Mark Selby has revealed he was reduced to tears by the stunning FA Cup final success for his beloved Leicester City. The four-time world champion was in the 21,000 crowd at Wembley on Saturday with wife Vicky as guests of the club following his latest Crucible triumph earlier this month.
And the huge emotion of the day got the better of the 37-year-old Selby, whose last visit to the old stadium came 25 years ago with his late father David. It was already a hugely poignant day for all Foxes fans, with owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha having tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash in 2018 - and his son ‘Top’ celebrating with the players.
And recent Betfred World Championship winner Selby admitted: “I was welling up at the end, the tears were coming.
“I said to my wife Vicky that I wasn’t like that even when I won the world title a couple of weeks ago.
“And on Saturday I am standing there at the side of the pitch in a right state. There was just so much emotion involved, with what has happened with the club and also me personally.
“Obviously Leicester had the terrible tragedy with Vichai losing his life in the helicopter crash. It just seemed like fate when the Chelsea goal was disallowed.
“And the last time I went to Wembley, the old one, in any kind of final was a play-off final when they beat Crystal Palace in 1996.
“And I was standing there that day with my dad, who as many people know passed away when I was 16. So the whole day brought back a lot of memories.
“Then to see Top walking around with the players and the trophy at the end, looking up at the sky – it was very powerful. He was I’m sure wishing his dad could have been there, and so was I.
“It is such a different emotion, being there to watch Leicester win that FA Cup to my own success winning a fourth world title earlier this month.
“I do believe I can win snooker titles, and have lived and breathed it – but there is a part of me that still can’t quite believe what Leicester have done these past five years.
“I have followed them all my life, never really thought they would win the league, and never really thought they would win the FA Cup. We are still not viewed as a Man City or Man Utd. But this was a fantastic day and one that I will never forget.
“I was speaking to the TV sports presenter Gary Newbon afterwards, and he was in bits. He is in his late 70s now and was telling me he had been a Leicester fan since he was about six.
“And basically he has been waiting all his life for this, this one day, winning the FA Cup final at Wembley.
“He was there at the 1969 final when they lost, and just told me I might not fully realise how big a deal this is, being only 37 and following Leicester for 25 years or so.
“I was driving down to Wembley and was on the coffee – but I’ll watch it again on Sunday night with a little glass of something. I got there at around 3pm and saw a load of my mates from Leicester, so stood with them for a couple of hours.
“But not drinking didn’t matter, it was such a high just being there - fantastic. Inside the ground the 6,000 Leicester fans sounded like 20,000, they were so loud.
“There were so many highs in the one match – the incredible goal itself, Kasper Schmeichel’s saves, the Chelsea goal disallowed by VAR, the final whistle… When Tielemans scored it felt like I was jumping around for about an hour and a half. And when VAR disallowed their goal it was like we had scored again.”
Unlike London, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham, Leicester are a one-club city like Newcastle, Leeds and Wolverhampton. And Selby insists there is something unique in the surge of civic pride generated by such successes and occasions.
He added: “There is something special about success for the city when there is just the one club. The current owners have done loads for our city and the community. But the support has always been tremendous, we were getting 10,000 going to away games in League One back in the day.
“There aren’t many Leicester fans coming from outside Leicester, compared to many of the traditional bigger clubs.
“I did text Gary Lineker when we scored, I could see him jumping up and down on the balcony. Then he had his head in his hands during the VAR decision – but it all worked out fine.”