Jimmy White has been beaten six times in the final of the snooker world championship and on at least two of those occasions it was easier for him to have won than lost. But at the death White always managed to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. It is now likely he will be remembered only as the people's champion but he isn't complaining. White has made a fortune and then lost a good chunk of it, mostly through gambling. He's been in trouble with the law, had his share of tabloid exposes and pushed his marriage to the edge of collapse. But if one thing comes out of this sparky autobiography it is that White is a chancer and he will always keep going.
Behind the White Ball starts with an illiterate teenager getting both a street education and an income hustling in a south London snooker hall and ends with an older, a bit wiser, and literate man still making a living from his cue. But in between there is all the mayhem you could ask for; escaping irate locals after taking the money off the customers in a Liverpool snooker hall; fetching up a bit too often for his wife's peace of mind at Ronnie Wood's place--"although when I hang out with The Stones I end up making the tea"--and, bizarrely, attending Chelsea matches with Peter Cook. Whirlwind stuff indeed. --Nick Wroe
"Mercurial, enigmatic, exciting" (Alex Higgins)
"He may play a spellbinding game, full of invention and dash. He may even be the "best snooker player in the world" - but he is loved because he is naughty . . . and therein lies his abiding appeal" (Sue Mott Sunday Telegraph
"Jimmy's harum-scarum attitude to life has never altered, even though he is now a household name. One of the loveliest things about him is his naturalness. Stardom has come and touched him and left him exactly the way he was" (Sunday Mirror
"Jimmy's the ultimate player's player. He thrills the public . . . but the players get even more enjoyment out of watching him because he strikes the ball so well" (Daily Express