Jimmy White has joined Ronnie O’Sullivan in calling for snooker chiefs to mark the anniversaries of Alex Higgins’ two world title triumphs.
It is 40 years since Higgins landed his first World Championship, beating John Spencer at a British Legion Club in Birmingham, and 30 years since the Northern Irishman defeated Ray Reardon at the Crucible to earn his second title.
O’Sullivan claims the snooker authorities “hung Higgins out to dry”.
And White believes his old friend, who died aged 61 in 2010 after a long battle with poor health, should be recognised again for his feats.
At present there are no plans in place for a celebration during the current Crucible campaign.
White told Press Association Sport: “There should be a big thing made of it.
“There was a big celebration about the 25th anniversary of Dennis Taylor’s 1985 win.
“And Higgins made the game famous, so hopefully they give him a lot of respect this year. If I go up to Sheffield I shall be wearing my Alex Higgins cufflinks. I miss him a lot.”
Higgins was frequently in trouble with the sport’s ruling body the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association during his career, and also threatened on one occasion to have Taylor shot.
The controversies in his snooker career and private life mean he left a tarnished legacy, but he remains a fondly remembered figure for many in the sport.
O’Sullivan told several newspapers: “Alex was an absolute legend but snooker dealt with him shabbily.
“A lot of people will remember him on those anniversaries and his name should be kept in the game.
“There should be a tournament named after him – or something as a permanent memorial.
“He was like our Pele or Maradona but they got what they wanted out of him and hung him out to dry.
“Those involved at the time could have supported him more for all that he did.”