Alan McManus feels that Ronnie O’Sullivan is ‘obviously’ the greatest snooker player of all time, but Stephen Hendry’s achievements should not be forgotten and they are unlikely to ever be repeated.
O’Sullivan is regularly named as the greatest player to ever pick up a cue, although there are still some votes from people in the sport for Hendry and John Higgins.
McManus is in the Rocket’s camp on this one, but is blown away by both his fellow Scots, who he feels come in at joint-second on his GOAT list.
‘Time’s a great healer of memory, people forget about Stephen and the things he did,’ McManus told the Talking Snooker podcast.
‘First of all, when’s the next time someone’s going to win the Masters at the first five goes? It’s easy to forget.
‘Who’s going to win the Crucible five times on the spin? Probably no one, it ain’t going to happen. But he did it and he did it because he was unbelievably good.
‘John’s a different kind of good, he’s got the whole package, technically he’s unbelievably good, but the other thing that John developed was the snooker brain, it’s like a chess Grand Master or a piano player, it just makes sense to him.
‘When you’ve got that technique and that bottle, there’s no weakness, he’s very difficult to handle.
‘As far as the greatest, obviously Ronnie is, I’d put Stephen and John almost shoulder-to-shoulder.’
Most ranking title wins
Ronnie O’Sullivan 37
Stephen Hendry 36
John Higgins 31
Steve Davis 28
Mark Williams 24
Judd Trump 22
Neil Robertson 20
Mark Selby 20
Ding Junhui 14
Angles was pretty clear on an O’Sullivan, Higgins and Hendry top three, and slotted in Steve Davis at number four fairly confidently, but struggled to split the two names he has battling for fifth spot.
‘For me…oo dear this is very difficult,’ said McManus on rounding off his top five. ‘I would say those three then Steve Davis has got to be in there, for many reasons I won’t go into.
‘Then probably Mark Selby and Mark Williams, one of those two.
‘Probably Mark Williams maybe, just because he’s been around longer but I don’t know. I’m sure that everyone of them are glad to be in the shake-up.’
By ranking titles, Williams beats Selby by 24-20, but the Englishman has picked up four World Championship titles to the Welshman’s four.
Selby has also picked up one more Masters title than the Welsh Potting Machine, but longevity, of course, goes to Williams.
The veteran won his first ranking title at the Welsh Open in 1996 and his most recent one in August this year at the British Open.
The Jester from Leicester achieved up his first ranking triumph 12 years after Williams’ first, with his most recent coming at the Crucible in May when he won a fourth world title.
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