He’s done it. After winning the world professional darts championship of the world for the 746th time darts legend Phil “the power” Taylor will finally get an invite to the BBC sports personality of the year show having been shortlisted for the award. My campaign has obviously worked. Thank you to both who contributed. “The power” is someone I have written about previously. IN a year of the worst sports biographies (Ashley Cole anyone?) Taylor is responsible for the finest committed to paper, ghost written by Sid Waddell.
In this new era of transparency the nomination process is a little more open this year with the nominees form various papers and public published.
The public voted by mail for Jenson Button, Joe Calzaghe, Darren Clarke, Nicole Cooke, Darren Kenny, Monty Panesar, Zara Phillips, Shelley Rudman, Phil Taylor, and Beth Tweddle; and in the on-line vote for Joe Calzaghe, Darren Clarke, Nicole Cooke, Peter Crouch, Mick Gault, Monty Panesar, Steve Peat, Zara Phillips, Phil Taylor, and Beth Tweddle. With his public behind him Taylor was also nominated by the Birmingham Mail, the Evening Standard, the Coventry Evening telegraph, the BBC Sports Panel (thanks to Adrian Chiles and Clare Balding for their support), the Daily Post, The People, The Sun, and Nuts (ah well, you can’t have everything).
The other shortlisted contenders are Zara Phillips, Darren Clarke, Andy Murray, Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton, Nicole Cooke, Monty Panesar, Beth Tweddle, and Jenson Button.
However, accepting that some of these people may deserve plaudits (Cooke, and Calzaghe particularly for their long term dominance in their sports) why should you vote for Taylor?
1. It’s darts. Imagine the looks on the faces of athletes, highly paid footballers, rugby stars &c when rotund arrow man Taylor walks twice the usual distance to lift up a trophy appreciably lighter than most darts trophies.
2. his autobiography (see above).
3. he is a world champion and wins consistently (unlike Clarke, Murray, Button).
4. He plays in important tournaments (cf Panesar – I know it’s not Monty’s fault but really).
5. He has dominated his sport like a behemoth for over a decade (cf all others). He is genuinely world class.
6. He’s not royal (cf Phillips).
7. Victory for Phil would be a sign to all armchair sports fans that there is hope. Most TV viewers watch sports and think, I could never do that. However, even the most casual darts player hits the occasional treble twenty and thinks, If I really stuck in I could do this (they’re kidding themselves, but it’s a hell of lot more accessible than gymnastics, F1 racing, or pro cycling).
8. It would make Sid Waddell happy.
9. I may have a not inappreciable sum ready for collection in the event of a Taylor triumph and I would be very happy.
So, go on. My mental wellbeing and the children’s Christmas is dependent on it. Taylor for victory. Vote early, vote often. Support the working class hero.