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During snooker’s heyday in the 1980s, Willie Thorne was one of the game’s best-known and well-liked players. He won 14 titles, made a record 196 maximum breaks and, at the height of the game’s popularity, famously appeared in the classic Chas ’n’ Dave video Snooker Loopy (“Old Willie Thorne, ’is ’air’s all gawn!”).
But behind the happy-go-lucky smile lurked a dark secret. Willie was a gambling addict and by the end of his career he’d blown £1.5 million to the bookmakers of Britain. As the money from snooker dried up his destructive addiction showed no sign of abating and his life spiralled out of control. Desperation and depression took hold of him, culminating in a suicide attempt when he came close to ending it all.
In Taking a Punt on My Life Willie bares his soul, talking openly and frankly about his life – the good times and the bad – his talent, his addiction, the dark days and his suicide bid and his inspirational recovery from the brink.
Brutally honest and at times painful to read, the book is by turns harrowing, uplifting and in places hilariously funny as he relives the good times and the great characters of snooker’s golden era.