The 'Paul Lambert and John Higgins' story
I have a newfound respect for matchmakers – and no, not the mint chocolate things that come out at Christmas.
Ahead of the weekend’s Premier League Snooker at Hopton, my preview work included an interview with semi-finalist John Higgins – a boyhood Celtic fan.
Now, it probably sounds obvious but when it comes to interviewing these nationwide stars we’ve got to look for a local angle, and Bhoys legend Paul Lambert doing the trick at Norwich seemed ideal – especially given Higgins had never been to this area before.
One of his football heroes was the gist.
My follow-up: bet it would be good for him to watch you do your stuff this time round?
The snooker star was adamant, give Lambert my numbers and get him to call me. Turns up they’d met a few times before and Higgins fancied another chat over coffee.
Speaking to Paul Lambert in the following days it was clear the big reunion was on and I duly passed him a card with the magic digits.
But then disaster. Lambert came up to me after the Carlisle defeat. He’d lost the number I’d given him for Higgins – maybe he’d thrown the card at one of his lacklustre Brunton Park performers in a fit of rage?
Then, no sooner had that been rectified and halfway home from Carlisle, Higgins was already out of the competition to eventual winner Shaun Murphy, and that was that.
By Sunday, Higgins had set off back to Scotland and the two had shared a text message. The coffee never happened.
Lambert walked in to the press conference on Monday, ahead of Southend, with a curse at the weekend’s events, both on the football pitch and snooker table – not surprising given the Canaries’ FA Cup exit and Higgins’ failure to carry through his unbeatable Premier League group success into the knockout stages.
Who would’ve thought getting two people together would be so tricky – even for 30 minutes over a cuppa?
posted on 02 December 2009 11:07 byMichael Bailey - Sportsdesk