Like compatriot Ray Reardon, Doug Mountjoy started his working life at the coal face.
And by today’s youthful standards, he didn’t turn professional until the ripe old age of 34.
Mountjoy’s entry into the paid ranks came after his success over Malta’s Paul Mifsud at the 1976 World Amateur Championship.
It didn’t take him long to capture his first title in the pro game, defeating John Pulman, Fred Davis, Alex Higgins and Ray Reardon to become 1977 Benson and Hedges Masters champion.
That year he lost to Patsy Fagan in the UK Championship final but 12 months later defeated David ‘Silver Fox’ Taylor 15-9 to lift the trophy.
Ten years later Mountjoy, seemingly past his best despite a Welsh Professional win in 1987, enjoyed a renaissance that couldn’t have been forecast.
Working with legendary coach Frank Callan, a former fishmonger from Fleetwood, he defeated Wayne Jones, Neal Foulds, Joe Johnson, John Virgo and Terry Griffiths to reach the final once more.
Few expected him to add one more victory against rising Scottish starlet Stephen Hendry.
Once more Mountjoy responded making a record three successive century breaks and then holding off a trademark Hendry recovery to win 16-12.
That UK triumph before Christmas turned into more celebrations in the New Year as he beat countryman Wayne Jones 13-11 in the Mercantile Credit Classic final at Blackpool.
In just a month Mountjoy had amassed more than £140,000 in prize money.
He took his winning streak to 14 matches before Cliff Thorburn ended his title hat-trick bid in the European Open.
Mountjoy returned to winning ways later that season with victory over Griffiths in the Welsh Championship-his last ever title.
Mountjoy never won the world title but contested the 1981 final but lost 18-12 to an up and coming Steve Davis.
His last season on the ranking tour was 1996/97. He has since had spells in coaching and still plays the odd game with Mark Williams in Tredegar.