Clive Everton - Biography


Everton was a talented amateur player of English billiards, reaching both the 1975 and 1977 world semi-finals. In the latter he exacerbated a back injury, forcing a temporary retirement from the highest level of the game; he became a professional snooker and billiards player in 1981.

Unlike snooker, billiards has never generated sustainable professional incomes for players, and Everton has enjoyed a varied career as a result. He has covered football, rugby and tennis for various British newspapers, and is one of the most prolific authors of historical and instructions books on snooker, as well as being the founding editor of the long-running Snooker Scene magazine. He also played county-level tennis for Worcestershire for 13 years, and has managed Jonah Barrington, the former world number 1 squash player.

However, it is as a snooker commentator that Everton is best known to millions of UK fans who watch the BBC's coverage of the sport. During the hey-day of the game in the 1980s, he emerged as one of the top three commentators, alongside Jack Karnehm and the famous 'whispering' Ted Lowe. For many, he has become the 'voice of snooker' – particularly since the retirement of Lowe in the 1990s.

Everton's style always tended towards the dry and technical, as opposed to the more informal, conversational approach of his two senior colleagues and the various 'player-commentators' of today. His analytical mind, combined with his clear love of the game and the many hours of dedicated research he has put in over the years, have given him an encyclopaedic knowledge of the game and the ability to recite relevant facts and statistics, scorelines, and breaks of ancient matches etc., which he does frequently in commentary. He also tends towards the use of very formal English, often using words that would not find a place in everyday conversation. Hence, for example, his commentary has included the following statements:

  • "Ebdon's unforthcoming acceptance of the referee's replacement of the white has been called into question by his opponent despite the veracity of the location of the adjacent reds."
  • "O'Sullivan's fluency was undiminished during his completion of a challenging century break using a newly-affixed tip."
  • "Davis's inability to execute the quarter-ball cut to bottom left has presented his opponent with an unexpected opportunity to capitalise."
  • "When King and Perry resumed their contest with King enjoying a 6–2 advantage, the least feasible outcome was a 9–6 victory in Perry's favour. However, that is what materialised this evening."
  • "That was a particularly inopportune juncture at which to receive a kick."

Unlike most of the snooker commentators and 'summarisers,' Everton always refers to snooker players by their surnames. Any impression of distance implied by this is misleading, however. He is extremely well liked and respected as a father figure by most of the top professionals in the game.

A consummate professional, Everton – like all commentators – has nevertheless suffered inevitable embarrassments in the commentary box. One example is when he fell from his chair whilst covering a match with Dennis Taylor. The pair were unable to continue commentary for some moments whilst they contained their laughter.

During the BBC's coverage of the 2007 World Snooker Final, it was reported by Hazel Irvine that Everton "took a tumble" after the second session, and fractured his hip, missing the final sessions of the championship between John Higgins and Mark Selby. After Steve Davis joked that this was due to his penchant for skateboarding, Everton later reported that he slipped while getting out of the shower.

In September 2007 he published his autobiography, Black Farce and Cueball Wizards: The Inside Story of the Snooker World (Mainstream Publishing ISBN 978-1-84596-199-2).

During the 2008 World Championships, while commenting on the psychological problems of Ronnie O'Sullivan, Everton revealed that he had himself suffered from depression during his life.

In 2009, it was announced that Everton would effectively lose his position as the BBC's primary snooker commentator. He did not commentate at the 2009 Masters Tournament and only commentated on the World Championships until the quarter final stages. This has variously been attributed to his criticism of the game's governing body, his age and old-fashioned style, and his lack of fame relative to the many former players in the BBC's commentary roster. Everton himself commented "I'm hurt and angry, because I find the reasons presented to me incomprehensible".

At the start of the 2009/10 season, Everton's role at the BBC was reduced still further. He only commentated on two matches during the Grand Prix tournament, and wasn't heard at all during the Wembley Masters. He commentated on days 1–4 of the 2010 World Snooker Championship and was heard again on day six, but that was to be his final commentary work of the tournament, and is likely to be the last work he does for the BBC. He does, however, continue to be heard frequently on Sky Sports' coverage of the Premier League, and, in October 2009, joined Eurosport as a commentator for their World Series events (which ended after 2009), as well as covering three cushion billiards tournaments. He was previously heard on Eurosport and Screensport in the 1990s on occasions. He also commentates on the Championship League, which is streamed to a number of betting websites, and is also screened in betting shops around the country. In October 2010, he joined ITV's commentary team for Power Snooker. In December 2011 during the final of the UK Championship John Virgo referred to Clive Everton as "our ex-colleague".

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