Gerwyn Price was again involved in a controversial exchange, during last nights Premier League. The Iceman has been involved in several controversial incidents during his short and very successful career. Will he have to change his approach?
Last night’s controversy centred around an ill-tempered clash with James Wade. Price seemed to be upset with Wade from the early stages, but the source of his upset was unclear. At one point a Price seemed to object to Wade distracting him, but the exact complaint was not obvious to the viewer. The end result was an unedifying image of Price refusing to shake Wade’s hand after his 4-8 loss.
Could it be, that Price is being distracted by his own stage persona? It is not easy to play the role of ‘pantomime villain’ in professional sport. The two most successful darts players to have adopted the role, Ted Hankey & Eric Bristow, combined an almost comic bad guy image with their huge talent in order to energise the crowd and gain maximum publicity for their brand. Both accepted the positives and negatives of this approach and gained the, sometimes grudging, respect of the vast majority of darts fans.
Gerwyn seems to be trying to learn how to manage, the character he has created, on the hoof. Combining the aggressive approach, needed in Rugby League, with the personal likability that can assist in darts is not easy. It remains to be seen whether he has the creativity or subtlety to achieve this ideal combination. If ‘The Iceman’ fails to do so he risks the same results and pressures that befell Paul Nicholson.