Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Hector Nunns

Newcastle nut Gary Wilson wants to show off Scottish Open trophy at St James' Park

Newcastle United fanatic Gary Wilson would love to show off the Stephen Hendry trophy at his beloved St James’ Park after a huge career breakthrough.

The 37-year-old from Wallsend matched the exploits of high-flying Magpies in the Premier League by sensationally claiming a first ranking title at the Scottish Open.

A 9-2 thrashing of Leicester’s Joe O’Connor in the final came after knocking out world No1 and reigning and record seven-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan earlier in the event.

Wilson’s story is an inspirational one. The new world No18 fell off tour in 2006 and spent seven years driving a cab on Tyneside, working in a frozen food factory and also behind the bar in his local pub.

And more recently in his second stint as a pro Wilson – a former Crucible semi-finalist who had lost his two other big finals – suffered badly with depression following the first Covid lockdown.

‘Tyneside Terror’ Wilson has seen Mark Selby, John Higgins and Graeme Dott parade trophies at Leicester, Celtic and Rangers respectively.

And he said: “I would really love to show this trophy to the crowd at St James’ if that were possible – doing that has always been one of my dreams, but I had never won a title!

“I have seen other players do that at their football clubs, and we have such a good stadium and massive fan base that would be unbelievable, amazing. That would mean the world.

“I have never been in that position. I have been shown around the ground and the dressing rooms and stuff in the past, but that has always been in the back of my mind.

Wilson played some of the best snooker of his career to get over the line in Edinburgh (VCG via Getty Images)

“So if there is anyone out listening there who could help make that happen…please do! With how well Newcastle are doing too… it’s going so well.

“I am in contact with former players – Peter Beardsley, and Keith Gillespie. Keith can play snooker, he’s not too bad, and I also met John Beresford and Darren Peacock, from the ‘entertainers’ era.

“It would be brilliant to get a ‘well done’ from Alan Shearer – he is a legend. He may not remember this but he took part in an exhibition along with Shay Given with me and a couple of other juniors.

“Winning this title and holding the trophy, it does seem light years away from some of the times I have had in my career.

“Some of my experiences when I was off the tour and doing other jobs have helped form my character. I am almost bored of talking about it - bhat spell in my life is a long time ago.

“But it obviously contributed to where I am now. And it might serve as inspiration to other players waiting for their chance.

Wilson is now dreaming of parading the trophy at St James' Park (Getty Images)

“It shows no matter how low you feel, if you believe deep down that you have got something to offer and can make a living and do something, you have to keep going and keep trying.

And I am proof that you don’t even have to be on a good roll to get there and do it.

“I took something and enjoyed aspects of all the jobs I did in those seven years off tour, especially the people I met.

“But the frozen food factory work was the worst - really monotonous as you would expect, on a production line for eight hours a day just doing the same thing over and over.

“Frozen food, just going into the -18 freezers and bringing stuff in and out…it wasn’t the best. And it’s a far cry from what I am doing now.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.