The Crafty Cockney – The Ultimate Legacy

Eric Bristow would have been 63 this year. One of the modern darts’ founding fathers, and easily the game’s most intriguing character, Eric is remembered for many different things, by differing generations. But it should never be forgotten that he was truly exceptional and created the package by which we measure those who follow. 

The Crafty Cockney graced multiple magazine covers, including our own, for almost fifty years.

Along the wall in my ‘darts space’ are a few framed photos on prominent display. Each features a player who has made a contribution to the game or offers an interesting subject for the those who visit. 

We were recently visited by a very senior figure in the darts business. As the conversation flowed our guest, glancing at the ‘Hall of Fame’, asked why each player was there. We soon arrived at the largest photo; a signed early 1980’s shot, of The Crafty Cockney. The picture signifies the invention, and perfection, of modern darts. 

To my great surprise, the reply came “Yes, but was he really that good?  I gave the short version of Eric’s ability but was absolutely amazed that the question was asked. Obviously, as time passes, new generations have come to the game in the era of The Power, Fordham, Hankey and MVG. Their view of those who built the platform, for today’s icons, is similar to how we might look back at black and white footage of golfers, tennis stars or footballers. 

But it will not stand that such titans, and Eric especially, should simply merge in with a group of dimly remembered figures. By almost every measure Eric ranks as one of the top three players to have played the professional game, and there is a very strong case for him to be the most important: 

No More Worlds Left to Conquer 

The Crafty Cockney, starting when only 23 years old, won five world championships, in seven years, including two back-to-backs and a hattrick. It is often forgotten that he also reached another five finals. Every win was over a top-five player and every loss was to a darting titan. During this entire period there was only one World Championship, and it featured every top professional of the time. The format was also very short in the early rounds.  

Two young mavericks who transformed their sports and lived life on their own terms.

There is no one, other than Phil Taylor, who gets close to Eric’s effort. After Barney joined the PDC in 2007 you could make a case for the field being similarly strong to those from pre-1994. ‘The Power’ claimed only three World titles over the next decade. 

Filling the Cabinet 

The second greatest event during this era was the World Masters. It was incredibly difficult to win, being unseeded and played from floor to stage. Eric won his first Masters at the age of 20 and claimed a total of five between 1977 and 1984. No player, from any era, has gotten close to this. Bob Anderson’s three in a row was outstanding and, perhaps, the closest there will ever be. Eric also claimed back-to-back News of the World events, one of only three to do so, and the World Cup singles crown four times on the bounce. Neither Phil nor MVG managed to add the World Cup Singles to their lists.  

In addition, Eric won multiple versions of the Matchplay (British and World), The Grand Masters, Golden Arrows, and every other major/TV event available to him. Even after his glory years, he picked up a World Pairs title (PDC) to go with his earlier WDF version. All-in-all Eric collected a total of over thirty ‘major’ events, in a day when there were far fewer, and with a united field of the highest quality. 

Peak Performance: 

With the modern obsession with averages the fact that current players hit 100+ averages at a stroll is often used to belittle those who have gone before. This, however, is both false and unfair. Eric hit what he needed to hit to subdue his opponent and win the match. His 103+ to defeat Jocky Wilson in the 1983 World Cup final and his 101 to defeat Kieth Deller in the 1983 Masters (final again!) were remarkable at the time and would stand up in many finals today. The Crafty Cockney recorded a 105+ vs Alan Glazier earlier in 1983; this remained unbeaten until Phil Taylor claimed a 107+ eight year later.

In the days of this image Eric was known as ‘ The Boy Wonder’.

Two matches that demonstrate Eric’s ability are the final of the World Masters in 1984 and the World Championship Final of 1985. They display his sheer talent and his matchplay and psychology skills in perfect harmony. Deller was defeated as much by psychology as by scoring, whereas Lowe was battered into submission with a blizzard of 180’s in the early stages. (Check them out on You Tube!) 

As a final point it should be remembered that as well as the natural advance of any skill over time, the equipment and technology improvements that have been made since 1983 have been dramatic. Darts, stems and flights but especially boards and professionalism, have developed massively. The scoring areas of modern boards (especially in the PDC) are considerably larger and no longer surrounded by rounded wires, staples and other such obstacles. Combined with the conditions, security of income and volume of opportunities to play top-level darts, the modern player has a big advantage. 

If we grant Eric even 10 percent, for these handicaps, his performance level would move up to around 115+. This would put him straight into the top three of all time! (Add in his usual determination to be the best and who knows?) 

