Mark Selby has been granted the chance to parade his World Championship trophy at Leicester City’s KingPower Stadium on their Premier League return.
‘Leicester Jester’ Selby, 31, is a devoted Foxes fan – and pulled off a stunning comeback victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Crucible final in May to win a first world title.
That came shortly after Leicester had sealed promotion back to the top flight by winning the Championship last season.
And now the full house of 32,000 against Everton this Saturday will get the chance to see two trophies and hail another of the East Midlands city’s favourite sporting sons.
A club spokesman said: “We are delighted to let Mark have his dream chance to show off his world championship trophy at the KingPower Stadium.
“It will either be before the start of our first match back in the Premier League against Everton on Saturday, or at half-time.
“We were all very pleased to see him win a first world title, the city had a lot to be proud of in the Spring.”
Selby reckons it will make for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show his pride for his roots and home city after his own triumph.
The only ‘downside’ for the player from locking horns with the Rocket over two days was missing the club's promotion open-top bus celebration.
And Selby, who won the Riga Open on Sunday to get back to No1 in the rankings, would love to make up for it in style.
He said: “I saw as soon as the fixtures came out that there was a home match on opening day in the Premier League.
“And I would love more than anything to parade the World Championship trophy at my home stadium, it will mean so much.
“It happened once for the Masters a few years ago, but obviously this was the big one.
“I speak to Leicester legend Alan Birchenall who I know well, he often does the chat on the pitch with ex-players at half-time at Leicester.
“And I noticed it especially because I am in the country, we are away in China and other places so much these days. It is a rare weekend off before Germany the following one.
“The stadium will be buzzing, a full house of 32,000 – and I was gutted to miss the parade, though it was all in a good cause as I won the final against Ronnie.
“It was a great few days for the city, with the promotion to the Premier League as well.
“World Snooker have told me I can keep the original trophy for now but I’m not sure how long that will last, I might have to give it back at some stage.”
Other snooker players have celebrated in similar fashion.
John Parrott was given a warm reception with the trophy by Liverpool fans at Anfield in 1991 despite his Everton associations.
Manchester United supporter Ken Doherty got to take the applause at Old Trafford after his Crucible win in 1997.
And Scot Graeme Dott asked for sponsors 888.com’s Celtic-like green ribbons to be changed to blue ones before parading the trophy at Ibrox, home of fierce rivals Rangers.
Photograph by Monique Limbos