Shaun Murphy admits ‘there is evidence of a fortnight-long party’ at Alexandra Palace, but says it is a ‘perfect venue’ for the Masters after Ronnie O’Sullivan’s scathing criticism of the building.
The Rocket and the Magician are set to meet in the Masters semi-finals at Ally Pally on Saturday afternoon, with O’Sullivan making some headline-grabbing comments after his quarter-final win over Barry Hawkins.
‘I just don’t like this place to be honest with you, I just find it disgusting,’ O’Sullivan said of Alexandra Palace. ‘Everywhere’s just dirty, it’s cold, I’m freezing. I have to sit here in my coat. Everywhere you go, you’re going through car parks, it’s bins.
‘I don’t know if you’ve seen over there [the media catering area]. there’s leftover food and stuff and it makes me feel ill to be honest with you.
‘I’m a bit of a clean freak. Coming here gives me the heebie-jeebies and I can’t wait to get out of here to be honest. I’m sorry, that’s just how I feel.’
Murphy had a touch of sympathy with O’Sullivan, admitting that the World Darts Championship over Christmas had left a mark on the venue, but feels its positives far outweigh the negatives.
‘I think it is very difficult to follow an event such as the PDC World Championship, and let’s be absolutely crystal clear, there is evidence of a fortnight-long party that has been in here. There is no getting away from that,’ said Murphy.
‘But it is an entertainment venue. I am sure they all have that in common. It’s an old building, it’s one of our most historical buildings in the country which we are proud to have and proud to visit.
‘I think sometimes you have got to be careful what you wish for. We have criticised venues in the past that we no longer go to.
‘I think this venue is very, very good. Could it be nicer backstage? Yes. Of course. Every venue could be nicer backstage. I think this venue is perfect. I hope the event doesn’t move.’
‘I don’t come here to spend time in the backstage areas. That is not why I am here. I am here to play and compete and do my punditry,’ said the 41-year-old.
‘However, obviously with my WPBSA board member hat on now, all of that stuff, if Ronnie has criticisms and things that he would like to constructively give, and push forward, he should come through the correct channels and make his voice heard.
‘Any member of the Tour should email myself or any other of the WPBSA board members. Like any other query, and we deal with many every single day, we will take them to the board of WST and do our best to make the Tour better for everybody.
‘It is absolutely magnificent out there. There is potential that the venue could be set up different backstage. The dressing rooms are a par three away. The players’ lounge is a par four in the other direction. It is not necessarily ideal and perhaps from that point of view, I do understand what he means, but as I say there are ways and means to vent those criticisms. We stand ready for him when he wants to come back home.’
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