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November 2008:

Oh dear! I reckon Tom Baynton of Bicester must be related to Pro Life, because he moans in the same way about me, Olly Croft and poor old John Gibson of Canada. One thing’s for certain, Pro Life and Tom don’t like it up ‘em!!

Give it a rest, Tom and admit that if you don’t like my column (even though you read every single word I write!) and can’t understand John Gibson, how on earth can you understand the ramblings of Pro Life?

Of course my column features me and what I am up to. I write it! You see, Tom, once I used to be big-headed, but I’m perfect now!!!!

But it’s never been all about me. I’m far too modest for that. I also like to have a bit of fun and comment on what’s going on in darts month after month.

Perhaps Tom would be happier and more interested if I wrote about him and Bicester?

Well, he might be, but I don’t think the thousands of other Darts World readers would. And just to irritate him a bit more, I have to say…….


Blimey! I don’t think Pro Life will take too kindly to The Legends on Setanta being described as a copy of the Premier League on Sky!

Are these people serious? The Legends was what it said on the box and in the title: It’s a group of former top players – Legends of the sport – coming together on TV to show that we (well some of us, at least!) can still throw a dart (or three).

It has been a smashing reunion that was competitive, fun and, for some of us, just as frustrating as it was when we were in our pomp.

But, most important of all (and this is where I think it annoys certain people) the public loved The Legends. We had people from all walks of life and what a mixture of ages, ranging from youngsters to moms, dads, grans and grandads!

If I can go all Churchillian for a moment: It might not have been good enough for some people, Tommo, but it was good enough for most people, and the important thing is that Setanta and its viewers loved it!

Someone (who shall remain nameless) described it as the biggest comeback since an elephant’s foreskin! Personally, I think it’s been bigger than the return of Take That and the Spice Girls together!

I’d have to be the Posh one, but Eric would have to be Scary Spice after frightening poor old Tom with his mask!

What a shame that some people have had a humour bypass. It was just a bit of fun, Tommo. In fact, Eric said to me afterwards: ‘I wish I’d been born with that mask, Bob. At least everyone would have recognised me and I might have been a real legend like you!’

Nice one, E! Anything to cover that famous conk!


One thing’s for certain – The Legends will be back, bigger and better than ever in 2009. That’s if we can find enough time because we are all fully booked until this time next year!


Oh, by the way, before I get off the subject of Eric, I must tell you about his recent visit to George Hall.

He rang to ask me: ‘Which of your dogs will I be sleeping with, Bob’?

I couldn’t resist could I? I told him: ‘Eric, I ain’t got one ugly enough to sleep with you!’


It made me laugh when I read that we need FOUR new legends! Legends are not made in a shed, you know! Legends are created, and if there are a few modern day legends around today, I don’t think they are ready to quit the mainstream just yet – even though they’d probably have more fun if they did!

What a shame that some people can’t accept that The Legends series has been a fantastic success on TV and in venues all around the country. It’s been good for darts and far more positive than any jealous criticism.

The players he is having a pop at are the ones who made darts the huge success it was then and still is today.

Get a life, Tom, but not a Pro Life!


Just one more thing: Pro Life claims that the BDO copy everything that the PDC does. Pardon? I think he will find that after 35 years the BDO has done most things that the PDC have thought of – and more.

Take Barry Hearn’s claim of the ‘exciting new concept’ of Pro-Celebrity darts on ITV this month. Excuse me?

Come on! Pull the other one and buy a BDO Diary. In there you will see that the BDO had the first ever TV Times/BDO Pro Celebrity Darts way back in 1973 – and it ran for a few years. The first Pro-Celeb Champions were the legendary Alan Evans and the equally legendary Acker Bilk!

Which means that Barry’s ‘exciting new concept’ is actually 35 years old!

Celebs playing darts on TV is nothing new. I have been doing ‘A Leg With Bobby’ on BBC (featuring stars from stage, screen and sport) for several years now every weekday afternoon at the Lakeside World Pro. I also captained one of the teams (Andy Fordham captained the other one) in a whole series of ‘Showbiz Darts’ on Challenge TV a couple of years ago.

