An Evening With Jimmy White
Dylan Clive and Jimmy White
You’re known on the scene as ‘The Whirlwind’ but where did the nickname come from?
Well there was Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins and so with me being Jimmy White, ‘Whirlwind’ just fits with the name. ‘Tornado’ Drago, ‘Hurricane’ Higgins, it all comes from journalists really.
You’re coming out to Barcelona in February for the ‘Evening with Jimmy White’ event, can you tell us a bit about what fans can expect and what the night has in store?
Yeah I’m coming over to play 9-ball pool against people, I’ll let them break and then if they beat me I think they get given a cue. It’ll all be good fun and you know…I might not even get a shot!
We can’t really see that happening somehow…
Honestly you’d be surprised! A good break is all takes but I’m just really looking forward to meeting the people and playing in Barcelona. I’ve played snooker there but never pool so it should be a great event.
It must be amazing to be in a position where you travel the world as part of your job and have the chance to meet new people and experience different cultures; did you ever imagine that snooker would present you with these opportunities?
Not really to be honest with you. I mean I just got back from Mumbai where it was absolutely manic. Everybody loved it and it was just fantastic. The sport is getting popular all over the world now and I’m just delighted to be able to have the chance to experience all these cultures.
Your professional career has spanned nearly 30 years and you’ve won 10 ranking titles, become a sixtime World Championship finalist and are one of only six players to have achieved a maximum 147 in the World Championship but is there one highlight or memory that has defined your career to date?
Well I won the UK championship, which would be my biggest victory but I’ve also won 43 invitation tournaments and just recently became the World Senior Series champion so I’m still producing. I might not be as consistant as I once was but the passion is still there and I’m loving it.
Your career speaks for itself and you’re the people’s champion for a reason but will you feel like there’s something missing if you hang up your cue without that World Championship in your trophy cabinet?
That would be the one. If I finished without winning the World Championship then I’d be disappointed but I seriously believe I can still win it. I only have to play well for two weeks.
Away from snooker you’ve won many new fans from your time on I’m A Celebrity, do you look back on it with fond memories and are you still in touch with any of the contestants?
Yeah, I still know Justin and Colin and I had a phone call from George Hamilton the other day. I had a great time out there and it was a good experience. Every year a group of us try to meet up and do a little bit of charity work. Last year we did a parachute jump for Malaria No More, which was held at Silverstone but I’m not sure what the plan is for this year yet.
Would you say you now have the reality TV bug? Can we expect to see Jimmy dancing on ice?!
No, no. I’m done with all that. I’ve taken a look at it and it’s not for me!
I was delighted to read somewhere that you are a big Chelsea fan. Things are not going so well for the Blues but do you try and catch some of their games?
I go up a few times to see them but I don’t know what’s happened to Chelsea recently. The manager said the other day that we’ve forgotten how to win dirty but you know it’s [the league] not over yet.
Being a big Chelsea fan was your sporting hero a footballer?
I go back to the days of Osgood but the first real sporting hero for me was Sugar Ray Leonard. My snooker favourite was always Alex Higgins.
So which of these two options would you choose: A hat-trick for Chelsea in the FA Cup final or to lift the 2011 Snooker World Championship after defeating Steven Hendry in the final?
(Laughing) I’d have to go for the snooker one.