Clive Everton’s Twitter Takeover

As those of you on Twitter may have noticed, today veteran snooker commentator and Snooker Scene editor Clive Everton was able to very kindly spare half an hour of his time in the media room to sit and take questions from the great and the good of Twitter.

It was something that I had thought about trying for a few days as I look to make the most of my fortnight in the media centre and I hope that it came across well to those of you following at home.

Click below for a round up of the questions asked and Clive’s responses, extended to include what I couldn’t fit into 140 characters at the time…

Having put out my request for questions to Clive on Twitter, soon to chip in was unsurprisingly fellow blogger @snookerbacker, who with reference to the infamous ‘curry’ incident at the Hainan World Open earlier this season, asked:

“Is he going for a curry later and if so is he wearing a jacket?”

Laughing, Clive very sharply replied:

“I’m not currying favour with anyone”

Soon to follow was Ruth McAvinia:

“when will the next great snooker civil war begin? ;)”

To which Clive again laughed and replied hopefully never!

First up with a more serious question was NOT Rolf Kalb, who asked:

“has he been to the german masters and what does he think about it?”

Clive explained:

“I haven’t to the German Masters, but I like the set up there and the crowd are the model of how a snooker crowd should behave. they are very keen, enthusiastic and respectful, without needing to shout out.”

We spoke ‘off-tweet’ about the format changes for next season and the fact that there will be eight tables at the Tempodrome in Berlin next season, something that Clive had not been aware of beforehand.

Next up was @AndersLewis, who asked:

“if he could change one thing about modern day snooker what would it be?

After a lengthy pause, Clive explained that in his view, the length of the matches in the final qualifying round for the World Championship should be reduced to 17 frames, describing that as a ‘fair spin’ as opposed to the current 19.

I asked Clive why he felt that this would be a positive move and he explained that for him, what audiences really want to see if how the players handle the test when the matches enter their final stages and scoreline progresses to 7-7, 8-8 and so on. He added that is 17 frames is good enough for the Welsh Open, then why not for the final qualifying round of the World Championship and also that longer matches can become something of a grind, when the outcome is never in doubt.

In terms of the Crucible, Clive told me that the argument is more finely balanced, due to the fact that since the late 1970’s, all of the players have faced more or less the same test and that reducing this would be akin to shaving half a mile off the marathon. He added however that he would be open mined on this.

Next up was @SamPESFan, who asked:

“What are his three favourite matches he’s commentated on?”

Clive replied:

“I don’t really think of them in terms of favourites. I’ve been so busy doing the job that I have never really thought of them as favourites. The 2003 Doherty-Hunter semi-final stood out because it was such a good comeback.”

“Oddly enough the final session of the 2006 final also because it was such a mental battle. Peter Ebdon came from a long way back, he was in a pretty hopeless position, before getting to within one frame when Dott produced a brilliant clearance before winning the title That was hard to beat. The Williams-Doherty final in 2003 was also very good.”

While waiting for other questions, I asked Clive how it compares to commentate on matches alone for the streams, as opposed to with a partner in the box.

Clive told me that it is much more difficult because you have not got the atmosphere of the arena or someone else to bounce off and it is much more difficult to keep concentration, that he is only human and it is nice to have someone else to cover if his mind were to wander at some stage.

Clive continued however to say that he really loved doing the ITV4 coverage with Neal Foulds. He explained that they were both keyed up to do well in the hope of securing more snooker for the channel and he explained that ITV created the atmosphere to make them both feel wanted and appreciated.

At this stage, Clive’s attention was diverted by Chinese journalist Victoria, well known to all in the media room as she was ribbed for her admission that she always reads Snooker Scene, without actually buying it!

Back to the Twitter, the next question came from @HML1001, who asked:

“Where does he see the best development of Snooker in the future (next 5-10 yrs)? Great Britain, Asia or Continental Europe?”

Clive replied:

“India will be the next big thing. There is a lot of expansion in continental Europe. Any expansion in the UK will depend on the country getting out of an economic recession. To run a snooker club these days is hopeless, the rents are going up, there are various restrictions which make it very difficult to run a snooker club these days”

Next up was @19neil79, who was among a number of people asking the obvious question, as to who will be the winner in Sheffield this fortnight. Rather concisely, Clive replied that he would go for either Selby or Robertson.

@jonathanhaggart followed up by asking whether Clive could remember his ‘future top ten’ from ages back for a BBC feature, including ‘unknown Chinese player’ & Trump

Clive recalled that this feature was recorded in York and remembered tipping younger players such as Judd Trump, Ding Junhui and Stephen Maguire, as well as established names such as Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The next question came from @Malmo_W who asked what Clive’s best memory was from his playing career, billiards or snooker. Clive replied:

“It is a pretty short list! Beating Norman Dagley in the semi-final of the English Amateur, round about 1977.”

At this stage, mischief maker and On Q Promotions media officer Janie Watkins, who was sat just to the right of us during this chat, asked:

“Who was Clive’s favourite WPBSA Chairman!!! #BlackFarceandCueBallWizards

Never one to shy away from voicing an opinion, Clive stated that:

“They were all hopeless in different ways! But the current incumbent @jasonferguson5 is doing an excellent job and is someone who obviously takes personal satisfaction from doing a good job, which has not always been the case with others.”

No longer commentating for the BBC, Clive was at the tournament this week to cover Mark Allen’s matches for BBC Northern Ireland, therefore it was fitting that the next question from @connorlewis49, who asked Clive for his view on Mark’s chances at the tournament. At the time, Clive replied ‘very good’ although of course the Antrim man has since crashed out of the tournament, losing to Mark King last night.

At this stage the press conference descended into hilarity, as Clive’s Snooker Scene colleague @davehendon asked:

“what’s the best snooker magazine?”

Clive’s reply was simply:

“As assistant editor of it he should know!”

I asked Clive how long Dave has been at Snooker Scene and he explained that it was his first gainful employment upon leaving 110sport, although given what he was paid, it was probably not all that gainful!

On the subject of the magazine, @AJ1981BSC asked:

“Hi Clive. Are you still the owner of your snooker magazine? How many copies do you shift?”

Clive explained that the magazine is doing very well, although it could do better and that readership is on the increase, particularly in Europe. Australia strong, New Zealand strong, Canada getting stronger.”

Next up was a very good question from @snookerbingo:

“What does he see happening with the women’s game? Can he see a time when it’s not separate?”

Clive replied:

“I think that the women’s game needs to forge closer relationships with the national governing bodies. At present it just gives the impression of being a tiny clique with no development plan.”

@meedja was next up, asking Clive which BBC snooker anchor does he think did the best job over the years, to which he replied David Vine by a distance, without any hesitation.

Around this time, @WorldSnooker1 tweeted to tell Clive:

“can you tell him there’s only one dinner ticket left”

So as Clive prepared to head over for a hearty meal, I asked him how it felt to know that he was still so popular with snooker fans in the UK, who often ask when he will be back in the commentary box.

Clive told me that it is very heartening to him and that he will always resent the way that he was treated by the BBC. I didn’t dare attempt to open that particular can of worms within the 140 characters of Twitter, but you can read the full story in his book, available from all good bookshops or the Snooker Scene Shop.

Stay tuned for my next Twitter takeover, subject yet to be confirmed…