Gary Anderson: From pulling pints and pub darts to world champion

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

Gary Anderson: From pub darts to world champion

Related tags: World darts championship, Darts

As he prepares to defend his World Darts Championship crown, Gary Anderson told the Publican's Morning Advertiser how pulling pints and pub darts set him up for the big stage.

Anderson, known as 'The Flying Scotsman', used to run the The Wellington Arms in Rooksbridge, Somerset. And starting his career with pub darts was the perfect way to prepare for modern day game's rowdy atmosphere.

"I learnt to play at the pub, that's where the darts board was," Anderson told the PMA.

"It starts in the pub leagues and then through the Super League, international and eventually, for those who are brave enough, into the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation).

"And you've still got the heckling in the pubs. In a town with two teams that are rivals, it gets interesting - it's all fun and games!"

'It's a lonely place'

Darts aired on SkySports retains the pub-like atmosphere. Spirited spectators, pints in hands, will sing, dance, cheer and boo throughout a match.

Anderson's no stranger to the banter, but do the crowds help the world number two?

"When you are winning yes when you are losing no. When you're not playing well its a lonely place. There's nowhere to hide," Anderson said.

"It's not like football where you have your mates to help, or snooker where you put your opponent in."

Darts is one big party on SkySports, but training to be world champion takes an incredible amount of discipline. Anderson often practices between six and eight hours a day.

Late nights

"I find it hard. I'm one of the world's worst for practice," Anderson said.

"Especially when you're on your own. I play with my mates, but they all work. It's either on your own or you're back to the late nights again."

And the Flying Scotsman believes 16-time champion Phil 'The Power' Taylor's discipline sets him apart from the rest.

"Phil's life is darts, that's why he's probably the greatest player ever. Win or lose he's on the darts board, he's a machine, but I need a few days off!"

Get darts back to pubs

Anderson wants to see more darts boards in pubs, and thinks the focus on pool tables has been damaging.

"Darts is free, you can always play darts even if you're a bit hard up," he said.

"We need to get darts back to pubs. People watch TV and then drag themselves to the dart board at the pub. Any pub could be full of people watching darts.

"SkySports has taken it through the roof. Six or seven years ago if we'd said what we are doing now people would have laughed at us."

No easy games

After winning last year's World Darts Championship, Anderson has a different kind of pressure, with players upping  their game against the defending champion.

"Everyone turns up to win, there are no easy games now. Every day of my life they're all upping their game. You need to get the first round out of the way," he said.

But does he have the same drive to win after becoming world champion?

"I did think after winning - if I don't win another I don't care. But the hunger is still there, if I didn't win it this year I would be sick as a pig!"

Anderson's expecting tough competition from world number one Michael van Gerwen, former champion Adrian Lewis and Dave Chisnall, who he said it's "only a matter of time" before he wins a title.

The World Darts Championship kicks off on December 18. Find out how pubs can prepare for the tournament here​.

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