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January 2009:
T
HAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT! By BOBBY GEORGE

Do you remember looking forward to the Millennium? Well, here we are nine years on at the start of yet another New Year! Where do they all go? Good thing that I still look and feel like a 35 year-old (trouble is I can’t find one!).

They say that you are only as young as the woman you feel and as Marie is also 35 we are OK there!

New Year Resolutions? I think I’ll stick with the old one of I’m not going to drink any more……nor any less in 2009!

But if I’m truthful there is only one promise I make to myself every year (no, not that one, Marie!) and that’s to get down to Lakeside in the very first week of the New Year and celebrate the start of 2009 in an atmosphere that should be bottled and sold to darts fans who can’t be there!

It’s magic! And I love every minute of being there – except when I have to do a couple of minutes live to camera without a script or an autocue (I’m too ‘blind’ to see the autocue anyway!). That’s when I need my mummy or Raymond to help me out!

This will be my eleventh year of presenting the greatest darts show on earth for the BBC alongside me old mate, Ray Stubbs.

Nine glorious days of fun, excitement, drama and great darts from January 3rd to 11th. How could there possibly be a better way to see in the New Year?

THAT’S THE WAY TO NEW YEAR IT!

Ray is a real Pro who for most of his BBC year is mainly involved with football and ‘Final Score’. He’s the main man for that, but at the start of the year he loves being at Lakeside as much as I do.

And why not? Lakeside is the undisputed home of world darts and no one does TV sport – especially darts - better than the Beeb.

Mind you, I might be a ‘pundit’ but it’s no good asking me to name a winner! , Gary Anderson is the form player, but that’s what I said last year! He seems to have some sort of ‘Lakeside jinx’ because the closest he’s come was the 2003 Semi-Final.

The last time a Scot won the title was 1997 when the lovely Les Wallace took the trophy all the way back to Southampton! Can Gary get the bagpipes back to Lakeside? Only he can answer that one. He’s certainly got the game to do it.
THAT’S THE WAY TO SCOT IT!

What about Mark Webster coming back and successfully defending his title? It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do. Only two players in thirty-two years have managed it: Eric Bristow and Raymond Barneveld.

Will young Mark be the third? I have no idea! But like all the players at Lakeside he will be trying his hardest to get the final. It’s the very pinnacle of any dart players career.

How can anyone expect me to make predictions when any of the 32 players can win it? They are all good enough or they wouldn’t be on the famous Lakeside stage. There are no wild cards. Just players who have earned the right to be there through the tough BDO Invitation Tables, or the International Play-Offs.

It will be easier to do my predicting and punditing when the First Round has been played. As we all know from past experience anything can happen in those first 16 matches played over the short distance of 5 sets.

But, in the end it’s all about bottle. That’s what separates the true Champions from everyone else.

THAT’S THE WAY TO LAKESIDE IT!

Because of the usual tight printing deadlines at Xmas and New Year, I am writing this before the 2009 World Pro, so let me tell you about a couple of things that are coming up.

First of all, I will be playing a Government Minister in ‘A Leg With Bobby’ during the week. It’s connected to the BDO giving its backing to the re-launch of the Government’s ‘Get On’ campaign to raise awareness and improve the numeracy levels of young adults.

The original campaign was launched by Andy Fordham in 2004 and was a huge success. I played a Government Minister then, and now we are going to have another go to show that when it comes to counting and mental arithmetic, darts is not only a perfect way to learn, but also an enjoyable way in which to understand and appreciate maths.

THAT’S THE WAY TO COUNT IT!

Showbiz star of the week will be Justin Lee Collins, the long-haired West Country based funnyman who stars in Channel 4’s very funny ‘Sunday Night Project’ with his camp sidekick Alan Carr.

He loves darts and, following his C4 programme ‘180!’ in which he played (and lost to) Cheshire’s Stuart Bousefield at Pontin’s, Brean Sands last June, he’s now coming to Lakeside to play in ‘A Leg With Bobby’.

