Snooker champion is retiring after running a South Shields club for 33 years

An amateur snooker champion is finally taking a break - after dedicating his life to the sport.

Chichester Snooker Centre manager John Maughan retires after 33 years.
Chichester Snooker Centre manager John Maughan retires after 33 years.

John Maughan has been manager of the Chichester Snooker Centre in Chichester Road, South Shields, for the last 33 years.

Today is the 70-year old’s last shift at the club - and this time he says means it following a failed attempt at retiring five years ago.

John Maughan and wife Angela.

The father-of-three from West Park, South Shields, said: “This time I mean it. I really am retiring,

“I’m 70 now and you just don’t know what’s around the corner.

“A lot of my family work here, and the staff and the customers are like family too, so it’s very hard to leave.

“I’ve invested so much time here, I will obviously be coming back a lot because everyone I know is still here.”

John, who is married to Angela, took over the running of the club in the late 1980s.

Prior to this he spent his youth and early adult years attempting to become a professional player and travelled the country with his father and family to compete.

By the time John was 13 he’d won his first tournament - the Consett and District Senior Billiards,.

In 1965 he became the UK Junior Champion and then went on to secure the UK Youth Championship in 1968,

The next step for John was to become a full-time professional player - but the cards weren’t in his favour due to the way the sport was organised.

At the time the English Professional Billiards and Snooker Association only allowed 32 players to become full time professionals and take part in its tournaments.

Despite having the required number of points to enter - he was never accepted by the committee.

John said: “It was hard. Suddenly I had to chance my career path, everything I had ever hoped was taken away. I had to leave the circuit.

“It was very much a closed shop back then. I was good enough to be professional but they said otherwise and there was nothing I could do.”

Realising his dream of becoming a pro-player was over that John accepted the role as manager of the club.

He said: “It’s been brilliant working here, I no longer play now, I am past my sell by date, those days are over.

“But the club will always mean the world to me.”

John now plans to spend more with his wife and family at their caravan in Haggerston Castle.