Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Stephen Hendry reveals Alex Higgins threatened to live in a caravan in his garden - 'Harebrained but harmless, that was Higgy'

Hendry fondly recalls run-ins with 'The Hurricane', including a bizarre threat to camp in Scot's garden

Alex Higgins
Alex Higgins

By Sarah Henderson

Tragic snooker legend Alex Higgins was plotting a final comeback before he died which involved living in a caravan in Stephen Hendry's Garden.

Seven-times world champion Hendry has revealed that the Hurricane informed him of the plan in one of the last conversations they shared before his death in July 2010.

Hendry (49) said: "Although his playing days were finished and he was obviously ill, he turned up to an Irish Masters event that I was competing in.

"Later, in the hotel bar, he spied me with his laser eyes and came over to sit by me. 'I'm gonna start playing again, you know,' he said. 'Oh yeah?' I replied cautiously, unsure where this was leading.

"'Yeah, and you know what? I'm gonna get a caravan so that I can come up to your house and we can practise together. I'll park it in your garden. Or maybe I could live in your house? Either way, we can get some good practice in. What d'you reckon?'

"I was stuck for words, and mumbled some kind of encouraging reply, all the while hoping that Alex didn't really mean this. 'It'll never happen,' I said to myself, '… but what if it does?'

"I pictured (ex-wife) Mandy's expression at the sight of Alex's caravan entering the drive and I tried to put that thought right out of my head. Needless to say, he didn't follow up on his threat."

Sign In

In his autobiography Me And The Table, Hendry also blasted modern players for not turning up to Higgins' Belfast funeral to pay their respects to the maverick cueman.

He said: "Difficult though he could be (and often was), in my opinion Alex dragged snooker out of a dull place and into the TV age.

"He was the first player to put showmanship into the game at a time when it was dominated by older players who plodded around the table, slowly considering every possible permutation of a shot.

Stephen Hendry
Stephen Hendry

"I attended his funeral in Belfast and I'm shocked that so few of the new generation of players bother to turn up.

"His amazing talent on the table, as well as his antics off it, will be what he is remembered for, and it should never be forgotten that he was a genius of a player who made snooker what it is now."

In his memoir, Hendry recounts how fond he was of Higgins (right) - even though the wayward veteran turned on him when the Scotsman hit the big time. He recalls one occasion when they played each other in the first round of the UK Championship in Preston.

He said: "Alex likes to have enemies. Now I'm winning (not everything, but a very good percentage) his laser-eyes have locked on me.

"Everything he says appears to have a barb attached to it. Resentment pours out of him like a spilled pint; he is The One - the talent, the genius. Woe betide anyone threatening this.

"Alex comes in, walks towards me and I offer my hand for the customary shake. He takes it, looks me right in the eye and says, 'Shake hands with the devil …' The best way to deal with aggression is to ignore it and try to get the match over as soon as possible.

"I beat him convincingly 9-4 and throughout the game he's snapping and snarling. At the end, I offer my hand again; again, he takes it, gives me the death-stare and mutters, 'Up your ass, you c***.' In the after-match press conference, the journalists who've noticed Alex muttering things in my direction ask him what he's been saying. 'Oh, I was just saying, "Well done, you were a bit lucky",' he replies, looking like butter wouldn't melt."

÷ Stephen Hendry's autobiography is available to download and in bookstores, priced £13

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph