Jimmy White: national treasure

MILLIONS of snooker fans around the world know him simply as The People’s Champion. 

It’s a title Jimmy White MBE inherited from the late Alex Higgins after losing all six of his World Championship finals.
Now preparing at his new practice base in Southampton for the Wyldecrest Park Homes World Seniors Championship in Portsmouth on October 27-28, White said the love he receives as he enters the playing arena “makes me smile every day”.
The 50-year-old, who has been a professional for 32 years, said: “I’m very, very proud that I touched the nation somewhere along the line with my game.
“I’m absolutely proud to be British and the response I get makes me smile every day.
“If I didn’t enjoy that, then it’s time to quit.”
White spends half his week living in Shirley with girlfriend Kelly and practising at Rileys on a special match table with TV lighting and under-table heating.
“I’ll be playing out of Rileys, in Shirley, for three to four days a week because we’ve got the conditions perfect,” explained the world number 49. “You need the conditions perfect to play on the main circuit.”
Also known as the Whirlwind, White will be joined at the Sky Sports-televised Seniors event at the Mountbatten Centre by snooker legends and former World Champions Steve Davis, Dennis Taylor and Cliff Thorburn.
“It’s great to see players that we don’t get to see often,” said White, who claimed the title in 2010.
“Players that we used to work with and play against 20 or 30 years ago are coming back for the World Seniors. That’s a nice side to it. But when we get on the table, everybody will be deadly serious.
“It’s a trophy to win and it’s a world championship. I was very proud when I won it two years ago.
“I’m playing as good as ever at the moment. While I’m still enjoying it, still hitting the ball good, I’m going to carry on,”
Tickets for the World Seniors Championship start at £10. Call 02392 626509 or visit www.worldsnooker.com/tickets.
Picture of Jimmy White supplied by World Snooker