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Wednesday 29 November 2017

John Virgo: My Autobiography, Say Goodnight, J V

I used to be a big fan of snooker. 

The good, old days of Steve Davis, Ray Reardon, Jimmy White, Alex Higgins et al. 

Plenty of characters in the game where snooker heralded a top position within the sports calendar, especially the Crucible. One of the more familiar names was John Virgo. He was as well known for his impersonation of other snooker stars, the TV programme Big Break, as well as his ability to play the baize to a high level. These days, he is a snooker commentator. 

Virgo's early professional career started in 1973 American Pool Tournament where he lost in the semi-final. 

He turned professional in 1976 in the days of Ray Reardon, John Spencer and Eddie Charlton (Steady Eddie). By modern standard, he was a late developer being 30-years-old. Strangely, he was one of the youngest pros in the game at that time. 

In 1977, he reaches the semi-finals losing to eventual winner Patsy Fagan. 

His professional ranking peaked in 1979 when reaching the semi-finals of the World Championships. He reached the top 10 rankings in 1980. 

However, in 1991 he dropped out of the top 16. 

In 1995 John Virgo retired from professional snooker. 

His best ranking was 10th in the world. Nicknamed Mr Perfection, his career winnings amounted to £293,472. His highest break 139 in the 1987 English Professional Championship. With 39-century breaks to his name. 

The main reason for buying this book is to detail a few stories about Virgo's gambling. Readers may remember his interest in horse racing and owner of a few thoroughbreds in his time.

I can't say I knew much about this side of him but by all accounts, it became a problem and a costly affair. Interestingly, he wanted this autobiography to be about gambling so we can guarantee he has a lot to say on the subject. I will write a few posts as I read this tome so look out for plenty of good reads.    

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