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Whiteside Delighted By Snooker’s Belfast Return

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Norman Whiteside meets Judd Trump before the Coral English Open final

Northern Irish football legend Norman Whiteside is thrilled that snooker’s top stars will be back in the country for a major tournament next month after an eight year absence.

Former Manchester United player Whiteside is a huge snooker fan and was in the crowd for the final of last week’s Coral English Open. And the 51-year-old is now looking ahead to the second event in the new Home Nations series, the Northern Ireland Open which will run from November 14 to 20 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast.

Featuring 128 leading players including Ronnie O’Sullivan and home favourite Mark Allen, the tournament will starts off with eight tables in the main arena, giving fans the chance to see many of their heroes in action. The eventual champion will receive the Alex Higgins Trophy and a cheque for £70,000. English Open champion Liang Wenbo will earn an extra £1 million bonus if he can win the last three Home Nations events.

Whiteside said: “Belfast has come on leaps and bounds over past decade and it’s a great destination for visitors and tourists. There are more big sporting events happening now in Belfast and top class snooker will be very welcome. I’m really looking forward to it. To have Alex Higgins’ name attached to the trophy is fantastic because he was so popular in Northern Ireland and was one of our great entertainers.”

Whiteside’s career highlights included scoring the winning goal for Manchester United in the 1985 FA Cup final and displacing Pelé as the youngest player to ever appear at a World Cup when he started for Northern Ireland at the age of 17 in 1982.

These days, along with working in the hospitality department as Old Trafford, he loves playing and watching snooker and has a weekly game with Sammy McIlroy.

“I always had a passion for snooker,” added Whiteside, whose top break is 60. “I used to play in a lot of charity days and pro-ams and had games against the likes of Alex Higgins, Stephen Hendry and Tony Knowles. I can sit and watch it on TV all day. The top players make it look so easy, it’s phenomenal how good they are.”

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan will be among the stars battling for the trophy in Belfast

Tickets for the Northern Ireland Open are ON SALE NOW and fans must BOOK QUICKLY because certain sessions could be sold out soon. Tickets start at just £10 and it’s an incredible chance for fans to see many of the world’s top players and live sport at the highest level.

For details call 0844 847 2455 or CLICK HERE