Club looking to set up big break for stars of future

Snooker player Jimmy White (left) pays a visit to a new snooker club opening in Whitley Bay at the old Co-op building in Whitley Road and he is seen with club owner Paul Rinaldi.

Snooker player Jimmy White (left) pays a visit to a new snooker club opening in Whitley Bay at the old Co-op building in Whitley Road and he is seen with club owner Paul Rinaldi.

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A SNOOKER coach is not looking to rest as he sets his sights on unearthing the next world champion at his new club.

Paul Rinaldi, a friend to many of the game’s greats, is currently putting the finishing touches to his new snooker club in Whitley Bay.

The coach, involved in the game for over 30 years, is aiming to encourage more youngsters to take up snooker while also giving adults somewhere to play.

Paul is receiving support from some of the game’s top players, including former world No 1 Mark Williams and six-time world finalist Jimmy White, with more players promising to visit for exhibitions or coaching sessions.

Paul, who lives in Washington with his wife Alison and their daughter, is hoping to open Whitley Bay Snooker Centre by the first week of December.

He has spent around £50,000 on refurbishing the empty unit in Whitley Road, the first floor of the former Co-op building.

It will host eight full-sized snooker tables, including some used in world championship finals at the Crucible in Sheffield and two pool tables.

Membership packages will be available for adults, but Paul’s main aim is to create an academy for youngsters to hone their skills.

He said: “I’ve been coaching for 20 years, and I’ve been involved in the sport for more than 30 years. I’ve lived and breathed snooker.

“This club will be family-orientated, with the junior academy on Saturday mornings to see if we can find a new snooker champion in Whitley Bay.

“There will be tournaments for the youngsters.”

Jimmy White visited the club yesterday and was pleased with the progress he saw.

“I’ve known Paul for over 20 years and he’s always catered for the kids,” he said.

“He’s got a great love for the game, and this is going to be a great venture.

“It will be the best club in the north east. He will have professional players down every six weeks.

“There is still the same number of people watching snooker. It’s never been on the decline. There are just more channels to watch compared to the four in the 1980s when viewing figures were at their highest.

“We need someone like Paul to coach the kids properly.”