Creating the Template: 

In addition to Eric’s remarkable ability, and phenomenal winning record, it should not be forgotten that true ‘oche legends’ are not only remembered for their scoring, or finishing, alone. They are remembered for a mix of their sporting prowess, on-stage image, off-stage personality and what they bring to, and leave for, their sport. Bristow brought us an unmatched package of skill, unrivalled competitiveness, pomp, aggression, flair and humour.  

Eric Bristow created the template for the professional dart player.  He also went out and sold it to the world. It is very hard to think of any other player, past or present, who can compete on those terms. 

An iconic image for a ‘Legendary Legacy’. (Pic:L Lustig)

 From originally being the ‘Boy Wonder’ to bestriding the darts world, as The Crafty Cockney, Eric Bristow left a legendary legacy that deserves to be preserved, protected, and promoted in equal measure. 


Originally published in Darts World magazine (Issue 569) during the Covid-19 Lockdown of 2020.

(JR adapted an article he had recently published at dartsplanet.tv in order to remind fans of our sports happiest times, many of which Eric had played a major role in.)

World Champion’s New Check-Out!

John ‘Boy’ Walton was recently spotted ‘putting in a shift’ Co-op in Sheffield.

With supermarket staff performing a vital task, during the current Covid dominated times, its no surprise to see darts stars on the front lines. Former (Lakeside) World Champion Walton is no exception.

Walton, 58, was reported, by The Sun Newspaper, to be working in a branch of the well known food and convenience store.

The paper claimed “he was spotted stacking shelves by the BBC’s Dan Walker”.

Dan tweeted:

“What a treat to bump into 2001 darts World Champion John ‘Boy’ Walton at our local @coop_food in Sheffield.

“Lovely chat in the home baking and canned fish aisle.”

Darts champions have never been afraid of hard work. Martin Phillips famously returned to work ‘on the bins’ after a tremendous run in the Grand Slam of Darts. Diminutive PDC player Darren Webster regularly posts pictures of his work in ‘the trades’. Legend has it that Phil Taylor made toilet chain handles for a living.

So, fair play to Team Datadart thrower ‘John Boy’ for his efforts in keeping food on the shelves. Darts World and, we’re sure, the wider darts family will look forward to seeing you back ‘on the Oche’ very soon.


Pix: (Tip Top) BDO

Freemium Day 4: MVG’s Dominance and Welsh Open Winners!

Darts World’s alluring Freemium area is designed to give you easy access to over 50 issues of the historic print magazine, completely free of charge!

Who can forget our June 2016 issue where we proclaimed the dominance of Michael Van Gerwen and offered some innovative coaching tips and new routines to help you improve your game.

The popular Welsh Open, with winners Deta Hedman and Scott Mitchell, was also featured. Head on over to our special ‘Lockdown Archive’ and see what takes your fancy.


With a recent change in ownership, Darts World is embarking on a new era in its history and exciting times lie ahead, including some innovative developments that are coming this summer. Make sure you keep up to date at dartsworld.com

In the meantime, enjoy our gift of free content to you by clicking here and signing up: FREEMIUM

Wayne Warren: I am Done With The BDO.

Wayne Warren does not have much sympathy leftover for BDO’s current leadership and therefore does not believe in a future for the formerly powerful organisation.

“If god threw darts he’d through em like Wayne Warren!”

He won the BDO World Championship back in January, but now 57-year-old Wayne Warren says he no longer believes in a future for BDO. Instead, he chooses to focus on WDF tournaments and a possible future in the PDC next year. Warren was speaking to journalist Phil Barrs

Warren won the BDO title on January 12, after defeating his compatriot Jim Williams in the final. However, the victory resulted far from the career boost that any previous world champion could have expected in advance. 

Because after the victory Warren received only £23,000, a fraction of the previous year when Glen Durrant claimed the title. In fact, Warren’s prize money was the lowest cash prize awarded to a BDO World Champion since 1989.

Wayne stated:

Everyone dreams of becoming a world champion. I’ve been dreaming of that myself since I was a kid…..

– But getting what I got – it can’t be right, can it? It’s a nightmare, not a dream.

Wayne Warren’s frustrations stem, among other things, from the fact that players prior to the BDO World Cup had been informed that the prize money would be reduced – though not to the extent that it was. Warren seems to blame BDO chairman Des Jacklin for.

“The only thing Des has done just a little bit right was to move the World Championships to the O2. 

