http://www.thesun.co.uk/scotsol/homepag ... ggins.html
SNOOKER legend Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins is recalling the Halloween night he put the frighteners on the rock wildboys from Oasis.
He says: "Noel and Liam Gallagher grew up in Burnage, where I used to live in Manchester.
"One Halloween, Liam came to my door, but I was still a bit rough from a heavy session at a nightclub, so told him to 'f*** off'.
"Noel then came trick or treating a couple of hours later and I was in a better mood by then and gave him a fiver.
"So when the Gallaghers were growing up, one always thought I was a great guy - and the other thought I was a total ****."
We meet at Glasgow Airport as Alex arrives off a flight from his native Belfast.
It's just gone 11am but Higgins makes a beeline for the boozer to order a pint of Guinness.
He's a shocking sight these days - a bag of bones and pale shadow of the man who won two world championships in 1972 and 1982.
Wild living and throat cancer have ravaged his body leaving him as thin as a snooker cue and speaking in a barely-audible whisper.
His body may be wasted, but the fire still burns brightly in his eyes.
It doesn't take much to set him off.
Spotting his snooker cue case has been bust open in transit he launches into a tirade, fuming: "F***ing baggage handlers.
"They don't give a f*** for people's possessions. I'd love to get my hands on them."
Higgins, 60, is in Scotland for this weekend's Legends of Snooker tournament at the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes.
He jokes: "I never did well when I played in Scotland. I always ended up too p***ed.
"The pressure's off now of course, but back then I was hero-worshipped.
"Fans loved the way I played. Ever see James Garner in the movie Maverick?
"That was me. I was a maverick in real life.
"Like Garner I would get myself out of some tricky situations." Alex got his nickname Hurricane for his lightning speed around the table, barely waiting for the balls to settle before taking his next shot.
But it was his heart-on-his-sleeve passion which made him a huge star.
He famously broke down in floods of tears, hugging his wife and young daughter in front of telly millions when he was last crowned world champ.
Sadly, it was all downhill from there. He soon split from missus Lynne, the mother of his kids Lauren and Jordan.
Higgins became more famous for his drink-fuelled rages, bust-ups and stormy love-life - including the time he was stabbed by former call girl lover Holly Haise.
He also blew a £3million fortune along the way. In 1986 he was slapped with a £12,000 fine and a two-year ban for headbutting a match official. He got in hot water in 1990, when he threatened to have fellow Ulsterman Dennis Taylor SHOT.
His infamous temper flared up again at the 1991 UK Open.
He eyeballed his opponent, the then spotty Scot Stephen Hendry, and warned: "Hello - I'm the devil."
Alex smiles: "Oh I used to terrorise players, like the first time I played Stephen.
"I would shake their hands and not let it go. Anything to unnerve them. All's fair in love and war.
"Do you know what their biggest problem was with me?
"Jealously. They hated the fact the focus was on me and that I had a presence around the snooker table.
"They also didn't like my wind-ups.
"Sometimes they worked. Sometimes they didn't. But I beat Hendry that night."
Sadly Alex's memory fails him on this occasion. Despite the 'devil' warning Stephen went on to trounce Higgins 9-4.
Alex adds: "I'd love to play Hendry this weekend.
"I'd have to get the old devil horns out again for him."
But Higgins - who smoked and boozed throughout telly tournaments - firmly believes sports need more hell-raisers.
He says: "It's all too namby-pamby now with players sipping mineral water - where are all the pints?
"They've also made it easier.
"Look at golf, with those big golf club heads that means they can hit the ball for miles.
"And don't get me started on tennis. They've made the racket bigger for the fast servers.
"Even snooker has changed the tables which means you get a lot more breaks of over 100 than you ever did when I was first playing. It was a lot harder in my day." There's no doubt Higgins is the last of a dying breed, somehow out-living his booze buddies Oliver Reed and George Best.
He says: "Everyone knows about the George Best and Miss World story.
"But no one knows I was in the same hotel, doing exactly the same with another model."
Alex now spends his days in the pub and bookies in a run-down area of Belfast and makes a living playing exhibition matches where he can still hit breaks of over 60.
He smiles: "Not bad considering I don't practice."
Higgins proudly shows off a wonky-looking DIY cue he's patched together with strips of yellow Marigold gloves for a grip.
"Look at that - straight as a die", he says more in hope than anything, adding: "It's still a work in progress as I've got to make some more adjustments. I've brought plenty of Araldite with me this weekend though."
Once a maverick, always a maverick... the only time Higgins clams up is when asked to discuss the current state of his health.
He shrugs: "Well, I'm still here aren't I?
"But I'm off the fags now - mostly. Just one or two a day."
As for Oasis, Alex says he was saddened when the group split for good earlier this year, but adds: "They'll get back together. Money talks."
He chuckles: "Well it certainly did all those years ago when I told Liam to f*** off."
Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins is topping the bill tonight when he takes on Cliff Thorburn in the 110sport.tv Legends of Snooker at the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes. The tournament, which starts at 2pm, also features Jimmy White, Tony Knowles and Stephen Hendry.
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