From the Archive: Eddie Norman Retires From Darts.

Darts World recently published news of Dr. Eddie Norman’s retirement from his, hugely significant, involvement with the sport of darts:

As a former player and founder member in the West Of England Darts Super League when it was first formed way back in 1970, I would like through your columns to say a big thank you  on his retirement on January 1 2020, to Dr. Eddie Norman the founder of The West of England Darts Organisation and  West of England Super League for giving so many players past and present the chance to play top quality darts in the West of England region. 

As well as founding the West Of England Darts Organisation, Eddie was a founder member in January 1973 of the British Darts Organisation when it was established at Muswell Hill in London  along with other founder members including, Olly Croft, Sam Hawkins, Les France, Jock Cameron , Alan Mabbut, Norman Byram, Bill Sheppard and Ken Nicholas amongst others. 

Eddie was the first Competition Secretary of the British Darts Organisation. 

Eddie went on to found the World Masters, The British Open Individual Championship in Bristol and the First Home International Darts Championships between the national teams of Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England again held in Bristol. 

Further international darts matches were played  and organised by Eddie for the first time between the national teams of Ireland, Wales , Isle of Man and Scotland when they played the West of England team in Dublin, Pontypool and Glasgow. 

Eddie arranged for the  national teams of Sweden and the  full USA teams to tour the UK playing  several counties and international matches. 

In 1985 his firm The House of Darts International was included in the Queens Christmas Day Speech the first time she had ever mentioned darts. 

Dr Norman also arranged for members of the West  of England Darts Organisation to travel to Australia,  Norway,  Russia, Malta, Sweden, Gibraltar , Turkey, Singapore , Bermuda, Philippines,  Hong Kong, New Zealand, Denmark , Holland and Germany to play international matches. 

After leaving the British Darts Organisation and  the West of England Darts Organisation behind , Eddie went on to found the United Kingdom Darts Federation and the British Inter City Darts Organisation in  which  inter-city teams , including teams from  amongst others the cities of Bath, Wells, Worcester, Cardiff,Leeds,  Winchester, Exeter, Birmingham , Bristol, Gloucester, Coventry and Leicester played twelve a side matches across the UK on Saturday nights each month.  

Eddie also organised and sponsored many charity darts events for hospices and children’s hospitals. 

He founded in 1982 the World Amateur Darts Organisation in Barbados , the first individual championship  and Gold Medal being won by Bernie Manton of Worcester, with Kevin Hayes of the USA winning the silver medal and Herbie Brown of Jamaica winning the Bronze. Medal. 

Over fifty years involved in organising darts both globally and in the UK , Eddie Norman has helped to create the precursor of darts as we see see it today. . 

And on behalf of many , many players like myself who have played in darts competitions organised by Eddie, I would like to say thank you to this unique darts organiser and wish him well on his retirement after over fifty years being involved in the  organisation of the sport of darts , both globally and in the United Kingdom. 

Pete  and Valerie Barnes (and on behalf of others

Darts Historian Pays Tribute to Olly Croft

In next months DartsWorld Dr Darts, Patrick Chaplin pays fulsome tribute to Olly Croft (OBE). Here is a section of the piece:

For more than forty-five years there has been no more charismatic or controversial character in world darts than Olly Croft OBE.

I was privileged to have met Olly on a number of occasions and always found him to be very amenable and helpful and, not surprisingly, so passionate about the sport he loved. From the early 1970s Olly and his colleagues on the BDO transformed darts and, naturally, we are all extremely grateful for that.

When Olly first joined a darts team in the London Super League in 1967 he was hooked and soon became involved with the organisation of the league. At that time darts was in the doldrums and although there was an extant national darts association it was floundering and becoming ineffective. Olly, a self-made businessman, visualised the potential of darts and set about changing the game forever. He had ‘massive aspirations’ for darts locally, nationally and globally and he was to achieve them all.

After several meetings with interested parties during 1971 and 1972, Olly invited darts organisers from across the country to meet at his home in Muswell Hill in north London in January 1973 to formally discuss the setting up of a new national darts organisation. The British Darts Organisation (BDO) was established and from that day forth the game of darts was transformed, first into a national and subsequently, by the establishment of the World Darts Federation (WDF) in 1977, a world sport. Darts was no longer bound to the public house. It was all around, at live venues and on television. The world was becoming one huge oche………

The Full version of this tribute will appear in next months edition of Darts World.