Ronnie O’Sullivan proved dad wrong for fearing for snooker career

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s father believed his son’s snooker career was “over” when he was sent to prison for murder in 1992. Snooker icon O’Sullivan was 16 and turned professional in the same year his father, who shares his name, murdered dad-of-two Bruce Bryan in a Chelsea nightclub.

O’Sullivan Snr was found to have stabbed Bryan to death. Bryan was the driver of Charlie Kray, the brother of gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie.

He spent 18 years in prison until his release in 2010. His only connections with his son during the first part of his trophy-laden career were via phone calls or watching him on television from his prison cell.

O’Sullivan Snr has now revealed that the Rocket considered giving up the sport in those first few years. Speaking on The Edge Of Everything documentary, which premieres on Tuesday, he blames himself for his son having those thoughts.

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The 68-year-old said of O’Sullivan’s reaction to his prison sentence: “I didn’t think he was going to play anymore, I thought it was over, I thought it was done, everything was over.”

O’Sullivan Jnr, now 47, has gone on to become one of the most decorated snooker players in the sport’s history. He has won seven world championships and become one of the most recognisable sportspeople in the world.

“I knew what he was going through. I’ve shared all his snooker tournaments, in his bad times and good times, I’ve been on the phone to him, in prison. And I’ve heard the anxiety in him, just totally collapsing on the phone,” O’Sullivan Snr added on the documentary.

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“I used to put the phone down, totally in bits. A lot of that was my fault. I blame myself for that, going to prison, it wasn’t good for him. And he’d say he’d had enough, he wanted to put his cue down, done.

“I’d jack him up. I’d go, ‘come on, what’s up with ya? Stick around for a little while longer mate. Because it’s like a visit for me. I can watch you on the tele and it’s nice to see ya. I said ‘win or lose, I watch you and it’s fantastic. And if you win it’s even better’.”

O’Sullivan Jnr revealed his father’s final message before heading to prison. After taking 30 seconds to compose himself before answering the interviewer’s question, he said: “He just said, ‘Tell my boy to win’. Typical. ‘Just tell my boy to win’. That’s it.”

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