He may have missed out on an invite to the Vardy Party which celebrated Leicester City’s Premier League title win, but Mark Selby was the toast of Sheffield on Monday evening after sealing his second World Championship title.
Selby, a big Foxes fan, joined a select band of multiple world Crucible champions when he overcame China’s Ding Junhui 18-14 in a classic final - which finished just minutes after Tottenham’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea handed the title to Leicester.
Selby paraded the World Championship title at the King Power Stadium when he last won it in 2014 and is a friend of Foxes striker Jamie Vardy, who hosted a celebration at his house in Melton Mowbray to mark their amazing 5,000-1 title victory.
Instead, Selby was the guest of honour at a celebratory function in the Steel City, where he admitted: “I can’t believe it.
“I don’t know what’s more of a shock - me winning it twice or Leicester being Premier League champions. I didn’t know they’d done it until after I’d won. One of the guys in the crowd is a big Leicester fan, so he told me after I got back to my seat. I knew going out there that the game was kicking off, but I tried not to think about it too much because I didn’t want it to distract from what I had to do. Hopefully in another two years I’ll come back and win it again - and Leicester will be Premier League champions again.”
Ding became Asia’s first world finalist when he beat Alan McManus in the semi-finals, but seemed to struggle with the expectation of an estimated 100m TV audience in China as he fell 6-0 behind to a rampant Selby - the man they call the Jester from Leicester.
It is something of an ironic nickname; the 32-year-old is a glass-half-full character forged by a difficult upbringing, which saw his mother leave when he was eight, and his father die of cancer when Selby was 16.
Unsurprisingly, then, Selby has a determined streak. Ronnie O’Sullivan, who he beat to win the 2014 title, likens him to a torturer; he is widely recognised as one of snooker’s great match-players.
Ding, simply, was strangled early on in Selby’s vice and was playing catch-up all along. He departed the famous old arena having captured the hearts and respect of many, but it was Selby who left victorious; a worthy champion. And for once, the Jester had a smile on his face.