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Snooker Mourns the Loss of a Legend…

Fans everywhere pay tribute to the snooker legend known as Mr Maximum…

Floods of tributes on social media have poured in for Willie Thorne who died today, aged 66, of respiratory failure and a tragic battle with Leukemia.

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He was a former professional player who won one ranking event in 1985 and reached the final of the UK Championship against Steve Davis the same year.

In his later years, Thorne was a BBC pundit and commentator on the three big tournaments, the UK, Masters, and World Championships.

Although much has been documented about the former 85 Classic ranking event winner and past gambling issues, he was much admired around the snooker circuit and enjoyed the company of other legends on the circuit.

Players on all the snooker circuits paid tribute on their social media profiles…

Tour pro Mike Dunn said: “RIP Willie Thorne. You did a huge amount for snooker on and off the table and it was a pleasure to call you a friend.”

Aaron Canavan, a former World Seniors Champion, said: “Very sad to hear Willie Thorne has passed away. He was so nice to myself and Jack Shields at the Seniors Events and one of the most genuine people you could ever meet. RIP Willie. Snooker has lost one of its greats.”

The Leicester potter got to walk out at the Crucible for the last time last year on the World Seniors tour, headed up by Jason Francis, and he showed he still had some Willie magic on a 12ft by 6ft table.

On the World Seniors Facebook page, it wrote: “Everyone at World Seniors is devastated to learn of the passing of the great WT. After 27 years of not playing, Willie picked up his cue again on the Seniors Tour and got to walk out at the Crucible last August, which I know meant a lot to him. RIP Mr Maximum.

Thorne will be remembered for so much he did for snooker and the juniors.

Only last year, he had had a coaching session with a very talented youngster called Dylan Smith, who got to receive some pearls of wisdom from the very well-liked and knowledgeable Thorne.

Hopefully, the pearls of wisdom will serve Dylan well and he will take that knowledge with him forever.

Boom…

In the early days of the snooker BOOM, he will be remembered for appearing as one of Barry Hearn’s Matchroom boys in the song Snooker Loopy written by Chas and Dave. Thorne also appeared in the comical Romford Rap video with the other Matchroom Mob. See video…

 

Leicester’s snooker scene mourns the loss…

In Leicester’s hotbed of snooker…

Stars such as Mark Selby, Ben Woollaston, and other older players all grew up and rose through the ranks of the amateur scene with the help of Thorne and his brother Malcolm, who ran one of the clubs in the town.

At last week’s Championship League, fans witnessed five-times World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan with a full mustache which later he revealed was a tribute to the late Mr Maximum.

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When Willie Thorne heard the news that Ronnie had grown a mustache in tribute, he had nothing but love…

That missed blue against Steve Davis in 85…

Forget the missed black by Jimmy White in 94 against Stephen Hendry. Or the black that Ken Doherty missed to complete a maximum, Thorne will also be remembered on the table for his missed blue in the 85 UK Championship final against the Nugget Steve Davis. See video…

 Snooker Coaches pay tribute…

SnookerZone has interviewed a few coaches on here, and some of them have paid tribute to Thorne in their profiles.

Neil Johnson, is a well-respected coach in the Liverpool area, and has just seen one of his students Sean Maddocks, secure a Tour card for WST, and has a very well-run junior set-up at Scotties Snooker Club,

He said this in his social media tribute:”Very sad news over Willie Thorne today. As well as being a big character from the Golden Age of the 80s, for me, he was one of the players who brought a brand of prolific, heavy scoring onto the practice table that helped modernise the game.

He added: “As up-and-coming juniors, we would hear of how many maxi’s he was racking up and it would inspire us to be better around the black spot. He’s definitely played his part in how the game is played today.”

Our Tribute…

Although SnookerZone never met Willie Thorne in person. We did spot him wandering around the Crucible in Sheffield one time a couple of years ago in a leather jacket, (we like to watch people) and witnessed his charming wit and willingness to mingle with the fans and chat with them and have a laugh and banter. There appeared to be no airs and graces with Willie from what we saw. Just a passionate man who loved his snooker and meeting those also who loved it.

 

RIP Willie Thorne 1954 – 2020.

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By Chris Gaynor

Chris Gaynor is a writer with 10 years' experience writing for the web.

He loves snooker, CSI and loves cycling off tiramisu!

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