But what he has done otherwise has not been good enough…..

“We knew full well that the prize money would not be £100,000 at all, but I had heard rumors that it would be £50,000 or £60,000. “So I couldn’t fathom it when I got an email saying it was reduced to 23,000 pounds. It’s a damn big reduction”

Wayne continued.

“The original premium would have been life-changing for someone my age. It is simply a joke. It’s a disaster, to be honest. 

BDO is done. There will be no more BDO if you ask me.

“BDO no longer has my interest. I want to dedicate myself to WDF tournaments now, and then we take it one step at a time. But BDO is done for me….”

Although Warren turns 58 by June, he still has ambitions for a future in the PDC, to which he expects to attend Q-School until January.

” I expect to attend Q-School. I was originally signed up this year, but when I got that email from BDO, ……. so I didn’t have my head with me. 

But I have the level of winning a Tour Card, Wayne Warren concludes.


A different form of this article was originally published, here.

Words: Daniel Tyge Thybøl

Darts World Completes Exciting Takeover!

Darts World, the oldest and most widely read magazine in the sport will continue its proud heritage with news of an exciting new takeover.

Part of the ongoing plans include a comprehensive new print schedule and a massive range of engaging digital content.

A spokesperson for the new Darts World said:

Our latest magazine will be available very soon and we’re very excited to be working with all our writers, readers, subscribers, and sponsors that have supported us for the last 45 years.

We are extremely grateful for all the relationships that have made Darts World What It Is, and are looking forward to an exciting future!


BDO

BDO Headed Toward Liquidation.

The following notice was issued this afternoon:

The BDO’s commercial arm British Darts Organisation Enterprises Ltd files Notice of Intention to Appoint Liquidator.

BDO

The commercial arm of the British Darts Organisation – British Darts Organisation Enterprises Ltd – is set to file a Notice of Intention to appoint a liquidator in a move that will secure the future of grassroots membership darts in the UK.
British Darts Organisation Enterprises Limited was founded on 30 May 1980 and has its registered office in Tonypandy, Wales. It has been the commercial arm of the sportsmembership body the BDO, since its formation.
The Directors of the BDO have taken the difficult decision to liquidate the commercial arm as a result of the COVID crisis. British Darts Organisation Enterprises Ltd has faced increased cashflow pressure following the cancellation of a major event in Spain on the very day the country went into lockdown and due to social distancing, for the foreseeable future we are not able to run any of our other events.

Given this the company faced a cashflow crisis
which it could not trade out of. A BDO Director, stated:

“The British Darts Organisation has a long and proud record of standing by and for its members. Today’s announcement does not change that in the least. Our focus is ensuring the longevity of the organisation and despite this setback and some tough decision making, we are committed to making the BDO a successfor its members. British darts is safe.”
“We are and will remain totally focused on our members and the Notice of Intention to appoint a liquidator does not change this.”

A Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) is a formal insolvency procedure which involves the directors of an insolvent company voluntarily choosing to bring their business to an end.

The Directors will work closely with the Administrator to ensure creditor claims are addressed.

However, our message to the membership is that our organisation is financiallysecure and that our commitment to British darts as a sport for everyone remains now and in the future,” concluded a BDO Director.


BDO Adopt ‘Back to the Future’ Strategy: Jacklin Re-Takes Chair.

Des Jacklin has returned to the hot seat of the BDO, little more than a month after deciding to stand down.

Des Jacklin (right) return to the ‘hot seat’ as Chairman of the BDO

Jacklin was returned to the board during Sunday’s meeting after several representatives encouraged him both to stand and then to accept a position.

Most understood that Des would not be returned to the Chairman’s position although that seems to have been a premature assumption. Jacklin, who resigned on March 17, was thought to be vulnerable to difficulties, related to financial questions, at the forthcoming AGM.

In a reversal of such thought, 24 hours later, he has been confirmed as BDO Chairman once more after receiving a unanimous vote from the new group of board members.

It was noted that Jacklin’s impassioned support for the BICC structure had convinced a majority of representatives to support him, he certainly seems to be presenting a strong front.

The past four weeks has given me the time to reflect on the events of the past 18 months and re-evaluate my position, thoughts and vision required to take the company forward.

On a personal level Jacklin seems keen to put the past behind him and get on with the task at hand:

“I also feel I’ve had chance to re-charge my batteries, so to speak.”

