Darts is mourning one of its favourite sons after the death of five-time world champion Eric Bristow on Thursday. He was 60.
Bristow suffered a heart attack after attending a corporate event in Liverpool ahead of the Premier League fixture at the Echo Arena.
The Professional Darts Corporation announced his death midway through the night’s play, with fans breaking into a spontaneous rendition of “There’s only one Eric Bristow”. Rod Studd stopped commentating out of respect.
He later called ‘The Crafty Cockney’ the “biggest star darts has ever had”.
It was a fitting tribute to the man PDC chairman Barry Hearn described as “a legend”.
One of darts’ first superstar players, Bristow won his five titles in the British Darts Organisation, dominating the sport between 1980 and 1986. His first title, a 5-3 defeat of Bobby George, marked the start of his dynasty.
Here, as tribute to the Crafty Cockeny, we take a look back at some of Bristow’s memorable quotes.
“I have two bowls of confidence for breakfast each morning”
The Crafty Cockney on how he started his day
“I used to walk about with a claw hammer, he was my best friend. He got me home loads of times”
Reflecting on the how the people he beat as a raw youngster in the pubs around north London did not always take it so well.
“Even when I go on holiday I have a practice. It’s in my blood”
On his dedication to the sport.
“I was never going to be like a Jimmy White (snooker player), who would choke every time. I was going to win it. I was too good not to win it”.
On his mindset heading into the 1980 World Championship final against Bobby George.
“I like a drink, mate. I’ll have maybe 10 or 12 pints on a good night out”
Bristow on enjoying himself away from the oche.
“By the time I was 25 or 26 I would have earned a million, but if you looked in the bank account it’s not there because I’ve spent it. Oh yeah, that’s what it’s there for. I don’t want to be the richest bloke in the graveyard. Look at Elvis”
On the financial rewards of being at the top of the game.
“If the game you love doing all of a sudden you can’t do any more, then you have to think, ‘hang on a minute, I might not be able to do exhibitions here.’ So what do you do at the age of 30 or whatever? Become a postman?”
On his battle with a psychological condition known as dartitis, where Bristow was unable to throw from the oche.
“All this cuddling and kissing on stage these days, well it’s all right in football when someone scores a goal, but not when you’re playing darts. You’re playing to beat them.”
The former world champion reflects on the modern game.
“I’m known as the jungle man now, not as a darts player. I’m signing autographs for 14 and 15-year-olds who have never even seen me play darts. Crackers”
On finding a new generation of fans following his appearance on the TV reality show ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here’ in 2012.
“Hopefully I’ve given something back to darts, which has been brilliant to me. Hopefully I made it a bit popular when I first started, I was part of the breakaway, and I also created a monster, so I think I’ve done a little bit – and if you don’t like it, up yours”
Bristow on his legacy
Article courtesy of: The Irish Examiner.