Gary Wilson received an early Christmas present after his Scottish Open victory when boyhood idol Alan Shearer congratulated him for his glorious snooker success in Edinburgh.
“It would be brilliant to get a ‘well done’ from Alan Shearer – he is a legend,” said Wilson, who compiled seven centuries during his run to the £80,000 first prize. “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.”
Shearer – the Premier League’s record all-time top scorer with 260 goals and Newcastle’s most prolific marksman with 206 – obliged Wilson’s wish via Twitter saying “Well done Gary” alongside three clapping hand emojis and his iconic goalscoring celebration of a raised hand above his head.
Holding a 12-point lead over Manchester United in January, they ended the season four points behind United with Kevin Keegan’s memorable “I would love it if we beat them” address to the Geordie nation illustrating the state of despair.
Wilson crunches in long pot to start 10th frame of Scottish Open final
“I used to sit with my dad watching all the matches. There were some devastating times, but when you look back now you don’t realise how good those times were,” said the Wallsend professional.
“You think to yourself: ‘It’s only us that could have done that, could have chucked the lead away like that and lost the title’.
“Everybody thought we would win it that year, like Blackburn Rovers the year before. It looked like the writing was on the wall. We had such a good team, but just fell apart.
“The golden era was really around the mid-1990s, from around 1993 until 2000. Those were the best years for me. Obviously Sir Bobby Robson came in too and had a few good years getting us into the Champions League.”
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