The new Board of Directors is made up of Jacklin (BDO Chairman), Peter Gilchrist (Vice-Chairman), Stephen Gittus (Financial Director), Bob Foster will act as Commercial Director, and Graham Manning representing players.

Jacklin highlighted many issues that he intends to tackle with fellow board members, these included recovery of funds from a hotel company and the dealing with social media and its impact on the BDO.

 “We will be appointing a committee whose purpose is to monitor social media and more importantly where the BDO, its directors, county officials and players fit in.

“We will be taking a very hard stance on what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour and as soon as this is in place, all counties will be expected to adopt our new ruling.

“As soon as this is legally adopted, there will be a consequence to your actions both in the way of fines and exclusion.”

A full explanation of the current position, including the above quotes, was sent to the Counties yesterday in letter form.

Jacklin ended the letter by thanking those that had given him the “kick in the rear” he needed to accept the position and vowed: “together we will win.”


Darts World understands that the meeting on Sunday, and the discussions before and after it, have been very constructive and that a plan was in place that would enable the organisation to move forward legally and positively.

It is unclear how the events of the last 24hrs will affect these plans. It is our sincerest wish that all outstanding matters are concluded, in the best interest of darts and players, speedily in order that any new structure can hit the ground running as soon as life (post covid-19) returns to more normality.

Jacklin Returns To BDO Frontline.

After yesterday’s marathon meeting, remote obviously, the BDO seem to have opted for a “Back to the Future” approach. Des Jacklin has been reelected to the board, after resigning earlier this year, and several other directors have been chosen.

Can a ‘Back to the Future’ help the BDO?

Despite the immense difficulties that seem to exist, in terms of establishing the viability of the constituent companies, it is reported that there was a strong collective will to resolve many of the outstanding issues, with particular regard to the BICC and ensuring its long term future.

Reaction on social media was much as could be expected with current and former players expressing their incredulity at Des’s return. Dave Whitcombe, with tongue planted firmly in cheek tweeted:

Fantastic news that Des is back.

The players must be overjoyed at this and looking to a great future within the BDO.

I’ll get me coat.

Dave Whitcombe via social media.

It may be that the BDO have managed, yet again, to snatch a defeat from the jaws of ‘victory’ with the decision for Des to return. Although credit must be given to Des’s passion, and ability to inspire loyalty, the vote was far from universally supported.

It is to be hoped that the work of many who have tried to salvage something from the current wreckage, including the excellent work done by Frank Branscombe, in trying to put a workable solution in place, and safeguard various areas for the future, are not to be in vain.


DW Editorial Team: Once again we wish all those involved every success in restoring the BDO to once again be able to promote our game and support those who love it.

Darts World Logo

Remember The Wider Darts Family!

Darts World has been quick to commend many members of the darting community for their efforts during the Covid-19 isolation and lockdown periods. It has been superb to see the major darts brands look after their staff and attempt to carry-on if possible. The PDPA stepped up and are trying to assist the lower ranked players. Phil Taylor is playing isolation darts with Barney and there are many other examples.

Independent darts folk such as our own John Fowler have been very badly affected and are worried what the future holds. Unlike many they are not always covered by the various schemes.

However, it may be that a less high profile group are in danger of getting lost in the fog of activity. There are many people in darts who are self employed or casually paid. They help make our sport the grassroots-to-elite level pipeline that it is. Photographers, writers, promoters, coaches,drivers, MC’s and markers/officials are just some that have cropped up via our conversations recently.

We would ask those who are lesser affected (and can afford or manage) to help out of they can. Perhaps you could book an event for next year? A birthday treat or team celebration? Pay a deposit and help the cashflow of these folk. Alternatively, you might treat yourself to a subscriptions, t shirts, mug or other merchandise that may help an individual stay afloat and remain in the darts business after this tough time is over?

A healthy darts scene will require many hands to get back up to full steam in the coming months and we at Darts World would like to see “no man left behind”.

BDO

From The Archive: Around The Circuit.

During the Covid-19 difficulties we are publishing a series of articles, from various Issues, of Darts World Magazine. Often our most popular pieces are regular round ups from certain areas or with a special interest. Around the Circuit is one of those.


Liz Fletcher -Wright from late 2019 (Issue 564):

Masters Mayhem?

What a week it was at the World masters draws redraws seedings fictitious names you name it you could not have made it up, everyone blaming everyone else admitting they put in names in case they missed someone out how ridiculous, being held to ransom by 13/16 of the ladies seeds.

BDO Logo
BDO – Oops?

