Edinburgh’s New Yorker snooker hall closes

Former professional Chris Small fears for the future of the sport. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Former professional Chris Small fears for the future of the sport. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A POPULAR city snooker hall has closed suddenly after its parent company went into administration.

The New Yorker at Jock’s Lodge was one of 15 Rileys outlets to shut across the UK after administrator Deloitte was called in yesterday.

It is understood nine employees lost their jobs in the Capital, with a further 124 job losses around the UK.

Edinburgh snooker coach and former professional Chris Small said the closure was part of a growing trend that was putting the future of the sport in jeopardy.

The 40-year-old, who won the 2002 LG Cup before being forced to withdraw from the sport three years later due to a spinal condition, was a coach at the club towards the end of his career.

He said: “In Edinburgh now there are only three snooker clubs that I can think of, whereas a few years ago there were around ten in the Leith area alone.

“It’s sad. Scotland has always been a good nation for snooker champions.

“It’s a worry where the next generation of talent will come from. I probably wouldn’t have got into snooker if these clubs were not available.

“I think a lot of it is to do with kids just being interested in staying in the house and playing their computers, but I think in another five or ten years’ time kids will be picking up a cue again.”

He added: “It was a nice club – I had my own table there and it was a good social club for people. It’s a shame it’s shut down.”

Deloitte said Rileys’ 44 remaining bars – employing around 400 people – would continue to trade while it looked for options to secure the best outcome for the business.

The chain specialises in snooker and pool and was launched by Mancunian Edward John Riley in 1878.

As well as snooker tables, the bars offer darts, bingo and screened sports.

City councillors said they were very saddened at the closure.

Councillor Alex Lunn said: “I used to play snooker in the pub that was there before.

“I’m very saddened to see this pub go the same way as the Jock’s Lodge pub has gone recently. It’s quite a shock.

“We are still seeing the continued effects of this UK Government’s economic policy.”

Councillor Stefan Tymkewycz said: “It’s part of the trend we have seen for years – public houses closing down in general.

“It’s a shame for all the staff and the people who frequent them.”

Other Rileys bars to close around the UK included sites at Cardiff, Coatbridge, Derby, Exeter, Guildford, Hull, Luton, Peterborough, Plymouth, Rugby, Scunthorpe and Wigan.

Rob Harding, a partner at Deloitte, said: “We are now working to stabilise the business following our appointment whilst we consider our options for securing the best outcome for the company’s creditors.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com