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January 2012

Another New Year and my resolution for 2012 is not to make any resolutions because I can never keep them!

I’ve promised to stop drinking and smoking in previous years and I’ve managed to do so for a little while and then I’m at it again (ask Marie!).  Here’s one for the state of the economy though: Why can’t  the ‘experts’ who are supposed to look after our bees and honey solve our money troubles in the same way as they sort out the big bonuses they pay themselves.

Bankers? I can think of a similar name to call them that would be far closer to the truth.

Don’t get me started!

So here we are in 2012 and, if you read the papers  and listen to the news, we’re all  skint!

The only good thing about each New Year is Lakeside and the annual trip to Potter’s Palace at Frimley Green for 9 days of glorious BDO darts and exhausting hours in front of camera.  

Every time I walk in Lakeside  get a tingle down my spine.....trouble is, I don’t know if it’s all the excitement and anticipation, or the fact that Bob has ‘forgotten’ to put the heating on!

Only joking, Bob. You know better than anyone that the hotter the venue the more beer you sell! This year John Smith’s have gone and Carlsberg/Holsten are set to sell hundreds of thousands of pints.  Happy Days.....Sorry, Happy Nights (and days)!
Someone who knows a thing or two about the World Pro and Lakeside is Colin Saunders from the Isle-of-Wight, who has written the most definitive history I have ever read.

So much so, that I was more than happy to write the Foreword.

It’s a big book with a big  title: ‘Embassy and Lakeside World Professional Darts Championships 1978-2011: The Complete Records’. Colin’s fantastic records fill two complete volumes of A4 pages and is a proper hardback with photos of every Champion (that’s me out then!) and even the officials!

When he told me he was going to compile a complete statistical record of the Embassy and Lakeside World Darts Championships from its start in 1978 to the present day my first thought was ‘Yes, mate, good luck!!

But ten long years after he began his project to put every single facet of the World Pro on paper, he’s done it!

Ten years in the making, but what a read it is!

For example, if you ever wondered who was in the line-up in 1978, 2000 or any year for that matter, it is all there in Colin’s book. Or, can you guess how many points have been scored over the last 34 years?

Well, believe it or not, after the 2012 World Pro the figure will be an astronomical 18 million plus scoring points!

The information goes on and on: Who played who in what year and what were the leg and set scores; how many players have gone head to head and any other stat that you can think of,  then this book is the Bible of Darts (that’s what I would call it) because it has everything that a darts geek, statistician, darts commentator or presenter would ever need!

Colin is a former BDO Director who has been involved in the sport of darts for many years and this compilation of darts facts and figures has been a labour of love and patience!

Good on yer, Col! You should be very proud of what you have achieved!
The two volumes will cost you £59 (plus p&p) and it can be ordered from

New Year, new books! Everyone seems to be writing books because the pen is mightier than the sword!  

Colin has written his and now Bob Potter has got a new one out called ‘One Man’s Dream’.  It’s not statistical like Colin’s, but is the fascinating life story of an equally fascinating man who has risen from being a farmer’s son to a bandleader, rock ‘n roll promoter, impresario, hotel magnate and, of course guv’nor of his vast Lakeside empire.

The World Pro has been at Lakeside since 1986 and Bob is the first to admit that although he’s had the likes of Tom Jones, Tommy Cooper and Morecambe & Wise on his famous stage, it’s darts and the World Pro that everyone associates him with.

Lakeside is the undisputed home of world darts and Bob is the undisputed ‘King’ of Lakeside. He’s got the OBE and is a very proud member of the elite show business organisation, the Water Rats. He also does loads for charity and donates much needed life-saving equipment to Frimley Park Hospital, which is just down the road from Lakeside.

‘One Man’s Dream’ will be available to order at Lakeside this month and, like Colin’s book, is going to be a great read for all those who love Lakeside and the World Pro.

Someone else who is sitting down and writing his life story is Olly Croft who knows more about darts than most of us have forgotten!

It will probably take him the whole of this year to complete and I am reliably informed that the working title is ‘The Godfather Of Darts’.

The book promises to be explosive as well as interesting and, if Olly does complete it then it will be top of my reading list next Xmas.

Which brings me nicely to a plug for my own book ‘Scoring For Show, Doubles For Dough’ written with Patrick Chaplin (The Prof) and benefitting from a lovely Foreword by Ray Stubbs.

Of course, Ray is back where he belongs this month – down at Lakeside presenting the darts for ESPN. In the Foreword to my book he wrote: ‘In conversation with Bob the odd 4-letter word might slip out (and I don’t mean dart!), but I will use another 4-letter word: ‘Mate’, because Bob is a great friend.  He says it as he sees it, and more often than not the end result is laughter!’
Nice words Ray, and as a mate it’s good to be rubbing shoulders with him again at the World Pro.

What a lot of fuss about the recent BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year not having any female nominees. Unfortunately, the names are put forward by various regional publications and the BBC have no say in the short list.
Darts has a couple of ladies who could (should be) considered: Trina Gulliver and Deta Hedman. But I have a simple solution: Why not a Sportsman and Sportswoman Personality of the Year?
It does solve the problem, but in this day and age it’s probably not politically correct!.







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