Bellies and Bullseyes: The Outrageous True Story of Darts
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Bellies and Bullseyes is simply the greatest account there will ever be about the sport of darts - as told by one of its most legendary characters - Sid Waddell. It mixes Sid's own personal journey from the coalfields of the North East with the entire history of the sport. What is revealed is a hilarious yet epic Darts Babylon, covering every significant event and every character to walk the oche from Eric 'The Crafty Cockney' Bristow to Phil 'The Power' Taylor.
In words as ripe as his commentaries, Sid brings an authentic whiff of fags, hard drink, hot tungsten and moist polyester to the whole cabaret. Sid has been friend and confidante to most of darts' stars over the years as well as being instrumental in the game's progress himself. Nobody is equipped to tell the story quite like he is.
From the early days of hustling in bars and the 1960s money-race pub competitions that spawned the likes of John Lowe and Leighton Rees, to ITV's brilliantly daft The Indoor League and the glory days of BBC's coverage; from the bling of Bobby George and the belly of Jocky Wilson to the awesome professionalism of Phil Taylor; from smoky Northern working men's clubs to the Houses of Parliament; this is the complete, incredible story of darts.
Goodfellow of Ebury for seeing the potential in my story and for excellent advice in shaping the chapters. His colleague Ken Barlow also helped in bringing the project to fruition. Also, Caroline Newbury for all her hard work in publicising the book. Finally, my wife Irene’s incisive critiques at various stages have been priceless. She was instrumental in driving the plot when I became somewhat of an averages anorak and was a constant inspiration in making sure I did justice to the sport of
about to commentate on a Bristow/Taylor semi when I woke up at the Palms Hotel in Grays the next morning. I was cleaning my teeth and trembling at the prospect like a nervous whippet when my phone rang. It was Harry the Dog, alias Harry Findlay, a professional gambler who I worked with on Sky. Years before Harry had won �80,000 when Arsenal won the double, but had lost about �30,000 when Gina Gee failed to win the Eurovision Song Contest. ‘’Ere, Sidney, old Brissy ain’t got a prayer against
pointed back to the club. ‘You are strange guys.’ We looked at each other and nodded. Back at the darts the Taylor juggernaut marched on. Phil won the first ever Desert Classic and celebrated. Champers? High roller slots? Are you kidding? He tried a quick five bucks on the quarter slots, had a Chinese washed down with black tea and went to see Siegfried and Roy perform a novelty circus act with lions and tigers. In July 2002 I was on duty at the World Pool Championships in Cardiff. My pal Jim
There was another polite handshake at the end. The final would now be between Phil and John Part. I knew The Power would have a game on his hands. Part had been right on his heels in Blackpool and Ireland and he was, after Bristow, the best counter in the game. His doubles would not be far out. Plus John was playing with a confident swagger. Phil, on the other hand looked pale, irritable and vulnerable. Two years earlier, Warriner’s jibes would have meant nothing. And Phil’s averages were up and
morning I got up and did the breathing exercises that Stuart Theobald had designed for me. I cannot tell you how these have totally stopped my fears of losing my voice during a long tournament. At this year’s world championship I did fifty-five hours of commentary in ten days – that’s like Motson or Tyler doing thirty football matches in ten days – and my voice scarcely sounded scratchy at the death. After doing the exercise I had a bit of a scare while shaving. I felt the right side of my