Snooker fans have vented their fury at the news that two legends of the sport are to be removed from BBC commentary.
John Virgo and Dennis Taylor, now familiar voices when it comes to live coverage of the World Snooker Championships, will no longer be part of things after the 2022/23 campaign. Virgo, 76, has been integral to viewers ever since finishing his own professional career in 1994.
He also famously presented Big Break with Jim Davidson, and continued to play in exhibition matches long after retirement. Taylor meanwhile, who famously beat Steve Davies to become world champion in 1985, had previously combined commentating and playing on the senior tour before hanging up his cue in 2021.
In 2016, the Northern Irishman was rushed to hospital midway through the world tournament in Sheffield whilst working as a pundit. But now Virgo has revealed that both he and Taylor, 73, will be stepped down next year. And 'Mr Perfection' has accepted the decision through gritted teeth.
"I wouldn’t have been like this 30 years ago, I would have been fighting my corner," he told The Telegraph. "But I’ve realised – and it’s taken me a long time to realise it – not to get caught up in something you have no control of."
And he insists he's not going to waste time being bitter about the call: “I can’t have any bad feelings,: he added. "Maybe it’s a working-class attitude I’ve been brought up with but there’s b****r all I can do about it, so why get bothered?"
Should sports commentators be released because of their age? Let us know in the comments section.
The news has enraged fans though, with @pf4u tweeting: "Terrible decision, John Virgo is a legend. He is the best of the lot. BBC is making a grave miscalculation here and obviously have not consulted the fans of the sport here. Why is this happening??? Need to understand."
@hen10freeman asked: "Are they being replaced by better pundits or just for the sake of it?" while @SimpletonOf sarcastically added: "Quite right BBC. Who would want to hear the opinions of two well liked, engaging white men who know what they are talking about?"
Virgo, whose playing career peaked in 1979 when he won the UK Championship, did conced that he could see the reasoning behind the BBC's decision: "I understand that you get over a certain age and they want to try something different."