Then and Now: Neal Foulds

Eurosport - Thu, 18 Feb 13:55:00 2010

We continue our look back at some of the big names from snooker's past with former world number three Neal Foulds.

Neal Foulds file photo - 0

Name: Neal Foulds

Nickname: Buzby

Nationality: English (Born in London)

Age: 46 (DOB: 13/07/1963)

Professional: 1983-2004

Highest Ranking: 3 (1987-89)

Career highlights: 1986 BCE International Open champion, 1992 Scottish Masters champion, 1988 Masters finalist, 1987 World Championship semi-finalist, National U19 champion 1982.


Foulds made rapid progress on the snooker circuit after being granted a tour place just a year after beating John Parrott to win the National U19 title in 1982. His first season started with him qualifying for the UK Championship - as did his father Geoff who was also a professional - and finished with him causing a big upset at the World Championships where he beat Alex Higgins when the Northern Irishman was still close to his prime.

In 1986 he won the BCE International, his one and only ranking title. His consistent play saw him ranked third in the world for two successive seasons and in 1987 he enjoyed his most successful run at the Crucible by reaching the semi-finals of the World Championship.

However, soon after that he was thrust into a drugs controversy, which adversely affected his game and saw him slip down the rankings. He would go on to win the non-ranking Scottish Masters in 1992 but he struggled to recapture his former highs, although he did finish his career with over £1 million in prize money.

Best Moment: Foulds victory at the International Open in Stoke (the tournament that was commonly called the 'Players Championship') took a huge weight off his shoulders as he finally got his hands on a big trophy with a 12-9 victory over Cliff Thorburn. During the post-match presentation Foulds said: "Everyone says to themselves 'I can win a tournament' but there's a big difference between thinking it and actually doing it."

Worst Moment: The drugs controversy which really put the skids on Foulds's career came after he admitted that he had been taking 'beta-blockers' diagnosed for a nervous condition. Foulds had done nothing wrong as the drug was not a banned substance, but when the news came out the International Olympic Committee had just banned beta-blockers in precision sports, so it sparked a big debate over whether the drug was performance enhancing or performance enabling for somebody with Foulds condition.

Beta-blockers have since been banned from the sport.


Foulds, whose local club is in Ealing, retired from the professional game in 2004 but has since become one of the most popular commentators in the sport.

He is regularly in the box for the BBC at the big ranking events. He also commentates on the Premier League for Sky and writes a snooker column for them too.

Foulds has also commentated occasionally for Eurosport's snooker coverage and for Ladbrokes' in-store broadcasting service.

Away from snooker, Foulds's big passion is greyhound racing, and he has also worked as an expert on dogs for Ladbrokes.

His nickname is 'Buzby' because he talks so much on the phone - if you don't know who Buzby was, well then ask your parents!

SeŠn Fay / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account