The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has today announced that former Masters champion Alan McManus has been co-opted to the board as a player director.
He succeeds six-time world snooker champion Steve Davis OBE, who has decided to step down from his position with immediate effect.
Scotland’s McManus turned professional in 1990 and can list eight ranking event finals, including victories at the 1994 Dubai Classic and 1996 Thailand Open, and a career-high ranking of number six among his achievements to date. Undoubtedly his finest hour came at the 1994 Masters, when he scored a sensational 9-8 victory against countryman Stephen Hendry at the Wembley Conference Centre to win snooker’s biggest invitational event.
Still ranked inside of the world’s top 32 at the age of 46, he continues to compete at the very top of the sport, as he demonstrated last year at the Crucible Theatre when he reached his third World Championship semi-final, 24 years after his first.
As part of his new role, he now looks forward to being able to use his vast experience on the tour to support the playing membership and alongside fellow player director Ken Doherty, will sit on the new Players Commission.
Alan McManus said: “It was a great honour to be invited to join the WPBSA board, in particular to follow a true legend of the sport in Steve Davis who of course leaves a big pair of shoes to fill!
“The tour has seen massive improvements during the past seven years thanks to the work carried out by the WPBSA and World Snooker, but of course we always want things to be even better. My prime concern is that of the players, I am one myself so understand the concerns and I am determined to not just be in a role for the sake of it. I want to be active and to be able to make a difference. I am concerned about every player, whether at the top or bottom of the rankings, or at amateur level. I am really excited by the challenge ahead.”
Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “Alan has an unblemished career as a professional player. He started at the bottom, climbed the rankings and has spent a number of years at the pinnacle of our sport. His knowledge and experience coupled with his passion to contribute to our future makes him the perfect candidate to serve the membership. Our player directors have a vital role to play and I know Alan will be a great asset to us.”
McManus succeeds Steve Davis, who announced his retirement from the sport in a playing capacity last April following an unprecedented career which saw him establish himself as the snooker’s undisputed top player throughout the 1980s. With 28 ranking event titles to his name, a further 53 victories at non-ranking events and having spent seven consecutive years as world number one, he remains unquestionably one of the all-time greats of the sport.
The 59-year-old was appointed as a player director of the board in December 2009 and in recent years has played a key role as an ambassador for the sport, becoming involved with WPBSA sport development initiatives including the official coaching programme and the Cue Zone into Schools project.
His love for the sport remains undiminished and he was recently re-elected to the board in December 2016, however he now feels that in order to best serve the sport, the time is right for him to step down from his position.
Steve Davis said: “During the last six years snooker has changed significantly for the better and I now feel that the time is right for different types of people to be on the board now. As with the Players Commission, it is better that this is made up of players – even though I am a player in my heart – who are active and have their fingers on the pulse.
“I still love the sport and want to remain a servant to it in whichever way it is seen fit for me to do so. At this stage it is just a case of re-assessing how I am going to be involved in snooker at this stage of my life and I believe that I can better serve the sport from outside of the boardroom than from within. I am still looking forward to being involved with coaching, development and of course the professional game in my role at BBC tournaments. All of those things are great because I still love the game.”
Jason Ferguson added: “As a player Steve brought a new standard of professionalism to the sport and became a hero of mine during the 1980s. For me to get the opportunity in 2010 to come back and serve as Chairman, with him of all people serving as a player-director, was a great honour. He has been very supportive not only of the WPBSA, but of me personally during my time on the board.
“He leaves the board having been an integral part of an administration which has overseen the rapid growth of the sport during the past six years and he will remain an influential figure of the sport going forwards.”