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Last Updated: Friday, 18 April, 2003, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Bad Boys: 'Big' Bill Werbeniuk

Big Bill liked his drink. So much so it is alleged he sank 10 pints before a snooker match to steady his nerves.

In an era when sport stars wore tight outfits as a result of fashion dictating, Werbeniuk had no choice but to wear tight outfits because his weight fluctuated around 20 stone.

So the combination of being a heavy drinker, vastly overweight and a smoker - yes, he smoked as well - made him a cult figure on the circuit.

But like other vice-ridden players of his time, he was also very good at snooker.

Bill Werbeniuk

Werbeniuk occupied the world's top 16 for seven out of eight seasons.

The highlight of his career came in 1984 when he reached the final of the Lada Classic - he lost 9-5.

He also reached the quarter-final stage of the World Snooker Championship on four occasions.

The Canadian was a big favourite at The Crucible and always played to the crowd. On one occasion he broke wind at the venue then turned around to ask the audience, "Who did that?"

But by the late 1980s things took a turn for the worse for the loveable Canadian.

Werbeniuk began to take the drug Inderal on the advice of his doctors to help his alcohol intake.

Unfortunately, the contents of the drug were on the snooker governing body's (WPBSA) banned substances list.

Werbeniuk, though, continued to take the drug and after receiving a number of fines he quit the sport.

In his last professional match in 1990 he said: "I've had 24 pints of extra strong lager and eight double vodkas and I'm still not drunk."

Werbeniuk returned to Canada and played a bit of pool before falling on bad times.

A year before his death in January 2003 he was out of work and living on disability benefits.

The big Canadian's passing was mourned by many fans around the world, who had not only lost a popular figure but a great player from snooker's golden age.

Bad Boy rating: 4/10

Part Four: The infamous Francisco pair get the Bad Boys treatment.

Bad Boys: Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins
11 Apr 03  |  Snooker
Bad Boys: Kirk Stevens
15 Apr 03  |  Snooker
Bad Boys: Quinten Hann
24 Apr 03  |  Snooker
Bad Boys: Ronnie O'Sullivan
02 May 03  |  Snooker

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