- John Spencer (snooker player)
Infobox Snooker player
Name = John Spencer
Born = birth date|1935|9|18|mf=y
Birthplace = Radcliffe,
Died = death date and age|2006|7|11|1935|6|18
Bolton, Greater Manchester
Nationality = flagicon|England English
Professional = 1968–1991
High ranking = #2 (1977/78)
Current rank =
Prize money =
High break = 147
Best finish =
Ranking wins = 1
Other wins = 7
World champ = 1969, 1971, 1977
John Spencer (born
18 September 1935, Radcliffe, Lancashire, England; died 11 July 2006, Bolton, Greater Manchester) was an English professional snookerplayer who dominated the game in the 1970s along with Ray Reardon. Spencer was born in Radcliffe (now part of Greater Manchester, formerly districted in Lancashire).
He started his snooker career at the age of 15. Snooker was in decline during Spencer's youth, and he did not turn professional until his early 30s, when interest in the game started to revive. He first won the World Championship in 1969 after being loaned £100 by his bank to raise the entry fee. He battled for supremacy throughout the 1970s with
Ray Reardonand Alex Higginsas snooker emerged from a phase of obscurity to become one of Britain’s most popular sports. Spencer went on to win two further world titles, the last of which was the historic inaugural event at the Crucible Theatrein Sheffieldin 1977. Spencer won many other titles including Pot Black three times and the Masters once. He never reached the top of the world rankings, always being eclipsed by his friend and rival, Reardon.
In January 1982, Spencer was
Steve Davis's opponent when Davis made the first televised 147 at the Lada Classic tournament at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Oldham. Ironically, Spencer had himself made a 147 at a televised event three years earlier, but the cameramen were on their tea break at the time and the table and ball set were not at the correct standard.
Spencer was the first player to use a two-piece cue which he used to win the 1977 title. His cue action included an unusually long backswing which gave him immense cue power, and allowed him to develop new shots using screw and side spin which aided the progression to modern break-building.
He was the owner of Spencer's snooker club in
Boltonin the 1980s, when snooker was at its peak popularity. Spencer was also a commentator on snooker for BBCtelevision for many years, and was chairman of the WPBSA for six years from 1990.
Spencer retired from snooker suffering from
myasthenia gravis(with symptoms including double vision) in 1991. In 2003 he was diagnosed with stomach cancerbut he later refused treatment for it in order to enjoy the rest of his life free from the effects of chemotherapy. Spencer had for many years been a dedicated charity fundraiser and, despite his illness, he took part in a sponsored parachute jumpin 2005. His biography was published that same year, entitled "Out Of The Blue And Into The Black".
Spencer's battle with cancer ended on
11 July 2006when he died in a hospice in Boltonat the age of 70.
*World Championship - 1977
*World Championship - 1969, 1971 (World Snooker Championship did not become a ranking tournament until 1974)
*Benson & Hedges Masters - 1975
*Canadian Open - 1976
*Irish Masters - 1978
Pot Black- 1970, 1971, 1976
Wilsons Classic- 1980
Winfield Australian Masters- 1980
*World Cup with England team - 1981
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/snooker/5171212.stm Obituary on the BBC News website]
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