In a time where the average house price was just over £13000, the Ford Fiesta had just gone on sale and Rocky won Best Picture; so began the first World Championship of the Modern Era. Let’s find out more about the 1977 Embassy World Championship, shall we?
WSC 1977 was the first to be held at the famous Crucible Theatre and was won by John Spencer (his third title) in a best-of-49 endeavour against Cliff Thorburn. Click here if you want to read my ‘Brief History of The Crucible’ short to find out more about this venue. Spencer won £6000 for his victory that year beating players including Ray Reardon, John Pulman and Cliff Thorburn in the final.
There were many famous debutants in the World Championship that year including Patsy Fagan and (now commentators) John Virgo, Willie Thorne and Doug Mountjoy. Doug Mountjoy was the only one of these contestants to make it (barely) past their first round match.
There were only 6 centuries made in the 1977 WSC and four of them were made by the two finalists. This was also the year that World Rankings were introduced. Of course, it wasn’t a prize money system that we’re used to seeing today. Back then, the points system were set by the governing body.
Although, it may not seem like an eventful championship, it was the beginning of a sense of familiarity and consistency going forward in the snooker environment. 22 years later, the World Championship is still held at the Crucible, setting the standard that we’re all used to seeing today; and the success of the 1977 WSC was a key contributor to this.
Fun fact: John Spencer was aged 41 when he won the WSC this year and was the oldest Crucible champion until Ray Reardon won in 1978.