This series featured a couple of the stars in the PDC’s ‘new concept’ – Phil Tufnell and the eventual Showbiz Darts champion Michael Le Vell from Coronation Street.

If memory serves me right, Pro Life had his usual pop at this. Not because it was rubbish (it wasn’t) but because it was BDO and featured ‘yours truly’.

I wonder what he must have thought of my appearance on the Paul O’Grady Show last month ? Stars don’t come much bigger than Paul, unless you happen to count America’s latest singing sensations The Jonas Brothers, Pub Landlord and TV’s ‘Happy Hour’ host, Al Murray, and of course 10 year-old Jordan Singh, who beat the lot of us to win Paul’s Darts Challenge for the third year on the trot.


In truth, there is very little that is new or original in darts that wasn’t first thought of by the BDO! But then, they say that impersonation is the greatest form of flattery!


On to a really exciting concept, John Smith’s People’s Darts and the first Regional Finals this month for ‘ordinary’ pub players – and I will be at most of them.

This innovative (posh word!) comes at just the right time, because all those pub players suffering from the effects of the credit crunch will have something to cheer them up at last!

The idea is that all those who love a game of darts in their local pub and club (men and women aged 18 and over) will have the best opportunity they have ever had to actually go to Lakeside and play on the most famous stage in world darts.

Not surprisingly, hundreds of pubs have signed up so that ‘ordinary’ players from ‘ordinary’ pub teams can get on that famous road to Lakeside next January. There was lots of information in last month’s Darts World, but the idea is that eight top pub players will come through the regional finals to play from the Quarter-Finals to the Final at Lakeside during the World Pro.

They won’t be competing in the real World Pro of course, but they’ll be getting the darting experience of their lives!

I suppose it’s a bit like the X-Factor of darts, because all the players will be competing for a chance to enjoy the unique Lakeside experience and win lots of dosh for the charities of their choice at the same time.

It’s a fantastic opportunity for pub players to play at ‘the home of world darts’ in front of packed audiences and the BBC cameras.

I am the Simon Cowell (only fitter and better looking!) of the John Smith’s mentors, and will be joined by John Boy Walton, Martin Adams, Mark Webster and Ted Hankey during the regional finals, in mentoring visits to players pubs, and ultimately at Lakeside to see who can be the John Smith’s People’s Champions from the eight regional finalists.


Kicking it all off in the first of the regional finals for the Yorkshire competitors (should be a talented bunch) will be John Boy Walton, who will be at The Irish Centre, Leeds on November 9th to watch the action and hand out a few tips to the players.

John Boy knows all about Lakeside. He was crowned Embassy World Champion there in 2001 and is a regular on that famous stage. He’s there again by right next January and one of those Yorkshire pub players will be following in his footsteps

2007 Lakeside World Champion Martin Adams will be in Bishop Auckland for the Scotland and North-East regional finals at Coundon WMC on November 16th and is hoping that it is a ‘howling’ (get it) success for two areas that are well known for producing talented players.

The rest is then down to me. I will be at Willenhall Social Club, Coventry on the 22nd for the Central and South Wales regional finals, before moving move on to Blackburn on the 23rd for the North West and North Wales regional finals at King George’s Hall (named after me!).

Appropriately, the very last regional final will be at Lakeside on November 30th for the battle between the South of England players.

Reigning Lakeside World Champion, Mark Webster and 2000 World Champion Ted Hankey, will be on hand to show off their darting skills and pass on a few tips to the players – not least of all, what it feels like to stand on that stage as Champion o the World.


Would you Adam & Eve it? Next month it’s the 35th Winmau World Masters at The Spa, Bridlington on BBC – hosted by ‘yours truly’ and Ray Stubbs – then it’s Xmas and New Year before we are all back at Lakeside for the big one, the BDO World Pro.

I’m getting excited already, but at my age that’s not very hard – ask Marie! Until next month, Be Lucky and May The Darts Be With You!




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