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We didn't always agree but Hearn's influence on snooker has been phenomenal, admits Allen


Mark Allen

Mark Allen

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Mark Allen

Mark Allen admits he has not always seen eye to eye with Barry Hearn but that hasn't stopped him hailing the 'phenomenal job' done by the outgoing World Snooker Tour chairman.

Hearn (72) announced this week that he would be retiring after an 11-year spell at the helm Allen feels has 'transformed' the sport.

"I've always said he (Hearn) could sell snow to the Eskimos," Allen said following his 10-2 first-round victory over Lyu Haotian at the Crucible. "The difference in the number of tournaments in the calendar and the prize money is 100% down to him. Ten years ago, six or seven tournaments a year was the norm - now we feel like proper snooker players.

"He's always the most generous donator to charity events as well, and no one sees that."

Antrim ace Allen returns to the table on Saturday for a second-round clash likely to be against three-time world champion Mark Selby.

"Mark's record speaks for itself and he tests every facet of your game," Allen said.

"But I enjoy the challenge that brings and I've got a good record against him. It's nice to win a match comfortably here - I'll take it easy for a few days and let the other guys sweat it out."

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