Throughout its chequered history, snooker has had more than its fair share of heroes and villains, champions and chumps, rascals and rip-off artists. In the last 20 years, every sleazy scandal imaginable has attached itself to this raffish sport: corruption, match fixing, bribery, sex, recreational drugs, ballot rigging, fraud, theft, domestic violence, common-or-garden violence, paranoid politicking, dirty tricks - all against a background of inept petty tsars fixated on the pursuit, retention and abuse of power.
In Black Farce and Cue Ball Wizards, Clive Everton recounts the glory and despair, the dreams and disillusion, and the treachery and greed that have characterised the game since it was invented as an innocent diversion by British Army officers in Indian in the nineteenth century. He tells the true and unexpurgated tale of snooker's transformation into a television success story second only to football and exposes how its potential has been shamefully squandered.
Donald Trelford. Telegraph.co.uk... "When I first followed the snooker circuit 20-odd years ago, I quickly learned that the sanest voice in the game - the shrewdest and most reliable, but never the loudest - belonged to Clive Everton.
I once described him here as "the sport's leading evangelist for 30 years". He has now written the inside story of those decades,
Black Farce and Cue Ball Wizards.
It tells an extraordinary tale of intrigue and perilous financial survival. He underplays his own crusading courage in helping to keep the game honest down the years through forthright campaigns in his magazine that brought down the wrath of the authorities on his head, threatening his wallet, his reputation and his livelihood with a variety of dirty tricks.
"In some Orwellian fashion", he writes, "the forces of honesty and progress had been demonised by the inept, the inert and the incompetent."
He concludes: "For snooker to have survived as a public and television entertainment, considering all the mismanagement, incompetence and worse to which it has been subjected, underlines what a great game it is."