Guest Blog – James Donnelly

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Time for another in the great line of guest blogs for your perusal. Can I introduce you to James Donnelly a friend from my University days. James is 28 and originates from Rochdale. He is an avid Manchester United fan and a keen follower of Boxing and Snooker.

Take it away James….

Execution v Entertainment; your choice!

As a fan and spectator, I love Manchester United, however, for me, as with rugby and cricket, there is something missing in football……individual, selfish achievement.  Teams are great to be involved in, mostly for me, the after game drink is a big pull, but, in terms of sporting achievement, individual sports and individual winning are what I like. 

Having the opportunity to say “I won it” or, “I beat him” is what makes sport such a big part of my life.  I know that some footballers think that they do it all and act on and off the pitch as though they are god’s, but lets face it, how many goals did Ronaldo save at United?  Football is and always will be a team game. 

The two sports which spring to mind for me, taking into account the above are snooker and boxing; both of which I’ve followed, partaken in, competed in, won at, and, lost at. 

Despite the loud fans and corner boys, a boxing ring is the loneliest place in the world, closely followed by a lone snooker table, in a dark room, surrounded by spectators, all sat in silence; half hoping that you make that shot, pot that ball and win the frame and the other half praying that you screw it up and make a fool of yourself. 

My attempts at boxing were quite short lived; I had 8 armature bouts; I won 6 (3 by technical knockout) and lost two, my last two and both to the same fighter; basically, I was taught a lesson. 

My snooker attempts have been far less painful; yes, I’ve played in more games and yes, I’ve been absolutely hammered, but my health has never been jepodised, and so, I carry on, ever striving for that big break.  Incidentally, the biggest break I’ve ever achieved is a 72 clearance. 

Great sport requires two camps; firstly, the natural winners; the people who show little emotion, they just turn up, get focused and do a job; Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry spring to mind. 

And secondly, the crowd favorites; the people who go through every emotion known to man in their pursuit of success; the Jimmy Whites and Alex Higgins of this world. 

Currently, I’m sure you’re aware that both boxing and snooker are lacking in the department of crowd pleasers and money spinners.  When I was growing up, I remember watching Frank Bruno, Mike Tyson, Nigel Ben, Chris Eubank, Steve Collins, Barry McGuigan, Naseem Hamid, Lennox Lewis……all of the same era and all characters of the sport. 

Snooker is much in the same state and I fear that unless things change, these two great sports could struggle in the future.  A balance is required or natural winners and crowd favorite, underdogs! 

As a boxer, I know which I’d rather be, the natural winner, the Lennox Lewis as opposed to the Frank Bruno or even, despite his early successes, the Mike Tyson.  However, as a snooker player, despite my respect for the machines of the games, I’ll always have a soft spot for and a desire to be the Rocket, the Whirlwind or the Hurricane. 

James Donnelly

Sports fan and avid blog reader

Thanks to James for this and check his excellent entry to the sporting hero’s room @

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