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Villa Ace Cash Loves Snooker

Among the many Premier League footballers who follow snooker, Matty Cash might lay claim to being our sport’s biggest fan, as he has made a break over 50 and has watched matches live at both the Crucible and Alexandra Palace.

Marcus Rashford, James Maddison, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and David De Gea are among those who enjoy a game on the green baize, in fact Maddison has had a special cue made for himself by master craftsman John Parris.

But Aston Villa defender Cash has really got the snooker bug since he first came across the sport three years ago. “My brother Adam started playing first, at the Crucible club in Reading, then I went down with him to have a game and I was hooked,” he recalls. “Stephen Hendry comes to the club from time to time but I’m not good enough to challenge him to a game yet! I have made a 55 and hopefully I can keep getting better. I recently got a table in my house though it’s only three-quarter size.

“I think snooker is a really under-appreciated sport because it’s so hard. You don’t realise how good the players are when you watch it on TV – not until you watch them live, or play yourself on a full size table. The skill level of the top players is unbelievable. They obviously have an incredible natural talent and they practise it for hours every day. I play golf as well but in my view snooker is much harder.”

Cash names Ronnie O’Sullivan as his favourite player, saying: “Ronnie is ridiculous, some of the things he can do on the table. My brother and I love him and watch snooker whenever he’s on TV. I have got to know Judd Trump and he’s fantastic to watch as well.”

The 25-year-old, who plays for Poland at international level as he has Polish heritage, visited the Crucible for the first time in 2021, and enjoyed it so much he was back last year. He then came to the Cazoo Masters for the first time in January this year.

“The Crucible is an amazing place. I can’t imagine what the pressure is like for the players when they are out there,” he said. “I have played in big stadiums in front of 80,000 people, but I’m sure that’s totally different because in snooker there is no hiding place when things go wrong, and the margins for error are so small. The first time I was in the crowd in Sheffield, I got nervous just watching them. The Masters was great as well though it’s a very different atmosphere.”