Mark Allen has revealed that he may not see a penny of the £70,000 in prize money he received from his Northern Ireland Open win on home soil, while admitting his snooker future lies ‘out of his hands’.
Allen secured victory in Belfast in dramatic fashion, as he came from 8-6 down to defeat four-time world champion John Higgins 9-8, winning the final three frames on the bounce to take away the title.
In doing so, the Antrim potter picked up a cool £70,000 in winnings, but fears he won’t see a penny of his earnings due to a number of ongoing legal battles that include him declaring for bankruptcy.
Allen is embroiled in a child support row with former partner and fellow snooker player, Reanne Evans - who he dramatically played against at this year’s British Open - while also going through a divorce with ex-wife Kyla McGuigan.
Speaking about his financial issues following the win, he said: “To be honest winning this title and the financial ramifications makes no difference over whether I continue to play or not. That is out of my hands.
“I really hope I can, it is the only thing I am good at and the only thing I have ever done in my life. But that will take care of itself over the next few months.
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“I am not sure I am going to get any of the prize money I won for the title, or play in the next event. But I still dug deep and never gave up. "
The Northern Irishman also discussed how much he has struggled over the last 18 months away from the snooker table, implying that his playing career is now in doubt.
He commented: “It has been a tough time away from the table but a lot of the things that have been going on the last 18 months have put things in clear perspective for me.
“I realise how much I love the sport even though I am not sure for how long I am going to be able to play - it is out of my hands now, there is a threat of possibly not being able to play going forward.
“It has made me appreciate snooker and how much I love competing. I feel like I have got the game to compete against the very best, and to win a big tournament with all that stuff going on in the background I think shows where I am at mentally – in a good place.”
Despite his off-table issues Allen is still motivated to get to the very top of his sport, as he aims to follow in the footsteps of fellow Northern Irishman and snooker great Alex Higgins in becoming world champion.
He added: “It would be great if I could continue to play for a lot of years to come and I do believe I have the ability to bring back a world title back to Northern Ireland…
“It is tough – and you only get one chance a year. Alex Higgins did it twice and Dennis Taylor did it once… I believe I can win a world title.
“There isn’t much difference to being able to win the other tournaments. It is the same players, just a longer distance.
“There is no reason I can’t do well at the Crucible. I haven’t got a great record there, but I didn’t have a great record in Belfast and I have won the title and turned that around.”
Allen also received the backing of his Belfast final opponent John Higgins, who also believes the Northern Irishman will triumph at the Crucible at some point in his career.
The Scot said: “I have no doubt Mark can win a world title – he is such a talented player and has everything in his game. It is just difficult that tournament.
“You get ready for it and hope things go your way. The closest Mark came was years ago when I played him in the semi-finals. But no question he has got the talent.”