ENGLISH OPEN: Mark Allen expresses some concerns about venue

Mark Allen. PICTURE Simon Cooper/PA Wire
Mark Allen. PICTURE Simon Cooper/PA Wire

Mark Allen has given his thoughts on the venue for the English Open after it came in for scathing criticism from Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The five-time world champion described the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley as a “hellhole” and claimed he could smell urine in the player interview area after his first-round win on Monday.

O’Sullivan expanded on his criticism on Tuesday, while fellow players Stephen Maguire and Allen also expressed some concerns.

Masters champion Allen, a 4-2 victor against Anthony Hamilton, told PA Sport: “You hear Ronnie’s version and you hear World Snooker’s version, (I am) somewhere in the middle probably. I’ve played in better, but I’ve played in worse as well.

“The crowd and the public doesn’t bother me, it might bother Ronnie a bit more, he gets a bit more attention, it’s just everything’s a bit scattered.

“It’s just a poor layout but that’s not the venue’s fault. It’s probably World Snooker’s fault for picking here, if anything.”

O’Sullivan insisted he does not want to be “traipsing through kids with snorkels” on his way to a match.

“I don’t think it is harsh at all, the facts are the facts,” the 42-year-old told Eurosport.

“I think the venue is OK, what they should do is hire the whole back of the venue rather than have the snooker part here and then you have to walk through the bowling green to the press conference.

“When I was walking through there yesterday (former world champion) Peter Ebdon was walking through and one old boy shouted ‘Can you stop walking while I’m trying to play bowls?’.

“Peter looked around because he thought he was joking but he was really serious and he went ‘I’m going to start walking through when you are playing snooker’.

“You have to go through the main foyer - you don’t want to be traipsing through families going swimming with kids with snorkels and flip-flops on and you’re about to play a match or to do a press conference.”

The venue, meanwhile, said it was “sorry and disappointed” to hear the negative feedback.