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Ronnie O'Sullivan: Why Jeremy Corbyn's a real contender, and my plans for 'pure snooker'

Why I admire Jeremy Corbyn, and my plans for 'pure snooker'

03/08/2015 at 16:35Updated 04/08/2015 at 15:22

Ronnie O'Sullivan is a Labour Party supporter. He publicly endorsed Ed Miliband during the General Election campaign. In penning his latest exclusive blog, the five-times world snooker champion tells Eurosport's Desmond Kane why he is impressed by Jeremy Corbyn as a possible leader of the party, and why he discovered a passion for politics. He also discusses when he plans to return to the sport.

I was sad to see the Labour party not get into power. And I'm sad that Ed Miliband is not Prime Minister because I think he would have been very good for this country.

Where do Labour go next is the question? I must admit that I like Jeremy Corbyn.

I like how he is being honest about raising taxes, and that unless you raise taxes you won't get a good National Health Service. That is just common sense, and I'm all for that philosophy.

"The NHS is like investing in a business. Unless you put into the business, you're highly unlikely to make anything from the business. It is also refreshing to have an MP like Corbyn that says it as it is. Instead of making promises that you know are not going to be kept - isn't it about time we had a PM that tells the British voters the truth? "
Labour Party leadership candidates Jeremy Corbyn, Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham (L-R) take their seats for a hustings event.

Labour Party leadership candidates Jeremy Corbyn, Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham (L-R) take their seats for a hustings event.Reuters

It is great that we have four very different candidates, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper, from different strands of the Labour Party. It is giving people so much to consider, and I think Labour will be a stronger party because of this debate.

Looking back on the election, it seems that certain tabloids again did a very good job of making Ed Miliband and Labour look like something they are not. I thought Ed and Labour would have really made a difference to ordinary people. It is people that make the difference in local communities, and I really felt Ed was for the working class person.

He seems to really care about the people less well off, and he also seems to want to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich.

I never thought about politics until two years ago. I've never voted either. These last two years have really opened my eyes about how we live in this country.

I've come to realise I'm much more in line with old labour, not new Labour or the Conservatives. I've always been stuck in my own little world of snooker where you travel and play a lot, and I’ve not paid much attention to what is going on in the outside world.

But that has changed now, and it has changed my outlook on life like you wouldn't believe. I also feel I’ve changed for the better. I now realise how lucky I've been in finding a sport I love to play and get paid for. I also get the chance to choose when I play and when I don't play.

Most people are stuck in jobs they don't like and have no choice over the hours they work. Or are struggling to find work. That can't be easy or good for the mind. It seems like London and England is coming to a tipping point. People no longer feel like living standards are good enough, and they are working all the hours under the sun to just make ends meet.

Meanwhile, you have bankers causing massive destruction. They make huge bonuses after nearly bringing the world to collapse in 2008.

They were bailed out by the tax payer, but little appears to have changed.

How does that happen? I think Labour are a party that are genuinely interested in helping the less well off in our society.

'CAN'T WAIT TO GET UP AND RUNNING'

I expect to be playing in the International Championship in Chengdu at the end of October.

I'm really looking forward to playing again, and can't wait to get up and running. The World Championship seems a long time ago now. I'm sort of in training now for the start of my season.

I played half decent in patches. It wasn't the best snooker, but it wasn’t the worst either. Something in the middle. It was all for a great cause and Paul Mount and his team put on a great event at the South West Snooker Academy. It was pure snooker, the conditions were good too.

With all that in mind, I've chosen to play lots of exhibitions around the United Kingdom and Europe to get my game ready for the start of this year's season, which for me comes in September building towards Chengdu. I may add a PTC event in somewhere along the line, but again I don't know for sure which one it will be.

"At this stage of my career, it is all about doing things you enjoy, and I really want to play some challenge matches in snooker clubs around the UK."

I want to play either Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry, Tony Drago or Steve Davis on a non-stop tour for a week, and play the best-of-nine matches every night. I want to do this at least three times a year because I think the public like these events. And it gives them a chance to see some quality matches.

I'm happy to play people in their own back yard - that's the idea of it.

John Higgins or Stephen Hendry in Scotland for a week, Ken Doherty or Mark Allen in Ireland, and Ding Junhui in China. That sort of level.

John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan at the Welsh Open (Tai Chengzhe)

John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan at the Welsh Open (Tai Chengzhe)Eurosport

'SNOOKER WITHOUT TV CAMERAS IS PURE SNOOKER'

I'm sure the fans would love that. No television, just going back to my roots, playing In front of 200-350 people, and making it an intimate atmosphere. It is how the guys from the past dId it long before there was any television.

It is pure snooker. That's what I want because the crowd can bet among themselves on who they think will win the match, or win the next frame. Or who will be leading at the interval.

Everyone can feel involved. That's how it was in the old days, it will make for a fabulous atmosphere,

I'm not against television, but I think TV sometimes distracts from the liveness of it all.

It is a bit like TV or film, and theatre. Theatre is as it happens, and you just go with it like many actors do when they go back to their roots on stage.

I love touring and playing snooker in the UK. It reminds me of my junior and amateur days. Weekends away playing snooker were the best days of my life.

It would help massively if we can get a sponsor on board to help with these ideas, but getting sponsors involved in snooker these days is not easy.

These are the challenges we face as a sport on the whole, but I believe in the product.

And if you believe in something, I don't see why you can't achieve it.

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