The draw in my opinion was wrong and should only have had 8 seeds in the ladies, yes people and players are still talking about this issue today it really does leave the doors open to many events regarding putting in false names just to try and seed 16 players, does this really happen I would hope not, however if common-sense had prevailed to allow 16 seeds you would needed to have put in 129 names.

Anyone who has to do a draw at any big major tournament, and the World Masters is one of 3 majors, so it needs to do it correctly, each player and representative who entered into the World masters had to pay £20 to make sure they were registered, the BDO must have had all those names down and with those payment it gave a correct figure of how many players had entered. The correct monies sorted out beforehand to register (that should have been sufficient) the draw to be out within 72 hours of the event, for such a big event as the WM where there has never been such a turmoil in both the ladies and the men’s was really quite embarrassing for some.

I could go on, but I just know that whatever is said and whatever happened it was everyone else’s fault except the organisers of the tournament.

Now apart from that the last 16 men and the last 8 ladies who were on the television it went really well at the Circus Tavern, the darts were awesome, it was not as busy as expected however the support was superb for every player, the commentary was second to none and it made a change to watch some excellent darts from both the men and the ladies.

Congratulations to John O’Shea and Lisa Ashton on securing both World masters Titles, such a shame the Trophies they gave out were abysmal for such a major Tournament, I have given out better for my players player of the year. That’s all for now regarding the World Masters it has finished now but plenty of lessons learnt from this I hope, and someone should be accountable for the errors.

The Grand Slam 2019:

After the World Masters it was the Grand Slam of darts in Wolverhampton where they decided to allow 6 men and 2 ladies from the BDO to enter this tournament, it has always been 8 BDO men and it was refreshing to see this change, the last time the ladies were invited was in 2010 when Tricia Wright and our lovely friend Stacy Bromberg, who is no longer with us, both those ladies played in the very first PDC Women’s World Darts Championship and it has never been played since 2010, these ladies played superb against the men, shame it has taken so long to allow another two very talented ladies into the Grand Slam, let’s hope they will allow the ladies to compete every year in this tournament, as they do in the PDC worlds. Or maybe Barry Hearn will do something for the ladies along the lines as the men do, maybe have their own challenge tours etc, something to think about as I am sure that a lot of ladies would go this time to play in the PDC if a ladies event was announced.

PIC;LAWRENCE LUSTIG: LISA ASHTON IN ACTION

However, both Lisa Ashton the BDO World’s Number one and Mikuri Suzuki our BDO Ladies World Champion, those two ladies gave a great account of themselves and thoroughly deserved that chance, they I am sure will have learnt lessons from this great tournament, they both did themselves proud and even though they lost they can hold their heads up high. Onwards and upwards to them both in their next tournament.

I would like to mention our lady commentator of the week at the grand Slam, Laura Turner, what a credit to commentating she is and let’s hope she gets more of this in the future, she was very knowledgeable not just on the ladies playing but the men as well, I am pretty sure that anyone out there who was listening to her would love to have her as their permanent commentating partner, not just in darts but she came over as f she had been doing this for years, well done Laura and congratulations lets hope you will be doing the same at the 02 when you are not playing, we need more lady commentators within the darts and any other sporting events.

County:

Rhian Griffiths in action (pic:BDO)

Surrey travelled away to Gwent for their 3rd game of the season, where we were hoping to gain another win, however Gwent had other ideas, our ladies B lost 4-2 LOM was Marie Barthrop with a 15.49ave our men’s B lost 7-5 MOM was Gary Trodd with a 27.71ave, going in to Sundays A games our ladies were back to winning way Laura Hewitt on her debt A game won, the ladies won 2-4 overall, welcome back to winning ways for our LOM Laura Tuner who had a 23.86 ave. Onto our men’s A who lost 7-5 our MOM was Darryl Pilgrim with a very impressive 32.17, the result ended in a win for Gwent 20-16, I would just like to mention one of the ladies from Gwent, Rhian Griffiths what an awesome talent and so good to see her back o winning ways, her ladies A average beat most of the other players men included who played over the weekend it was an incredible 30.67ave well done Rhian keep it going for the rest of the season.

Surrey lets regroup for our last home game against Kent lets get that win before the Christmas and new year break.


I would at this time like to wish all our readers Darts World and those that help me by giving me things to write about during the year of 2019, thanks to Andy for putting up with me getting my column in just before the deadline thanks for your help and being patient with me.

That’s all for now, Liz


Liz Fletcher-Wright