Mike Russell, is he the last of a dying breed?



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Looking at the history books sometimes reinforces a certain perspective concerning events that usually do not attract much attention at the time that they happen.

Mike Russell, along with a small group of devotees has kept the game of competitive Billiards going over the past few years. Along with holding down a day job, he has also managed to maintain his skills and travel the world in search of competition. 

What a book Mike could write, about his practise sessions with Mark Wildman and the late Jack karnehm, what it felt like to be the youngest ever winner of a world ranking Billiards title at 18 years of age and also following that up by becoming the youngest ever world Billiards champion at 20. Incidentally Mike took over the youngest ever world champion record from William Cook set way back in 1870 when he was 21.

Mike has played and beaten a list of players that reads like a who’s who of Billiards from the last few years. Players like Ray Edmonds, world Billiards champion in 1985, Mike also played against Norman Dagley twice winner of the world title and Hugh Nimmo of Scotland.

Mike Russell has played against many outstanding players from overseas, such as Eddie Charlton and Robby Foldvari of Australia, the home of the great Lindrum family and Geet Sethi and Michael Fareira from India.

I feel that it is past time that a book preserving the skills of the top class Billiard player, perhaps accompanied by an explanatory video was put together. I remember a quote from Jack karnehm that went something like this, “Mike Russell would hold his own with the greats of the 1920’s and 1930’s such as Tom Newman, Willie Smith and perhaps even Joe Davis himself” I am ill equipped to argue with the late Mr karnehm, but feel that if this is indeed the case, more should be done to preserve for future generations the skills and abilities, even in record form of this great Billiards champion.

Mike would probably be embarrassed at being described as a national treasure, but in my opinion he should receive an MBE and be accorded any other top accolade for his steadfast perseverance in keeping the subtle and at times delicate skills of top class Billiards alive. How many world titles had Steve Davis won before he was awarded the MBE? Now for services to Snooker he has seen his award upgraded to an OBE, I fully support Steve and his award but feel that recognition is well overdue for the forgotten father of modern Snooker and the players who keep it alive.

If you would be interested in obtaining a book and video of Mike Russell showing how the game of billiards should be played them e-mail me your details, who knows if enough people show an interest, this project may come to fruition.

David Smith

© Copyright March 2003 / July 2005 David Smith

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