a globe-trotter I am! Cyprus last month to celebrate
Marie’s extra-special birthday – and how
we enjoyed all the sand, sea and partying –
and this month it’s sunny Bridlington for the
‘double your money’ Winmau World Masters.
Grand in prize money is on offer and, presuming I
am not playing, me and Ray Stubbs will be presenting
all the action live on BBC TV over the weekend of
the 17th and 18th.
only is it the oldest ‘major’ in world
darts, but the World Masters –along with the
Lakeside World Pro – is a title that all players
want to win (including yours truly!).
the time of writing this column, I can tell you that
you can watch live coverage of the Men’s World
Masters from the last 16 right through to the final
on BBC-1 on Saturday, November 17th from 1PM to 4PM,
and on BBC-2 on Sunday, November 18th from 1.30PM
the transmission times in TV Times, because that’s
over seven hours of live telly to give you a luvverly,
jubberly weekend of Winmau World darts!
THE WAY TO WORLD MASTERS IT!
on the subject of the TV Times, I hope you all saw
that I was named as TV Times ‘Star Of The Day’
when ITV’s ‘Don’t Call Me Stupid’
was shown last month.
had to laugh when the write-up said that me and Vanessa
Feltz would be tested on Geoffrey Chaucer (me) and
fishing (Vanessa) and viewers should look out for
one of us having a hissy fit!
if you watched it (and I hope you did!) you’ll
know it wasn’t me!
just say that while I knew my stuff on saucy Chaucer,
when it came to fish, Vanessa showed that she’d
had her chips (and plenty of ‘em by the look
was hard, but I enjoyed the challenge and put everything
in to learning my subject. The result was that no
one can ‘Call Me Stupid’ (though I know
one or two always will).
THE WAY TO LEARN IT!
hope you all enjoyed my performance (Marie certainly
did, but that’s another story!).
I was back on telly again in Sky’s Premier League
All-Stars Extra from the David Beckham Centre in Greenwich.
invited me on to talk about West Ham because they
had seen me with the FA Cup at George Hall wearing
the West Ham kit (see photo).
be honest I’m not what you’d call a ‘real’
football fan. I don’t know the names of today’s
players/managers, or anything like that.
But, I have always had a soft spot for West Ham, because
London’s East End was my stamping ground from
just to prove what a small world if is, I found myself
in the same studio as former West Ham player Tony
Cottee, who was more than a little surprised when
I told him that I had worked for his grandfather,
Will Cottee, as a floor layer, and that it was his
uncle, Roy Cottee (now 75 and retired) who had encouraged
me to go all out for a darts career.
you, he was even more shocked when I told him that
the last time I saw him he was sitting on my knee
holding a rattle!
gave me the chance to tell him that he and his family
are in my book ‘Bobby Dazzler’ (out in
paperback this December). In Chapter 7, I recall my
time working as a floor layer with the Cottee family
from London’s East Ham.
was just 32 and, though I enjoyed my work, darts was
becoming more and more important, and I was offered
the opportunity of going to America with what was
to be known as the ‘Durro’ team. Eric
Bristow was a team-mate with Colin Baker, and we were
to be joined by the two top female players of that
era, Linda Batten and Pat Piper.
desperately wanted to go and had saved hard. It really
was the chance of a lifetime for me, but I didn’t
want to let Roy and his family down. Luckily for me
I had a gaffer who was understanding enough to give
me a month off to try my hand at making it in darts.
will always remember his words: ‘Have a crack,
Bob’, he said. ‘You’ll always be
able to lay floors, but you might not have the opportunity
to make it as a darts player again’.
I say in my book: Roy was a ‘diamond’
as were all the Cottee family.
Brown, John Lowe, Dennis Ovens, Leighton Rees and
Tony Sontag also made that trip to the States, along
with the BDO’s Olly Croft. They were wonderful
times for all of us, and the highlight for me was
winning my first ‘big one’ the North American
Open played on the Queen Mary.
a setting! And the format was similar to the News
of the World – best of 3 legs – the only
difference was that the North American Open was 301
double in, double out, and nearest the bull every
single leg. That’s not mickey mouse darts. That’s
‘proper darts’ with no room for any mistakes.
was chatting to Eric Bristow recently and he reckoned
it was the hardest tournament to win. Mind you, he
made me laugh when he said: ‘You won the Butlin’s
Grand Masters as well, Bob. That was another one that
was hard to win.’