I’m looking forward to it, because he’s one of those rare personalities who is just as nice and friendly off TV as he is on it.

Will he win or will he lose? You’ll have to tune in to find out!

THAT’S THE WAY TO JUSTIN IT!

Someone let the cat out of the bag in last month’s England Darts Organisation page when the whole world – well Darts World – was told that I am having an operation on my shoulder.

By the time you read this I will have gone under the surgeon’s knife and been ‘repaired’. That’s the knees, back and shoulder so I don’t think I’ll be doing the Okie, Cokie for a while – or anything else physical for that matter!

It is the shoulder of my throwing arm and its been giving me lots of pain for a while now. Personally, I wasn’t going to mention it, but now that it’s out there I have no choice,

‘Will I be able to play the piano after the op’ I asked the specialist. ‘Of course you will’ he replied. ‘That’s good’ I said, ‘I couldn’t play it before!’ The old ones are always the best!

THAT’S THE WAY TO SHOULDER IT!

Staying with the EDO, I am delighted that they have announced a couple of new events for 2009.

First up is the England Eastbourne Classic, which will be played at the Winter Gardens, Eastbourne from January 30th to February 1st.

In June the England Open returns to Bunn’s Leisure Complex at Selsey from the 26th to 28th, and then in July there will be the England Masters Darts Festival from July 17th to 19th . This will be played at Edgeley Park, home of Stockport Football Club.

It’s all good news for the EDO and darts players, and hopefully I can get along to these new events.

THAT’S THE WAY TO EDO IT!

Had a great time in Holland at the Drukkerij Westerlaan Open (try saying that after a couple of sherberts!) where we not only enjoyed the darts, but also the wonderful Dutch hospitality.

This event started in a small way in a pub in 2004, but is now a big event that raises lots of money for charity. This year money was raised for the Ronald McDonald Child Fund, and as well as me, Eric Bristow was there with the two Gary’s (Anderson and Robson), Dazzler Darryl Fitton, Scott Waites and the West brothers – Tony and Steve.

There was a women’s event for the first time ever, and also a pairs event. Big Robbo won the Men’s Singles, but other than the darts it was a luvverly, jubberly fun event at which we were looked after like Royalty!

I don’t know if it was anything to do with the McDonald’s connection, but we were all given ‘chips’ that we could exchange for food and drinks. They were brought round by a man who had them (the chips) in a little sack. I called him Father Xmas and soon everyone was doing the same.

Well, it was like the magic of Xmas when those chips turned into food and drink…..but thought I’d had one too many (drinks not chips!) when they auctioned a door (yes a proper internal house door) with my picture on it!

But, it was for real, and there were two more with Darryl Fitton (see photo) and Gary Anderson on them. I have seen some things auctioned for charity in my time, but never three DOORS!

THAT’S THE WAY TO DOOR IT!

By the way, those three doors raised over 2,000 Euros for the McDonald’s Child Fund!

Overall it was a brilliant event and I would like to send my personal thanks to the organisers and sponsors for their hospitality and generosity.

THAT’S THE WAY TO DUTCH IT!

Here’s one from the archives! I found an old picture (see photo) of me and Barry Hearn when I rifled through my (not Marie’s) drawers recently.

I reckon it dates back to the late 80’s when I was going round Courage venues with ‘The Bobby George Challenge’. This was probably Barry’s baptism into darts so I have a lot to answer for!

If memory serves me right, Steve Davis was there, and that’s where Barry came in. He was his manager then and I think he still is today.

Anyway, it’s appropriate to use it, because when I get my shoulder right I can’t wait to get back on the oche with ‘The Legends’ both on the road in our sell-out shows, and our second series on Setanta Sport.

I promise you that in 2009 I’ll be fit enough to take on any Tom, Dick or Barry!

THAT’S THE WAY TO LEGENDS IT!

2009 is already looking good so all that remains is for me to wish all readers of Darts World a Happy, Successful, Prosperous and Healthy New Year.

May the darts always be with you!

 

 

 

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