Snooker legend and reigning world number one, Ronnie O’Sullivan, has said that he “lost himself” for more than seven years as a result of drugs and excessive alcohol intake earlier in his career.
O’Sullivan has long been considered one of if not the greatest to have ever graced the game and still holds the joint record for most world titles in the modern era — second only to Joe Davis, who won 15 back to back from 1927 to 1946 — but it’s never quite been plain sailing for the 47-year-old.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Thursday, 11, the Wordsley-born snooker star admitted, “there are massive gaps [in his memory], adding, “I lost myself for six, seven years and then I had to kind of put myself back together”.
O’Sullivan, who turned pro all the way back in 1992 when he was just 16, had an incredible start to his career but confessed that he struggled to retain significant chunks of it and was “not in the best spirits” during his early to mid-20s, famously checking himself into rehab in 2000.
As acknowledged by presenter Amol Rajan, his alcohol and drug addiction has been well-publicised over the years, but the record 21-time Triple Crown winner insists that going to rehab is the “best thing” he’s ever done.
Noting some of his low points as his fluctuation in weight, dependence on “drinking and wacky baccy just to get through the day” and, obviously, being stripped of his Irish Masters title in 1998 after testing positive for cannabis, he said: “I lost my personality and confidence and needed to take substances just to feel like I could socialise”.
At his worst, Ronnie sadly experienced suicidal thoughts and recently said he never thought he’d make it to the age he is now; it was at that point in 2000 that he admitted himself into The Priory addiction and mental health facility. Thankfully, for the most part, he has remained sober and healthy ever since.
However, as explained in his new book, Unbreakable (released on Thursday too), the challenge was not only overcoming his “addictive nature” but even just readjusting to social situations, admitting that he “had to learn to do all that stuff again” and now lives a quieter lifestyle.
“Anxiety started to affect me in certain ways, so it was like ‘how do I live clean?’, said O’Sullivan. “It took time but once I got there, I realised you have to carve out a different life for yourself. Maybe I’m not suited for X, Y and Z.
“My happy place is going running in the morning and I go out with my running friends, and I’m cool with that. Put me in an environment where there’s lots of people and I run for the corner.”
He closed out the interview by stating that “rehab taught [him] happiness is an inside job” and he has truly believed in that ethos ever since and that he can now once again enjoy snooker as a form of “great escapism” where he can “feel relaxed and calm”.
Scott McTominay jokes he’s ‘fuming’ he didn’t score a hat-trick against Chelsea as he reflects on Man United’s mentality
Scott McTominay has joked he’s “fuming” with himself after failing to score a hat-trick in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday nightand shed some light on the mentality around Old Trafford.
McTominay starred in the Red Devils’ win over Mauricio Pochettino’s side on a cold night at home, managing to bag a brace with a goal in the first and second half to get his squad over the line, but he himself said he could have had more.
Speaking to MUTV after the game, the 26-year-old said he and the squad knew they needed to drum up a reaction after the Newcastle disappointment, adding that contributing more goals is something he wants to keep working on and insisting that plenty of people back him to do so.
Confessing that his mum, dad and grandad have all been encouraging him to “get in the box” and that he just needs to “believe in [him]self and go for it”, the Scotsman did go on to quip he was “fuming” to not grab a third as he shook his head went on to shake and reveal a wry smile.
Commentator and presenter Stewart Gardner went on to list McTominay’s impressive stats this season, having now scored 14 goals in his last 33 appearances for club and country. A seriously good rate from a midfielder typically entrusted to help link play and break things up in the middle of the park.
Now boasting half a dozen goals and an assist across all competitions so far this campaign, he sits as the club’s leading goalscorer in the Premier League with five finishes to his name — with only Bruno Fernandes having contributed more (five goals and five assists) — he’s genuinely become one of Man United’s main goal threats.
While he recently rubbished talk that he played as a striker regularly coming up through the youth academy, simply having been deployed for the odd game in reality, he has always had a shot on him and it isn’t the first time he’s bagged a winner or a big goal for the Reds. This wasn’t a bad one either:
Chatting with the pundits on Amazon Prime Sport, he reiterated that he could have had “one or two more” on another night and agreed that the performance against Newcastle in the previous fixture was “pretty abysmal”, holding his hands up to admit that it was “no way near good enough”.
Reflecting on the later chance he had to seal the hat-trick towards the end of the game, he said he simply needed to “calm down on the last one”.
As for the mentality to get the result during a difficult period where the club remained under a lot of scrutiny from pundits and fans alike, McTominay went on to say that the manager is responsible for the way they played and some “lighter training sessions to keep energy levels up” definitely helped.
Regardless, he was sure to not get ahead of himself and assured ten Hag‘s team were still taking things a game at a time. You can watch the full highlights from Manchester United vs Chelsea down below:
Featured Images — Scott McTominay (via Instagram)/MUTV
Kevin Sinfield has entered the final leg of yet another ultra marathon challenge for MND
Ex-rugby player turned England coach Kevin Sinfield has begun the final day of yet another incredible ultra marathon challenge he is undertaking to raise money and awareness around motor neurone disease (MND), with the sports personality scheduled to finish up this Thursday.
Having set off on 1 December, the Oldham-born athlete is facing what he has called easily his “toughest challenge” yet, taking on the newly-dubbed ‘Ultra 7 in 7 in 7’, which will see him once again run an ultra marathon every day for seven days across seven different cities.
Following on from his first Ultra 7 in 7 back in 2020 and most recent one last year, the Leeds Rhinos legend has now raised well over £8 million pounds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA), the cause he got behind following his former teammate and best mate Rob Burrow’s diagnosis in 2019.
Now, having taken on the incredible feat once again — running the equivalent of 27 miles (43km) a day — Sinfield is hoping to not just reach the trademark £777,777 fundraising target, but smash it for a fourth consecutive time. Here he is finishing up his penultimate leg in his second home.
Setting off from Yorkshire’s iconic Headingley Stadium with a team of friends and volunteers, the 43-year-old has passed through the likes of Cardiff, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Dublin and Brighton, and is now staring down one last push towards the finale from Twickenham Stadium to the Mall in London.
Having already amassed over £557k in donations since the start of his remarkable journey, he is well on course to reach the finish line in every sense of the word.
The best part about this most recent Ultra 7 fundraising challenge, though, is that beyond just putting in the hard yards in Burrow‘s name and raising money for the MNDA, the funds generated from this series of runs will be going to multiple causes.
As well as the Leeds Hospitals Charity and The Darby Rimmer MND Foundation, money will also be going to the Irish MNDA set up by former Scottish rugby player, Doddie Weir, who sadly died from the condition in 2022 but has remained an inspiration to Sinfield and countless others over recent years.
Having echoed his lasting sentiment that “MND isn’t untreatable, it’s just underfunded” throughout his own campaigning for the cause, the local sporting hero will also be representing the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation in his honour. Heartwarming stuff.
As we’re sure is the case for all of you too, we’ve been absolutely blown away by this man over the last few years not only in his ability to keep completing these huge feats of endurance but by the size of his heart in continuing to fundraise on such a massive scale.
From raising awareness around MND and becoming an emblem of friendship with his best mate Rob, Kevin Sinfield has truly set an example for all of us and will no doubt prove a role model to millions for years to come.