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John (My Uncle) was born 18/06/1935 in Radcliffe, Lancashire brother of Peter, Edna, Joyce & Robert (My Dad).

John started playing snooker aged 15 and within a very short time was compiling century breaks. After doing his national service he did not pick up a cue again seriously until 1963 and he entered the English Amateur Championship going all the way to the final only to lose to Ray Reardon.

Then was in 1964 and he reached the final again the next year but in 1966 he beat Marcus Owen to win the title. He then travelled to Karachi for the world amateur championships where he was runner-up, losing to Marcus’ older brother, Gary. He then turned professional along with Gary and Ray Reardon who became the first new professionals since 1951. The revival had begun.

Together with his great friend and rival, Ray Reardon, John Spencer dominated the game for ten years from 1969 when he won the first of the newly reorganised world championships.

He was one of the first players to perfect the ‘deep screw’ shot and to use a two-piece cue and maple cue.

John Spencer


John Spencer, one of snooker's  all time greats, died on 11th July 2006 at the age of 71.

The three-times world champion passed away at a hospice in Bolton after a three-year battle against stomach cancer.

Known as Gentleman John for his gracious manner and suave appearance, he was one of snooker’s most popular characters and a key figure in the sport’s history.

Born in Radcliffe, Lancashire, Spencer first played snooker at the age of 15. He won the English Amateur title in 1966 before turning professional.

His first world title came in 1969 and he battled for supremacy throughout the 1970s with Ray Reardon and Alex Higgins as snooker emerged from a phase of obscurity to become one of Britain’s most popular sports.

He won his second world title in 1970 and completed his hat-trick in 1977, beating Cliff Thorburn 25-21 in the final of the first championship to be staged at the Crucible.

Spencer won many other titles including Pot Black three times and the Masters once.

He was very nearly the first player to make a televised 147 - unfortunately TV cameramen were on a tea break when he made his maximum in the quarter-finals of the 1979 Holsten International - an event which gave him his last major title..

Spencerto revolutionarise the way snooker was played, notably by being the first player to use a two-piece cue.

His cue action included an unusually long backswing which gave him immense cue power, and allowed him to develop new shots using screw and side spin which aided the progression to modern break-building.

Spencer was also a commentator for BBC Sport for many years and had a keen interest in snooker’s administration.

He became a director of the WPBSA and was made chairman in 1990, where he remained for six years.

In the latter days of his playing career, Spencer was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, double-vision, which led to a rapid decline in his fortunes and his eventual retirement.

In the last few years of his life, Spencer and his partner Jean devoted themselves to raising awareness of the condition and money for the Myasthenia Gravis Association.

Last year, he discounted warnings from doctors and took part in a 13,000 feet tandem skydive with the Red Devils, which raised £26,000.

His 2005 autobiography Out Of The Blue And Into The Black details his battle against Myasthenia Gravis as well as his playing career and experiences in snooker. It many entertaining stories which illustrate his love of practical jokes.

Spencer contracted stomach cancer in 2003. After a gruelling cycle of chemotherapy, he decided to stop the treatment and "let nature take its course."

World Snooker chairman Sir Rodney Walker said: "This is a very sad day for snooker. John was one of our greatest ever champions. With his wonderful playing style and charismatic personality, he was a key figure in dragging snooker into the limelight in the 1970s.


World Professional Snooker Champions - 1969, 1970 & 1977 (runner-up 1972 to Alex Higgins)

Benson 7 Hedges Masters Champion - 1972

Benson & Hedges Irish Masters Champion - 1975

Norwich Union Open Champion 1973 & 1974

Holsten Lager International Open - 1979 : In the quarter final he made the first ever 147 maximum in tournament play, but the TV cameras weren’t running.

Pontins Professional Champion 1977

Wilsons Classic Champion - 1980

Pot Black Champion - 1970, 1971 & 1976

English Amateur Champion - 1966 (runner-up 1964 & 1965)

World Amateur Championship Runner-up (1966)

Interested in the past players, call in and see our large collection of old pictures and memorabilia