Alex Higgins’ first-known love child says he won’t be going to his snooker legend dad’s funeral.
Blackburn man Chris Delahunty said it would be “inappropriate” for him to attend tooday’s service at St Anne’s Catheral in Belfast.
Higgins publicly accepted Chris as his secret son in 2003, when the pair met in England and played pool together.
But Chris, a builder, says all he ever got from his natural father since the reunion was “broken promises”.
He also revealed that 2003 was the last time he met him. Speaking from his home in Lancashire, the 35-year-old told us: “It’s inappropriate to go to the funeral as I didn’t have a full relationship with him.
“All I got was lots of broken promises.
“The broken promises mostly involved being taken to the odd tournament abroad and him not turning up.
“Last time I saw him was in Hull when he was playing at Riley’s Pool Hall for an exhibition match. And the last time we spoke was a few Christmases ago.”
But Chris also spoke of how he was not bitter towards Higgins — and wished they’d been closer.
“I’m sorry he’s gone. I wish I had got to know him better,” he added.
Chris, who is set to get married in November to his pregnant fiancee, also said he wished HIggins had lived to see his grandchild.
“Maybe being a grandad may have given him another reason to live. We’ll never know,” he said. “I wish he had held on though.”
Chris spoke out after Higgins’ family last week denied claims by Antrim man Martin Donnelly that he was a love child of the snooker ace.
But it has been widely documented and accepted that Chris was one of Higgins’ sons.
It has also been reported how Chris’ mum Joyce first met Higgins when he was a struggling young player touring Britain in 1971.
Chris revealed last night: “They met in Blackburn’s Romeo and Juliet’s club and on their first date they went to a cafe. He was so skint mum had to pay.”
Chris was born in 1975 but six months later Joyce and Higgins broke up. Snooker fan Chris was stunned in 2001 when his mum finally told him Higgins was his secret dad.
“When I was 26, mum told me my dad was Alex Higgins and that they had a relationship for a few years in the 1970s,” Chris said.
“It was a bolt from the blue. I was stunned and disbelieving and it took my step-dad Tom to convince me. I’ve never needed a DNA test as my mum and him were together and lived at my grandparents’ for a long while.”
Chris didn’t meet Higgins until 2003 when he happened to be in Hull for an exhibition game.
He said: “He admitted he was my father and asked what he should call me now.
“It was mainly small talk, but the things he told me about my mum made me realise he was actually my dad.
“We had two games of pool, which I lost, then he left to prepare for his game.
“We drove back to Hull and I watched him play. He is a great snooker player, but I wasn’t there to be impressed.”
Higgins, however, never initiated contact with Chris again.
Chris told the media in 2004: “He said he would call me, but he never has. He may be a great snooker player but he’s a cr*p father.”
Chris told us last night that Higgins would not even let him take a photo of them together when they met in 2003.
“I’ve got no piccies as he wouldn’t allow them,” he said.
Chris also revealed he had never met his 26-year-old half-brother Jordan or his 28-year-old half-sister Lauren — both born to Higgins’s second wife Lynn Avison.
And he said that the only thing he had inherited from Higgins was his love of drinking, smoking and gambling.
“I don’t have the snooker gene,” he said.
“He just passed on most of his vices.”
Meanwhile, former factory worker Martin Donnelly, 40, from Ballymena said last Friday how he was going to get a DNA test to prove Higgins was his true dad.