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June 2008:
T
HAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT! By BOBBY GEORGE


Here we are again in glorious June, and here’s my usual gag: June is busting out all over and I wish she would come to George Hall to give us a show!

Yes, summer is officially here (allegedly) and we can all celebrate by welcoming Setanta Sports as the latest broadcaster to feature darts in its excellent sports coverage – despite the best efforts of some who shall remain nameless (for the moment!) to discredit it.

Five BDO tournaments are being shown in the new BDO International Grand Prix series from May to September, and then there will be another eight shows in the Betfred League of Legends Tour on Friday nights from May 30 right through through to August 22nd.

I am delighted to be taking part as a ‘Legend’ because this fantastic tour is going to bring back many happy memories for all the players taking part, as well as the fans and Setanta viewers.

On top of all that, and perhaps most importantly of all, they are going to be great fun for everyone!

By the time you read this we will have kicked off at the Circus Tavern (the Semi-Finals and Final will also be there on August 22nd) and next up is the well named King George’s Hall in Blackburn (June 20th) and we finish off the month on June in Brum – at the Hilton Metropole Hotel on June 27th.

I am already being asked: Will I win it? Can I win it??

That would be luvverly jubberly, but it’s the taking part that counts and I have to say that even I feel nostalgic to be on stage again with the likes of Big Eric, Bob Anderson and all the others.

It’s a real legendary line-up: Eric Bristow, John Lowe, Bob Anderson, Keith Deller, Cliff Lazarenko, Dave Whitcombe, Peter Evison and, last but not least a real Leg-end…..Bobby George!

I loved the quote from the Limestone Cowboy in last month’s Darts World: “We’ve had some tremendous battles over the years and the passion is still very much there. There’s no way I want to lose to Eric or Bobby, and I know they won’t want to lose to me”.

Too right!

But I do hope we can turn this into a ‘fun’ tour for those who come to see us in all the venues, as well as a competitive one for the fans, sponsors and television.

I think my quote in last month’s Darts World sums it up nicely:

“We all feel like born-again darts players (a bit poetic that!) and it’s going to be lots of fun, but competitive too. He who dares wins!” Come to think of it, that should be: He who DARTS wins!!

Let’s face it, we were (and still are) the ‘originals’. Thanks to wall to wall televised darts on practically every channel, darts was the ‘big thing’ in the late 70’s and 80’s.

Me, Eric, John, Jocky, Cliff, Leighton, Keith, Bob and a few others were the original darts pop stars. So much so that if you ask most members of the public today to name a darts star they will instantly say Bristow, Lowe, Wilson or George!

That’s not being boastful, but simply stating a fact. Don’t forget we were on most of the ITV channels as well as the BBC at a time when there was on ITV and BBC, so our audiences could view for free and were counted in mega millions.

I think our tour is a timely reminder of what the game is missing. Back then it was all about larger than life characters, rivalry and excitement. Now money seems to have taken over (at least in some quarters).

I can tell you this, I can’t wait to get back on stage and play against my fellow Legends. It’s going to be a darts party to remember, with loads of showing off and lots of smiling faces on and off the oche. Bring it on!

THAT’S THE WAY TO LEGENDS IT!

Thank goodness, none of the players have brought politics into this tour. We all see it as the type of ‘Seniors Tour’ that happens in most top sports, so it is disappointing that the PDC felt it necessary to issue a statement effectively stopping the players from playing where they choose, and throwing fifteen years of loyalty back in their faces.

The websites have been filled with criticism and rightly so!

I can just imagine the reaction if the BDO had done anything like it! Pro Life would have been reaching for his poison pen to condemn a statement preventing the very players (with the exception of me) who made the PDC (the WDC in 1993) possible in the first place.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

In a funny way, it’s refreshing that The Legends are perceived as some sort of ‘threat’ simply because Setanta Sports have recognised the appeal of a ‘seniors’ darts tour.

From box-office reaction so far it is looking as though the public is keen to see us old’ uns back on stage and television, and we hope that packed venues result in great viewing figures on Setanta.

THAT’S THE WAY TO SETANTA IT!

Like I said in a recent column, anything positive like this, should be applauded and supported by everyone in darts – especially the players.

The great thing is that the League of Legends is complemented by the BDO’s International Grand Prix on Setanta Sports. The usual unfortunate and uncalled for comments were made in the Pro Life column last month, but once again the fact is that this represents a total of thirteen more days of televised darts with a brand new broadcast partner.

That’s got to be good for darts unless you live in a cave or walk around wearing blinkers!

THAT’S THE WAY TO DART IT!

Staying with new TV avenues for darts, I’ve been busy once again in spreading the verbals!

First of all, George Hall played host to BBC’s ‘Celebrity Cash In The Attic’. They sent a whole team, including the lovely Angela Rippon (a true professional who loves a good laugh) to rummage through me and Marie’s drawers (no prizes for guessing whose they enjoy rummaging through best of all!) but the only antique they found was me!



See photo of Marie, John Cameron (a very sharp and funny valuer), me and the lovely Angela Rippon at the auction house flogging my heirlooms!

Unfortunately it clashed with the official launch of The Legends tour at Old Trafford……..Pity we couldn’t have combined the two things, because eight ‘antique’ darts players must be worth a Bob (get it?) or two!

Obviously, I don’t want to give too much away about Celebrity Cash In The Attic, but I can tell you that I sorted out some very special darts memorabilia, and all the proceeds are going to Woodbridge Mencap Gateway Club, which also benefits from the energy of Roly Bright, the former chairman of Suffolk for 30 years and my No.1 driver and mc for so many years.

THAT’S THE WAY TO CASH IT!

The next visitors were a more serious bunch from BBC’s ‘The Money Programme’. When they first turned up, Marie thought we were being repossessed! Mind you, when she realised that George Hall is all bought and paid for, she knew that they – and possibly Gordon Brown – were after some much needed advice!

And she could have been right! I reckon they had come down to borrow some of my gold, because the Government needs to increase its gold reserves during the current credit crisis!

Mr.Brown has taken enough from me and everyone else in the country, so he ain’t nicking my gold to bolster the economy!

They actually came to talk to me because there has been quite a rise in gold prices, and they thought it would be a funny angle to get the message across.

Don’t know about that, but I did feel good when they’d gone because my value (in gold at least) has increased significantly!

THAT’S THE WAY TO GOLDFINGER IT!

And finally I must mention my recent visit to Loret del Mar in Spain for lots of fun (and darts) in the sun – my thanks to Peter van Acker, Ad Schoofs and the whole team for making it much more fun than sun!

We had a great time and it was an excellent ‘warm-up’ (get it?) for The Legends tour, because I played well and got to the final against Co Stompe, who only narrowly beat me 7-5.

Co is one of the nicest darts players you will ever come across and in that final he didn’t miss a thing! He’s a credit to Dutch darts, but next time I’ll have him!! See photo of Co and me having fun in the sun!

That’s it for yet another month. Make sure you come to see us on the League of Legends Tour, but if you can’t then tune in to Setanta Sports and have a great summer watching both the Legends and the BDO International Grand Prix……….

.THAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT!


 

 

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