I said, ‘but you won the Embassy five times’.
that was easy!’ he said. Big E never changes!
Anyway, back to the North American Open. There was
an entry of 512 players that year, and I went right
through the field to play Tony Sontag in the Semi-Final.
It was made harder because he was a good mate, but
I beat him and ended up playing an American called
Pete Polinski in the final.
had lost earlier and offered to chalk the game, and
I can tell you that when I threw the winning dart,
he leapt up in the air like he had won the title himself
(there’s a lovely photo of it in my book)!
guess what? That win earned me a place in the Winmau
World Masters at Wembley, so I have always thanked
Roy Cottee and his family for putting me on the road
to a darts career that I have never stopped enjoying
(well almost never!) since that trip to America way
back in the 1970’s.
THE WAY TO COTTEE IT!
Diamond Geezer is ex-Arsenal and England star Ian
Wright, who I met in the Green Room (posh name for
hospitality) after doing the Premier League All-Stars
made a great fuss of me and came over and said: ‘It’s
great to meet you, Bobby. I love the darts and watch
it ‘cos of you!’
is a lovely, bubbly, genuine bloke and I couldn’t
help thinking as I sat with him and Tony Cottee how
30 years earlier it was Roy Cottee who was responsible
for getting me into darts, and ultimately bringing
darts and football together.
I said earlier: What a small world it truly is!
THE WAY TO DO IT!
was a case of ‘Gone With The Wind’ when
Little Richard Ashdown recently did an exhibition
with Big Robbo, Gary Robson. You’ve heard of
Little & Large? Well this was Little & Big!
Gary passed wind during one throw. His score was 140,
but having detected the sudden whiff, Richard couldn’t
resist calling ‘One hundred and farty!’
Everyone got the giggles, but the poor old chalker
was still trying to escape the offending smell when
Robbo threw again and Richard called ‘Farty-five’.
Most of the crowd was doubled-up, but that’s
the humour of darts.
THE WAY TO FART IT!
was interviewed in my local paper recently about getting
old and someone stopped me in the street and mentioned
it. ‘How do you really feel about getting old?’
he asked. When I told him I didn’t have time
to get old he thought it was a lovely way of putting
it. Marie has other ways, but I won’t go into
THE WAY TO OLD IT!
I had a great night a few weeks ago at ‘The
Horseshoe Inn’, London Bridge, where I hosted
a fun tournament which raised £1,000 for ‘Vicky’s
wonderful charity to develop a project in Ethiopia
to provide clean water for over 20,000 people, is
in memory of a lovely lady named Vicky Buchanan who,
just over a year ago, was killed in a tragic accident
while cycling to work.
was a great night in the company of some great and
caring people. The tournament was called the Vicky’s
Water Project Darts Masters, and I must mention Chris
‘Too Tall’ Taylor (whose nickname says
it all!). He deservedly came out on top and walked
away with a set of my darts and a whole case of wine.
I thought. Yet another tournament won by a Taylor!!
And then I thought I must be seeing double when I
ended up playing Owen ‘Tungsten Tosser’
Taylor. He was another player who certainly lived
up to his nickname!
thanks must go to the enthusiastic event organiser,
Chris Mounsey-Thear, who is also the geezer behind
the NHS Blood Pressure Campaign. That’s when
I first met him and he’s a real bundle of energy!
He helped make the night a huge success and, like
all those involved in fund-raising he deserves a huge
pat on the back.
The charity was formed by Vicky’s fiancé,
family and friends and going back to what a small
world we live in, 190 of them – including the
32 who played in the VWP Darts Masters – found
themselves in the company of Ray Stubbs and the BBC,
when they were among the 50,000 competitors in this
year’s Great North Run.
you would like to know more about the project and
find out how you might be able to help, go on the
website: www.vickyswaterproject.com To date over £400,000
has been raised.
THE WAY TO DO IT!
on that happy note all that remains is for me to say:
Be Lucky and May The Darts Be With You.