is needed, players are young and their clothes should represent this. In surveys taken on behalf of the WPBSA nearly all young people under the age of 20 said that whilst they liked snooker they thought it was uncool to tell their friends. They also said that the arenas and the players dress was always the same. It seems change will be slow coming though because the board want to try one tournament first to see the reaction of the public, so an ideal situation would be to find a clothing manufacturer who would be prepared to sponsor a ranking tournanment. Maybe you could help. Perhaps you have a connection in such a company, or if any of you have any suggestions of a company who would be interested in this lucrative marketing package, e-mail me and let me know.

For me the the dress code would be only a part of the changes needed, all the way down the line of the promotion of the sport we need new fresh ideas. Snooker has shed the system of the closed shop open only to a few, so now we must embrace all the young talent we have. The British Broadcasting Company has shown faith in the game by giving one of the best TV deals ever. Let's hope that both the WPBSA and the BBC do not waste the next five years and bring snooker up to date.

I recently went to a managers meeting and there is growing concern that the internal squabbles of all the interested parties is beginning to have an a detremental effect. The two heavy weight contenders in the managerial stables whilst good at throwing out lots of critisism seem unable to agree on a clear path forward. The premature resignation of John Spencer also puts pressure on the already growing rift. Vice chairman Jeff Foulds has taken over the hot seat and looks set for a bumpy ride over the coming months. For me too may voices making too much noise making too few decisions is just what snooker does not need. Let's hope they sort out their differences and do whats right for snooker.

I recently had a chat with Terry Griffiths, some of you may already know that Terry now is on the board of the WPBSA, this for me is great as Terry has a genuine enthusiasm for the game we all love. He recently sent out a letter to all the pro players telling them of his intention to safeguard the future of the game. Well I for one would love to see Terry installed as the chairman of the sport at some point. That is not to say that the new chairman Jeff Foulds is not capable. He has done a very good job as vice chairman over the years, but Terry would be my first choice as a true ambassador of the sport. You will be pleased to know that Terry is working toward opening schools of excellence where youngsters could go to be coached by top players. This is just the type of foundation which is needed urgently by the sport. As some of you may know if you have read my earlier articles I believe many clubs around the world should be registered with the sports ruling body, so the facilities can be improved thus raising the all round standard of the game.

The current season seems to have carried on where last season left off with major suprises as the top players struggle with up and coming young players. Having said this Stephen Hendry still reigns supreme at the top. The UK Championship highlighted just how good he still is, but the gap between the top and the bottom is so much smaller now. Young Mark Williams impresses more every time I see him and his rise to provisional third is deserved. Alain Robidoux is making a determined effort this year, and now at last we may see what he has been promising to show for so long. Is this anything to do with the beautiful blonde girlfriend he has been taking around the tournaments? (ed. !) The rest of the season may see many more shocks, but would you bet against the tartan army ruling the world championship again next year?, well I have a bet that says Stephen Hendry will not win it, I just have a hunch that there may be a suprise!

Anyhow I have gone on for too long, now its your turn write to me and tell me all the news from your neck of the woods.


Richard Fountain

The Fountain is a column written by Richard Fountain from England. He is an ex snooker coach and used to be the manager of Mark King. He will be writing to you throughout the snooker year and will try to give you all the inside info on this great game. Please feel free to write him <> with any questions you may have.

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