Neil Roberton stunned John Terry with snooker earnings comment: ‘Wow’

Mark Selby and Neil Robertson take on the Crazy Snooker challenge

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Neil Robertson will meet Mark Williams in the first of today’s Masters snooker semi-finals. Robertson knocked out seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan on Thursday with a 6-4 win. The Australian produced an impressive performance against the Rocket, and made breaks of 119 and 130, plus three half-centuries.

His opponent in this afternoon’s clash is another of snooker’s ‘class of ‘92’ — a select group of snooker players who turned professional that year alongside O’Sullivan.

Robertson is favourite to win the tournament with Betfair, and O’Sullivan tipped him to go on to victory after Thursday’s defeat.

Gracious in defeat, he said: “Neil was the better player today. Hopefully he goes on and wins it. I like Neil, he’s a good guy.”

The winner of this year’s tournament will take home £250,000 in prize money from a total prize pot of £725,000.

In the UK Championship, the winner pockets £200,000. This figure rises to £500,000 in the prestigious World Championships at the Crucible.

Robertson offered an insight into the finances of most snooker players ahead of a match at the Masters in 2017.

Then Chelsea FC defender John Terry was in attendance at the Alexandra Palace, and the pair had met before when Robertson was invited to take his UK Championship trophy into the Blues’ dressing room before a Champions League match.

Terry, 41, enjoyed an extremely successful career and reaped the financial rewards of his success. According to Forbes, he has a net worth of £51million.

Robertson, meanwhile, has pocketed just shy of £4million in his entire career — more than enough to give him a very comfortable lifestyle.

However, he recommended the sport is not a wise career choice for those outside the top 20.

He tweeted in 2017: “At the moment it’s top 20 or you’re better off flipping burgers.”

So far in the 2021/22 season, current world number 20 Tom Ford has pocketed £42,000 according to CueTracker — less than Terry was earning in a week at Chelsea.

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Robertson told Eurosport at the time: “Shaun Murphy (the 2005 world champion) put a blog up on his website the other week saying the tour was unsustainable with 128 players.

“Due to the travelling expenses and entry fees, I know how much it costs for a player coming through.

“It is £4,000-£4,500 every year in entry fees alone. Other sports don’t charge nearly as much. It would be scandalous if they did.

“Personally, I think the fees should be scrapped. Worst case, if you win your opening match, you pay the entry fee, but not if you lose it.”

He continued: “I was telling John Terry what some snooker players are earning, and he couldn’t believe it. He just said: ‘Wow’.

“I said to him: ‘It is either top 10 or top 20, or else don’t bother.’

“You only see what people around 30 or 40 in the world are earning to see the problems.

“If you are a single guy, you can scrape by. But if you have got a family, snooker is not really a viable career choice.”

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn hit back at Robertson’s “flipping burgers” comment.

He pointed out that a player earning around £60,000-a-year in snooker — the world number 20 at the time had pocketed £56,000 — would actually earn around £45,000 once travel expenses, hotel costs and entry fees are subtracted.

It is not clear if these costs have changed with the ongoing pandemic. Regardless, Robertson pointed out that those outside the top 20 do not really have any other paths to follow if they don’t make it.

He said: “A golfer can become a top coach, or a golf shop professional. There are other avenues. In snooker, you are either a player or that’s it. If you aren’t good enough to earn, you aren’t good enough.

“There is nothing to fall back on.”

Neil Robertson vs Mark Williams is live on BBC One. Coverage begins at 1:15pm.

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