The buzz both outside the theatre and around the foyer is something that cannot be recreated anywhere else in the world.

The Crucible Theatre is the real home of the World Snooker Championships and long may it continue for years to come.

My attendance at Snooker’s most famous competition dates back to the mid 1980s but never before have I witnessed an atmosphere like I came across whilst attending the tournament this year. Proof that the Championship’s in Sheffield create that special feeling that cannot be replicated elsewhere.

The staging of the event at The Crucible has been under pressure in recent years but there is no doubting the popularity of the game and that of the venue itself. 

I can see why some players and connoisseurs of the game preach the positives of a move away from Sheffield to either a larger venue within Britain or even further afield to Asia. 

But these views are brought on mainly by the monetary advantages that this will create rather than any thought for the history of the game. Ask any former player who has played in Sheffield and they will confirm that there is no finer place to ply your trade.

True, The Crucible is a small venue, with a capacity of around a thousand people but this does not tell the whole story.

The intimate venue is part of the attraction for players and spectators alike. The recent refurbishment of the venue was never going to increase capacity but it did bring the venue up to date as most observers agreed that the theatre had become tired and dated over recent years.  

Spectators at The World Snooker Championships are now treated to much more of a showbiz style atmosphere with music and lighting used to great affect. 

More television screens, better scoreboards and ear pieces linked to television commentary all enhance the spectators experience. The balance between maintaining the history of the venue and introducing technological advancements has been achieved.

During the fortnight of the championships Sheffield witnesses an influx of fans from around Britain. However, this year it has been noticeable to me how many supporters have come from much further afield. 

I witnessed spectators from Germany, Poland, Australia and China, making the game a truly global sport. It is also good to see the same old faces sat in the front rows who have followed the World Championships for many years.

Sheffield also has a very popular Snooker academy where many Chinese and Thai players come to learn their trade. Ding Junhui has used Sheffield as his base for the last decade.

It was also noticeable that there was an increasing number of female supporters in the crowd. No longer are there hoards of men from snooker halls up and down the country. 

Snooker is now reaching out to the masses in a way it has never done before and this should be encouraged for the future of the game.

Sheffield and Snooker go hand in hand and this should continue. There have been many innovations in the game such as the Snooker Premier League but it is important that the traditions of the game are also maintained and that means The Crucible Theatre remaining as the premier venue. To take away tradition from any sport will only succeed in ripping the heart out of it.


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