Darts most flamboyant stars from ‘King of Bling’ to Bristow’s 17 pints a day

It was a game where boozing never held you back from success on the oche. But today’s darts stars are more likely to hit the yoga mat than the pub.

Sports promoter Eddie Hearn reckons the characters are disappearing out of darts as huge prize money has seen a surge in professionalism.

But plenty of the sport’s most flamboyant players have proved the most successful.

Here Daily Star looks at what happened to best-loved stars…

Eric Bristow

The “Crafty Cockney” helped turn darts from a pub game into the professional sport thanks to his skill and personality.

He won five world championships but was seen as arrogant and loved and hated in equal measure.

Bristow moved into punditry after he retired and did I’m A Celebrity in 2012. But he died from a heart attack in 2018 aged 60.

Best pal Bobby George told how every day until his death, Bristow would down 17 pints of Guinness and tuck into a vindaloo curry.

Andy Fordham

Fordham used to drink 24 bottles of lager before stepping up to the oche.

His weight ballooned to 31st and the 2004 BDO champion sought the help of Celebrity Fit Club, a reality show where stars competed to lose weight, after doctors told him his liver was only operating at 25% capacity.

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The Viking shed 17st and stopped drinking completely. But last year his weight soared to 28st and he was rushed to hospital where an operation on his bowel led to him having 16 litres of fluid drained from his body.

Now 21st and suffering from a serious liver condition, last month the 59-year-old revealed he had contracted coronavirus.

Bobby George

The “King of Bling” strode onto the stage sporting jewellery, a crown and cloak and holding a candelabra, all soundtracked by Queen’s We Are The Champions.

George won several major tournaments in the 70s and 80s and reached the final of the BDO World Championship twice.

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Now 75, he has worked as a darts pundit and presenter for the BBC since 1998 and also appeared in reality shows including the Real Marigold Hotel and Gone To Pot: American Road Trip, in which George and other celebs went to the States to investigate the medicinal uses of cannabis.

Jocky Wilson

Probably the biggest drinker in darts history, Wilson admitted he needed at least seven or eight vodkas before a match to calm his nerves.

Darts commentator Sid Waddell said: “Jocky would drink four or five pints lager and then what he called the magic Coke.

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“He would take off the top of a litre bottle of Coke and then top it up with half a litre of vodka and pass it round.”

The Scot, who smoked 50 cigarettes a day, was dogged by health problems and left darts in 1995.

He withdrew from public life and died in 2012 aged 62 after being diagnosed with lung disease.

Phil Taylor

The richest and most successful darts player in history.

The Power notched up a record 16 world titles before he retired in 2018. Since then he has been a pundit and done promotional work.

He said: “I didn’t do the drinking and I was more dedicated.”

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