The world of darts has become distinctly ironic over recent years. Perhaps it always was – but now, so far out, it really is in and, surely, it’s positively aching for a quality film to be made?
The UK is the world’s darts capital, though there is a huge presence around the sport in Holland, Australia, Canada and the USA in particular, was well as numerous other countries. But the UK is really where it’s at.
But for the uninitiated, it’s confusing. If you happen to see the World Darts Championship on the TV, it seems that no sooner has one finished than another one has begun – with different players in it. But both call themselves the Wold Championship.
You can be forgiven for being confused. The truth is that there are two versions of darts championships and it all goes back to a split back in 1993. This was down to a dispute between the world’s top professional players and darts’ governing body, the British Darts Organisation (BDO). The players had seen something of a decline in darts during the 80s, and so decided to form their own organisation, the World Darts Council – now called the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).
The schism remains to this day, hence the two different versions of the World Professional Darts Championships. But it’s generally fair to say that the best players go for the PDC version of events and this is the one held at the Alexandra Palace – or “Ally Pally” each year. The PDC World Darts Championship has been held at the Ally Pally since 2007 and it’s here where you really need to be for the ultimate in darts kitsch. Virtually all the players are big guys with even bigger nicknames – and each comes on stage to his own music. There really is nothing quite like this for through the looking glass glitz; but it’s something you either get in an ironic way or you accept at face value. And the audience is packed with both brands of spectator.
The big news this year was that Phil – “The Power” Taylor, who had won an unbelievable 16 World Championships failed to win.
Taylor had been hot favourite with the gambling exchange Betfair.com to regain his title yet again, but instead a new young pretender claimed the throne; 24 year-old Dutchman Michael van Gerwen. Betfair’s odds are interesting because the market is created by real darts aficionados rather than bookmakers – so the odds are well worth watching well in advance of the big events.
What will happen next year is anyone’s guess. Is Taylor finished? Is van Gerwen a worthy champion? Is darts serious or tongue-in-cheek? And will you be at the Ally Pally? Let’s face it; you really ought to be there. It’s so far out – it’s the hippest place to be!