What If These Premier League Managers Were Darts Pros?

What If These Premier League Managers Were Darts Pros?

Premier League Darts

There is little in the way of sporting news in the UK right now other than England Cricket’s rain drenched test match against South Africa and a washed-out World Athletics Championship in London’s Olympic stadium.

Also, there isn’t much in the way of live televised darts until the Champions League gets underway in Cardiff, Wales in September. The line-up for Champions League of Darts was released recently and it boasts the usual names: Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Peter Wright, Phil Taylor, Adrian Lewis, Dave Chisnall, Mensur Suljovic and Raymond van Barneveld, will all compete for the title.

So, with plenty of darters off on their holibobs, thank god that Premier League Football is back this weekend. Frankly, it couldn’t come soon enough. Normally the beginning of the 10-month season heralds the summer’s decline but seeing as its pretty much been raining since the last season ended in May, it is very welcome indeed.

So, in a dartless week, and in anticipation of the incoming Football season, we wondered which Premier League Football managers are most like our pro darters.

Michael van Gerwen: Jose Mourinho

Michael vn Gerwen = Jose Mourino

Joe Mourinho is very successful, but a bit moody (actually, read: extremely moody). The Manchester United boss is predictably stroppy but more often than not ends up with a trophy or two. In truth, the decorated Dutchman, isn’t as relentlessly angry as United’s Portuguese leader but he did still walk away from his defeat to ‘The Power’ last week without giving a comment to the press following Taylor’s branding of him as “stupid”. Over in Manchester, Jose just walks out.

Jose Mourinho

Peter Wright: Jurgen Klopp

Peter Wright = Jurgen Klopp

While Dave ‘Chizzy’ Chisnall is the biggest Liverpool fan in darts — for pure charisma and eccentricity — Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright’s best match is Liverpool’s nutty German coach Jurgen Klopp. ‘Kloppo’ has enjoyed success, albeit back in his homeland, and has even reached a couple of finals in his short time with Liverpool too. He won neither. Likewise, Snakebite regularly reaches finals, but sadly for the popular Scot frequently walks away empty handed, save for winning the UK Open in March — his only ever PDC televised final victory.

Jurgen Klopp

Phil Taylor: Arsene Wenger

Phil Taylor = Arsene Wenger

As successful as they may be and despite some successes recently, it’s time to retire . There was a time when Phil was unbeatable at the oche. Similarly, Wenger’s Arsenal remain the only ever Premier League team to go an entire season without losing a match. This, of course, was with his team of ‘Invincibles’ back in the 2003-04 season. Alas, the team then went almost an entire decade without a trophy as restless fans lead nightly Twitter campaigns to remove their head coach. And, yet, he nobly soldiers on, even being rewarded with winning three out of the last four FA Cup finals. Likewise, Taylor — who clearly has better timing than Arsenal’s French boss — won a swansong title when he scooped the World Matchplay in Blackpool last week. For Taylor, one last shot of glory remains in North London. The Ally Pally is, after all, less than three miles from Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, where we still expect Wenger to be for a long time.

Arsene Wenger

Raymond van Barneveld: Pep Guardiola

Raymond van Barneveld = Pep Guardiola

Style comes first for Dutch hero Barney, much as it does for Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola. Pep won as manager of his hometown club Barcelona and then repeated his success while in charge of Bayern Munich. However, success hasn’t followed him to Manchester as super style has been beaten by a more a pragmatic approach. Plus, he doesn’t have Lionel Messi in Manchester.

Pep Guardiola

Bully the Bull: Sam Allardyce

Bully the Bull

With the belly and the bling, Big Sam would have made the perfect darter had he not been a pro footballer before his move into management. In fact, he gave Darts a shot, taking part in the early qualifying rounds of the 2003 UK Darts Open at the Reebok Stadium when he was the Bolton manager. Below is a ten-year-old image of Sam during his spell in charge of Newcastle United playing darts with close friend and legend Arsene Wenger, sorry, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor (Note: Liverpool’s James Milner in also the background). Of course, Allardyce would later manage Toon’s fierce local rivals Sunderland, swapping Black and White stripes for Red and White, like Bully The Bull from 80’s Darts TV show, Bullseye.

Sam Allardyce

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Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor Wins His 16th Matchplay Title In Final Blackpool Performance

Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor Wins His 16th Matchplay Title In Final Blackpool Performance

Phil Taylor Blackpool Match Play

One more for the road for Phil Taylor as he made his glorious bow before impending retirement.

It was the fairy tale ending we were all hoping it would be in Blackpool last Sunday as the greatest darts player of all time marked his final ever appearance in the great ballroom with a championship win. Matching his World Championship tally, victory landed The Power with his 16th Darts Matchplay win.

It was always the win favoured by romantics, but with Michael van Gerwen the current best in the world and in almost unbeatable form for the past two years, most never truly believed it would happen. In fact, Taylor began his campaign last Sunday as a 20/1 outsider, but this being the Winter Gardens, his favourite stage, there was a certain air of inevitability about how things might turn out.

Taylor grabs the momentum

The big change in momentum came in Wednesday night’s quarter final when the big two met, with MVG being cast aside by The Power in surprising and thrilling display which saw Taylor win 16-6. Mighty Mike has barely put a foot wrong in professional darts over the past two seasons, winning just about everything on the table. Here though, he was clearly overwhelmed by such a fanatical crowd as they cheered their English hero. Van Gerwen, who Taylor had branded “stupid” for using a mobile phone during his game with Simon Whitlock, refused to speak to the media afterwards. No matter.

Stoke legend Taylor has been utterly ruthless and dominant in this North-Western venue over the years, as one of only three competitors who have won the event, first held back in 1994. The other two are Dutch pair MVG and Raymond van Barneveld, and it was the latter who became the second victim of Taylor’s run to the final. Famous old foe Barney, went down 11-3 in a somewhat surprisingly comfortable victory.

Fellow Potter, Adrian Lewis was another to fall at the hands of The Power, losing by 17 legs to 9 in the semi-finals, while Gerwyn Price was shot down 10-5 in Taylor’s opening match a week last Sunday.

A legend cements his legacy

All this eventually led to Sunday night’s dream climax as The Power, walking out for the 107th time at this event, met Snakebite in a battle with Peter Wright that went 18-8 in the Englishman’s favour. Wright, hoping to claim his second career TV title, was all that was standing between him and yet another darts record. He was not up to the challenge.

Taylor, in his Matchplay 17th final, averaged 104.24 as he raced to a speedy two leg lead before winning two of the next four while Snakebite foundered. Just a few legs later, the lead, though trimmed, was still massively in The Power’s favour at 8-6. Taylor went on to win the next four legs to move 12-6 up, before Wright landed himself a brilliant but futile 13-darter. By now, 56-year-old Taylor was just four legs away from his record breaking title.

Wright then started to misfire double upon double, and before long, