Anthony McGill makes passionate defence of the Crucible as World Championship venue

April 17, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Seven
Anthony McGill loves playing in Sheffield (Picture: Getty Images)

Anthony McGill is absolutely not on board with any calls for the World Snooker Championship to leave the Crucible, saying the history in Sheffield is worth more than any extra cash that could be made at a bigger venue.

The Crucible has been the very popular home of the World Snooker Championship since 1977, but recently a few players have spoken out about wanting to see the event held elsewhere.

Neil Robertson, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy and Stephen Maguire have all suggested reasons why it should move. With Trump and Maguire believing the event should have a bigger capacity venue, Robertson wanting a bigger playing area and Murphy believing the hospitality on offer at the Crucible is not quite up to scratch.

McGill is not having any of it, though, and never wants to see the World Championship leave the South Yorkshire venue.

The Scot does not believe the World Championship has to be in the biggest venue of played for the most money in the calendar, pointing to golf, a sport in which the majors are not played for the biggest prize fund.

‘I like it here. I don’t know why they want to move, I don’t understand it,’ McGill told ‘As I understand it, people want it moved basically to get more money. A bigger arena, more revenue.

‘The answer I’ve got to that is: Why does the Worlds need to be the biggest tournament in that regard? It doesn’t. The biggest crowd, the biggest audience.

‘Take golf, they have the World Golf Championships, the FedExCup, they’re not the best tournaments, the Open is or the Masters. The Worlds doesn’t need to be the biggest.

‘Keep it here, keep the money it’s got or whatever. If you want to create bigger tournaments, go and make them, this doesn’t need to be the biggest one.

‘Keep it here because the history in that room, you can’t buy that. It’s not all about money. Not everything in life is about money. It’s about history and memories that were made. This should never leave here.’

McGill narrowly missed out on the final at the Crucible in 2020 and has been to two more quarter-finals, beating Ronnie O’Sullivan to reach the last eight 12 months ago.

He has earned the tag of ‘Crucible player’ for his results in Sheffield and, rather than feeling pressure to perform, he loves being back in the Steel City.

‘It is my time of the year,’ he said. ‘I’m really excited, win or lose, honestly. Even if I get beat I’m going to get two sessions of snooker in there so I’m delighted, really grateful to be here, really looking forward to it.

‘I’ll just enjoy it. This is what you play for growing up. What is there to be nervous about or feel pressure about? There’s 32 players get to play here, but how many snooker players are there across the world? Who knows? We’re the ones who get to play here, what have we got to be scared about? It’s just brilliant to be here.’

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Seven
McGill scored a superb win over Ronnie O’Sullivan last year (Picture: Getty Images)

McGill takes on Liam Highfield in round one, a man he has been playing for around 20 years when they first met on the junior circuit.

The Scot remembers his first meeting with the Englishman, but it was more because of his haircut than his snooker.

‘There’s no good draw or particular bad draw, they’re all brilliant that’s why they came through,’ he said of playing Highfield. ‘They’re all going to be tough, but I’ll try and make it tough for him.

‘We played all the junior tournaments when we were 12 year old. Mega talented player, I remember the first time I played him actually, it was at Pontins. He had the Paul Hunter hairband thing, long hair, Alice band and I thought, “Man this boy looks like a poser.” But no, he was brand new. Now we’ve made it to the Crucible, so brilliant.’

Highfield now sports an Oasis-inspired haircut, and when asked which of his stylings he preferred, McGill laughed: ‘Neither. He needs to do a McGill. Take it off.’

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Five
Liam Highfield will be a familiar foe for McGill when they meet in Sheffield Getty Images)

McGill will be relishing walking down the Crucible steps again, but he won’t necessarily be loving whichever nickname he is given after going through a number of monikers, admitting last year: ‘I hate all of them. Don’t like any of them but there’s not one that suits.’

The Scot named his favourite albums a few years ago, so it was put to him that he could take inspiration from a couple of those for a new nickname?

The Wall? ‘I don’t know, sometimes I’m hard to beat, but my God other times I’m so easy to beat it’s a joke.’

Meat is Murder? ‘I’m still off the meat, so it would go for me. Can you say murder on the BBC? It’s a bit of drama, I suppose. Meat is Murder McGill. It works. Until I’m caught with a beef burger.’

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