Ronnie O’Sullivan backtracks after ‘very bored’ and ‘very flat’ Northern Ireland Open digs

“The way it was put across it looked like I was saying the fans are not… it’s not up to the fans, it’s the auditorium [which] wasn’t set up right and that’s no fault of the fans or anybody.

“When you’ve got fans down the side they gee you up, keep you going and it does create a different atmosphere so I’d just like to put that straight because obviously every snooker fan is like family to me so I’d never criticise any snooker fan.”

And, for good measure, he gushed about the supporters at this event being some of the best around.

“When I’ve had my downs they’ve always carried me through so I will never ever forget that and I never take that for granted,” O’Sullivan added.

“They mean so much to me. So yeah, it was never a slight at the crowd, it was more that I think the venue, the setup, doesn’t allow there to be a very good atmosphere.

“It’s difficult to play under those circumstances, that’s what I was trying to say.”