Willie Thorne

Willie Thorne

Snooker Celebrity | Corporate Golf Day Celebrity | Entertaining After Dinner Speaker

Willie is a former English professional snooker player and commentator.

As a strong junior player, Thorne became national under-16 champion at both snooker and English billiards in 1970. He never really converted this early promise into professional success, however, only ever winning one ranking snooker tournament (the Classic in 1985).

The same year, he reached the UK Championship final against the then dominant Steve Davis, and seemed to have built himself an unassailable 13-8 lead. But a miss on a straight forward blue off its spot during the first frame of the final session allowed Davis to take the frame and eventually win the title.

Thorne later said that he had hardly looked at the blue, considering it a certainty. He reached the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship in 1982 and 1986.

He peaked at No. 7 in the snooker world rankings in the mid-1980s, while also battling a serious gambling problem. In one famous incident, Thorne bet £38, 000 on a match involving John Parrott, betting that Parrott would lose as Parrott had lost his personal cue and had to use one supplied by the venue. Much to Thorne's dismay (not least because he was actually commentating on the match), Parrott recovered from a slow start to win; only worsening Thorne's debts.

Also, in an interview with The Guardian Newspaper in 2004, Thorne admitted to placing bets worth up to £20,000 on one horse. He fell into serious debt and depression, and was forced to sell off his snooker club in Leicester to cover a huge loss at cards, but has subsequently beaten both of these problems.

Thorne's bald head makes him instantly recognisable and he is often referred to as "the Homer Simpson of Snooker", and he has become a popular senior character in the game, commentating on snooker for television on the BBC and Sky Sports.

Alongside other Match room professionals, Thorne featured in the popular song "Snooker Loopy", written and performed by Chas & Dave. In the verse which begins "Willie Thorne, his hair's all gone", Willie's cameo line was "Perhaps I ought to chalk it", in reference to his gleaming head putting off his opponents. Willie also appeared in the "Romford Rap" video with the rest of the "Match room Mob".

He is often known as "Mr. Maximum" because he claims to have hit nearly two-hundred 147 breaks in practice, though only one in tournament play. Thorne has been described as a skilled break-builder and possibly the "missing link" between old-school percentage play and the current aggressive potting game.

Willie competed in Series 5 of Strictly Come Dancing with professional dance partner Erin Boag, before being voted out on 20 October in 12th place (out of 14).

Willie has some really entertaining stories to tell about himself and other professionals and never fails to disappoint.

To hire Willie Thorne as your snooker celebrity, after dinner speaker or top table guest for your next event please “enquire now” or call us on 01522 508355,

Fees quoted are only an indication of what you might have to pay, and in no way constitute an offer of any kind. In some cases overnight accommodation, travel expenses and VAT may be charged in addition to the fee.

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