By Julian Shea
BBC Sport at The Crucible
Shaun Murphy's first brush with the World Snooker Championship saw him run after Steve Davis for his autograph as a Crucible stage-door fan.
SHAUN MURPHY - KEY DATES
1982: Born on 10 August
1997: Turns pro
2001: Wins first pro title (B&H Championships); named World Snooker Newcomer of the Year
2002: Makes first tournament 147 break; makes Crucible debut, losing to Stephen Hendry in R1
2003: Reaches last 16 of ranking event (LG Cup) for first time
2005: Wins world title
Fast forward a few years and Davis became one of Murphy's victims on his way to a remarkable 2005 title victory.
To get to the final where he beat Matthew Stevens 18-16, Murphy had to get past three former champions - Davis, John Higgins and Peter Ebdon.
Now the 22-year-old is only the second qualifier to have won the title.
And while it is a cliche that there are no easy roads to world titles, there is no doubt that Murphy achieved his incredible victory the hard way.
His route to success in 2005 began a long way from Sheffield, at Pontins in Prestatyn, where he won qualifying matches against Marcus Campbell and Joe Swail to earn his place in the championship.
Having seen off three champions to reach the final, he then trailed Matthew Stevens at the end of the first three sessions.
But he overcame these hurdles for a win to match Terry Griffiths' feat of having won the tournament after qualifying.
And his former idol Davis, who was beaten by the new champion in the quarter-finals, believes Murphy's achievement outshines that of Griffiths.
"We've not had anyone from outside the top 16 win since Terry Griffiths, but what Shaun's done is more astonishing," the six-time ex-world champion told BBC Sport.
"The game has moved on, and he's wiped the floor with everyone but Matthew.
"He's got the best cue action I've ever seen - he's got authority round the table - and composure."
Most people outside of snooker had never heard of Murphy before the tournament began and even snooker insiders were surprised to see his name on this year's trophy.
The man himself seemed so calm throughout the championship and in the aftermath of victory, it was almost as if he had been supremely confident although he admitted that at times he had been "shaking like a leaf".
But the devout Christian, who prays in his dressing room before matches, also credits his faith with helping him to stay relaxed and positive.
"It helps me focus more. It gets me concentrated in the right frame of mind. I went out there with a real belief that I had a good chance of winning," he said.
Murphy learned his trade at the Rushden Snooker Centre in Northamptonshire, but moved to Rotherham to be with his fiancee Clare.
She has been watching him from the sidelines the whole way through the tournament, along with coach Steve Prest.
Murphy's two previous visits to the Crucible were short-lived affairs, both times losing to former champions - Stephen Hendry in 2002 and Ken Doherty in 2003.
And his pre-tournament odds of 150-1 showed how poorly his chances were rated.
But his 11 century breaks made a mockery of that, and the style of his victory has ensured he will never be such a long shot again.