Ronnie O’Sullivan is quite a lad. Sometime snooker world champion, perpetually in the tabloids for his substance-assisted hijinks, he’s the quintessence of Essex wide-boy. Just don’t ask what his dad did; or indeed how long he got inside for doing it.
Suffice to say that the body was found.
Given the lad’s reputation, this week’s bemused stories of O’Sullivan fils converting to Islam in a burger bar seemed to fit into the double-decker-found-on-the-moon category of tabloid fantasy.
Encouragingly, though, it seems that the stories were based on fact and fully lived up to Fleet Street’s exacting standards of half-truth. Ronnie did go to a mosque, and was converted, but, with insouciant style befitting one of snooker’s greats, he didn’t realise what was going on.
“Actually, even when they called me to the front of the mosque I didn’t know what was happening. They were very friendly, and in my ignorance I thought it was just a social thing - their way of welcoming a stranger. I felt a bit overawed by all the people around me, especially because they were talking all the time.”
Further evidence, if it were needed, that when the tabloids proclaim “you couldn’t make it up!”, they’re really whooping “we don’t need to make it up!”
This week’s other “you couldn’t make it up!” moment, was of course, Tony Blair speaking yesterday morning:
“This is an interim report and the issue that people should focus on is this: will they disclose evidence that this a breach of the United Nations resolutions that would have triggered a war with UN support if that information had been before the UN?”
As most people will be answering that with a resounding “No”, perhaps Tony can make use of Ronnie’s bemused conclusion:
“I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to offend, and I just thought I’d keep everyone happy then politely leave. But now I know differently.”