Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Sold for £2,400: Alex Higgins’ humble letter of apology

Alex Higgins

A letter of apology written by Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins after he punched a Press officer in front of the world's media has raised £2,400 at auction.

Firebrand snooker star Higgins, from south Belfast, died after a long battle with throat cancer in July this year aged 61. The former world champion wrote the letter minutes before he appeared in front of a disciplinary panel.

It followed a bust-up with Colin Randle, who was working as a Press officer for the sport's governing body 20 years ago.

A spokeswoman for Hanson's auctioneers in Derby said: “We had several telephone bids and there was an awful lot of interest.”

The bidding in Derby started at £1,700. Some of the proceeds are being donated to Cancer Research.

Mr Randle, of Findern in south Derbyshire, was working at the Crucible World Championship in Sheffield on April 14, 1990.

Higgins had just crashed out of the world tournament to Steve James and as he was entering the media area for a post-match Press conference, he turned around and hit Mr Randle in the stomach.

Mr Randle pinned Higgins up against the wall before the pair were eventually pulled apart.

The tussle resulted in Higgins being suspended for a year and docked so many points that his ranking fell to 120.

He clinched his first world title in 1972 as he defeated John Spencer in the final, and repeated that triumph 10 years later by beating Ray Reardon.

A controversial figure, he was banned from five tournaments and fined £12,000 in 1986 when he headbutted UK Championship tournament chief Paul Hatherell.

Despite his fights and rows with referees, he continued to play the game regularly and appeared at the Irish Professional Championship in 2005 and 2006.

Past and present stars of the game were among those who attended his funeral in Belfast.

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