A Legend of Pool has been taken… Rest In Peace – Doug Gordon

Doug Gordon

It’s with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Doug Gordon.

Many of you will have known Doug Gordon, particularly the older players, but even if you’re one of the up-and-coming new to the scene younger generation, it’s no understatement to say that our game wouldn’t even be here today if it wasn’t for Doug Gordon.

Born in Scotland, he was gifted with something special – a fearless ability to speak to anyone, to try anything, to think big, and demand more, and even a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease wouldn’t slow him down.

It was Doug, in collaboration with Barry Hearn (now OBE), that got the big American pool ball rolling over here, quite literally, all those years ago. He was a true pioneer and student of the game and its history. He loved the sport of pool through and through, and it was Doug who started the original UK Pro 9 Ball Tour – the tour that eventually gave this website it’s name.

It was the Pro9 Tour that led me to start playing pool when one day a friend from Portsmouth invited me to a Bowl-plex where they had some “new” tables. We walked in and the tables were huge like nothing we had ever seen before. We were going to give it a try apparently, but there was a crowd of people around the main table, and two very smart players in waistcoats battling it out.

One guy was playing the most outstanding shots I’d ever seen (I’d never even dreamed of a masse shot until then, and the other guy was just unbelievable). He never seemed to miss. We watched the entire game until it was finished, awe-struck and amazed by such a stunning display of quality pool.

It was a UK Pro 9 Ball Tour final, and the two players were Tommy Donlon and Ray Allard. It really was a terrific match. Donlon was playing some of the best pool of his life, and it was Allard’s home club, and he was at the height of his trick-shot prowess. We were so impressed that we bought American pool cues within the week.

Ray introduced us to Doug in such revered tones, it would have been hard not be impressed, and we all played follow the leader – Doug taking us all to Spain for the 1999 World Pool Championship won by Nick Varner, and then to Cardiff for the first Matchroom Sport World 9-Ball Championship won by Efren Reyes.

We followed Doug across the UK as his Pro9 Tour visited everywhere from the delights of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Stirling, and Glasgow in Scotland, and the length and breadth of England from London, Manchester, Worthing, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Solihull, Croydon, to Brighton, even at Leyton Orient football ground.

He didn’t limit himself to the UK either – it’s no exaggeration to say he knew every pool player and every snooker player in the world and there followed a long period when he organised massive tournaments internationally – World Championships in the United Arab Emirates, tournaments in Taiwan, the Philippines, and he even had close connections with royalty in Brunei.

A lot of people don’t know Doug was responsible for the creation of the World 8-ball Championship with his connections to the Sheikh in Fujairah.

He was a journalist for a while with a European cuesports magazine, and even owned Pot Black magazine before it was taken over by Clive Everton.

In the 70’s he transformed a former computer center/office building in a tough working class area of Portsmouth into a thriving and very profitable snooker club.

So many players have expressed a debt of gratitude, like Imran Majid who said, “He was a good guy to me and did a lot for my career. He will be missed for a long time.”

Frankly, if it happened in cuesports, Doug was there – rumour has it he used to manage pop bands in the 60’s and that he was even in the studio when they recorded the “Snooker Loopy” song!

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