Football mad Mark Selby has mixed emotions about being in this year’s Dafabet World Championship final. Selby locked horns with reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan yesterday in snooker’s premier tournament in Sheffield. But today the die-hard Leicester City should have been back in his home city celebrating with the team on a special open-top bus tour as the Foxes show off their Championship trophy.
Instead he will be pitting his wits against five-time world champion O’Sullivan on the second and final day of this year’s best-of-35 frame final.
“There is open-top bus parade in Leicester for the football team on Monday and I was wondering if they could delay it until I got back from the final,” revealed Selby. “I would definitely have been there had I not been playing Ronnie O’Sullivan – in fact I reckon I would have been driving the bus.”
It’s been a good year for the Foxes – and for Selby – who was appearing in only his second Crucible final.
And having beaten world No 1 Neil Robertson 17-15 in a Crucible semi-final thriller to get to his first World final for seven years, Selby stressed he is proud of his Leicester roots – and always looking to represent his home city to the best of his ability.
“I don’t know what they are putting in the water in Leicester,” joked Selby. “But City are in the Premier League and have won the Championship with 102 points, which is a great achievement. And the Leicester Tigers have always been a real force in rugby.
“I try and go as much as I can to the KingPower Stadium to watch Leicester play. It is difficult with our calendar, but I have probably been about seven times this season, and I know a couple of players. There’s some good lads there. Leicester often gets overlooked for some reason. There are good and bad parts like everywhere, but it is a great city.
“Just lately a lot seems to be happening, they are doing up the centre, the football club winning the league, and now I have got in the world final.
“It might not be the most glamorous but we have Kasabian who are a huge band – and don’t forget Showaddywaddy! I’m digging up names here now.
“I know the lead singer still goes to the football now, I have seen him there.
“But joking aside I’d love to parade my first world championship trophy next season at Leicester ahead of a Premier League match.”
Selby has come in for criticism from some quarters for his slower than average play.
But the triple Masters champion has defended his style, which has so far served him well at the green baize game’s 17-day marathon.
“I never go out there trying to bog people down and slow it down,” insisted Selby.
“In the past sometimes when I have doubted myself, and been looking for things to go wrong rather then getting on with it. And I never plan to finish late but when sessions start late and in a long match, if a few go scrappy and it goes all the way it doesn’t take much for that to happen. But I can get on with it when I get good chances.”