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Stephen Maguire believes the World Snooker Championship should leave the Crucible for Alexandra Palace, saying the home of the Masters has become ‘our best venue by probably a good distance.’
The World Championship has been held at the Crucible in Sheffield since 1977 and there is a deal in place for it to stay there until 2027, but there are seemingly more and more voices in the game calling for a change.
Neil Robertson has suggested playing the early rounds elsewhere because he believes it is too small for two tables, Judd Trump thinks a venue that can hold more spectators would be better and Shaun Murphy has added that the hospitality on offer at the Crucible is not up to scratch.
There are plenty of people in the game who would never want to see the World Championship leave Sheffield, with many fans dreading the idea of a move. Kyren Wilson described talk of leaving the Crucible as ‘utter nonsense’, while Joe Perry is ‘totally against’ leaving Sheffield.
Maguire, though, has added to the voices calling for a switch. The Scot believes that the South Yorkshire venue is too cramped during the two-table set-up and with a capacity of around 1,000, many more fans could attend elsewhere.
Maguire feels the history and unique atmosphere of the Crucible, but believes that snooker has already found a better venue with the Masters proving a great success at Alexandra Palace. The former world number two now reckons it is time for the World Championship to jump ship to north London.
‘I’m not slagging the Crucible, but I’m not the biggest fan of the Crucible, I think it’s small,’ Maguire told Metro.co.uk. ‘I’ve said that from day one when I qualified, it’s very small and it takes a bit to get used to.
‘I’m tall, I like a walk in and you don’t get the walk in. But it is special, it’s got a special atmosphere on top of that, so it’s kind of 50-50.
‘I would move it, yeah, I would. I think Ally Pally has made itself our best venue by probably a good distance.
‘The way they do it, the way they set it up is exciting there. So why is the Masters the second biggest tournament but it feels like the biggest? I don’t get that, but they keep going on about history, but history has to start somewhere doesn’t it?
‘I can imagine they can put two tables at Ally Pally, it’s big enough. Make it two tables. But listen, it’s not up to me. I think if you’d asked the boys who’ve won there…I’ve never won there so I can easily say to move it.
‘Maybe if you ask the boys who’ve won it a few times or even once or twice, they’d go, “No you can’t, because this is special.” I can’t comment on them, but I wouldn’t have thought that the boys who haven’t won it would have a problem with moving it.’
Maguire does enjoy playing at the famous Sheffield theatre, which has hosted so many of the sport’s greatest moments over the last 45 years, but believes bigger is better when it comes to snooker’s greatest event.
Asked whether he still gets butterflies in his stomach at the Crucible, Maguire said: ‘I do, honestly I do because it is a good atmosphere, but it could be bigger.
‘You could get 3,000 in, the World Championship would sell the tickets. It only holds 900-1000, so if you could get 3,000 seats, why not make it happen?’
Maguire will be at the Crucible after coming through World Championship qualifying on Tuesday night, putting his name in the draw on Thursday morning.
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