AS a young snooker fan Brendan Moore would queue outside the Crucible with his father for the chance to see the sport’s heroes in action.
Tomorrow he will have the best view in the house as he becomes the first Yorkshireman to referee the World Championship snooker final in his home city of Sheffield.
For the 42-year-old former bus driver who only started officiating as a hobby in 2002 - has seen his new-found career fast-tracked, jetting around the world on Tour to tournaments in China, India and Australia.
But the father-of-three will not even need one of his former buses to make the short trip from his Meersbrook home to the nearby Crucible Theatre tomorrow for one of sport’s most iconic finals.
It will cap a stunning journey for Mr Moore, who used to queue up on Crucible final days hoping to snatch a last-minute ticket
“I am very excited, really looking forward to it. I can’t wait,” he said.
“It’s the pinnacle of any ref’s career. This will be my seventh final overall, but obviously this is the main one and the final everyone builds up to.
“I never started refereeing as a career, I didn’t realise I could be as good as I am or get as far as I have.
“Once I started for World Snooker and realised I could make a career out of it, then you give yourselves little goals.
“Do a final, appear at the Crucible, referee Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry. I have done all them. The next thing was the world final, and this is it, the last box ticked.
“It’s the pinnacle, but from my point of view even more so. Doing a world final, wherever it is the world would be special, but for me in Sheffield, I live just five minutes away.
“I am not trying to say it means more to me, than any other referee, because it doesn’t, but it adds a little bit more because I live within walking distance.
“All the goals I set out, come Sunday I will have achieved them.” It’s all a far cry from Mr Moore’s early days as a snooker-mad fan, who attended 10 successive Crucible finals, even if getting an elusive ticket proved a challenge.
“I used to queue up with my dad here, if we didn’t have tickets,” said Mr Moore, who first officiated at the Crucible in 2008, and in 2012 took charge of the semi-final between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Matthew Stevens. “I used to queue up in a morning, try to buy tickets on the day. I came to 10 or 11 finals on the trot, at least eight of those I had to queue for tickets. I remember one year I had to queue from 9am in the morning, I didn’t get the afternoon session, stayed in line until the evening session started and still couldn’t get a ticket. had to rush home and watch it on TV. As a kid growing up, Hendry was the man, so it was always a dream to referee him,” added Mr Moore, who is married to wife Sharon and has three daughters Lorna, Sophie and Caitlin. He is following in the footsteps of fellow South Yorkshire referee Howard Webb, who took charge of the 2010 football World Cup.