Player Profile  John Pulman


Born: 12 December 1923. Teignmouth, Devon, England
Died: 25 December 1998
Professional Career: 1946 - 1982
Highest Break: not recorded
Highest Ranking 7th (1977/78)

Born in Devon in 1923, tall, bespectacled John Pulman became the youngest English amateur champion, up to then, when he won the title in 1946 following which he turned professional. John was at his best during snooker’s years of decline in the late 1950s and early 1960s and so was never able to fully capitalise on his ability. Nevertheless he was one of the greats of that post war era.
He entered the world championship for the first time in 1947 but lost in the qualifying round, coincidentally to Albert Brown whom he had beaten to win the English amateur title the previous year. There was no real success in the next few years with his best being semi-final appearances in1949, 1951 and in the 1953 and 1954 Professional Match-Play Championship, which had temporarily replaced the world championship. He lost to Fred Davis in the 1955 and 1956 final and eventually won the event in 1957. There were no championships for the next few years but when the World title was revived on 1964 it was on a challenge basis. Between 1964 and 1968, Pulman successfully defended his title seven times before it reverted to knock-out format in 1969.
By this time some good young players were arriving on the scene and John struggled to stay with them. He did reach the final in 1970 only to lose to Ray Reardon. His last appearance at the Crucible was in 1980 when he lost in the first round.
He retired in 1982 following an accident but continued to be involved in the game as a TV commentator. John always had a ready wit. Once when being introduced to an audience, the MC said “He wasn’t world champion for eleven years for nothing”. “Next to nothing”, retorted John, referring to the lack of money around when he was at his best.
John died on Christmas Day 1998 after breaking his hip falling down stairs. He was one of the first eight players to be inducted into the Snooker Hall of Fame in 2011.
Career Highlights
World Professional Snooker Champion 1964 - 1968 (8 times)
World Professional Snooker Championship Runner up 1970
Professional Matchplay Champion* 1957.
Professional Matchplay Championship runner-up* 1955, 1956
News Of The World Tournament champion 1954, 1957
News Of The World Tournament runner up 1971
Norwich Union Open runner up 1973
Canadian Open runner up 1975
English Amatuer Champion 1946
 (* Between 1952 & 1957 the official world championship was not contested but the World Professional Match-Play Championship, held during those years following a dispute with the governing body, is generally regarded as the world championship by most followers of the game)
© Chris Turner 2009
Back to top