MARK SELBY'S journey to be crowned world snooker champion is a real tale of rags to riches.
The Leicester professional toasted sweet success on Monday night by producing one of the great Crucible final comebacks to thwart tournament favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan in Sheffield.
Few had expected Selby to prevail, especially having trailed 10-5, but he produced a brilliant comeback to win 18-14 and pick up the £300,000 winner's cheque, before serenading the after-show party crowd with a cameo karaoke performance. Nicko McBrain, the drummer from Iron Maiden, even took to the sticks behind the new champion for an impromptu performance of his own. The celebrations lasted long into the night, but it has not been an easy ride for Selby, who grew up on a council estate and who lost his father at the age of 16.
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"When my dad passed away I was 16. I more or less had nothing," revealed Selby. "We had a council house and me and my brother and I had to go our separate ways because we couldn't really afford the house.
"We didn't want to keep it on anyway because there were a lot of bad memories with my father and everything. So my brother moved in with his girlfriend and I moved in with my friend who runs a snooker academy.
"When I lived with my dad we didn't have a lot of money. I used to go to the snooker centre once a week because that was all we could afford really. Then Willie Thorne's brother spotted me and started giving me free practice. So from going once a week I was going every day after school.
"In a way I probably wouldn't want it any different. It just shows that you have to graft to get out what you put in. If you were born with all the money in the world then everything comes easy so whether you win or you lose you just think to yourself: 'It doesn't matter, I've still got this or I've still got that'."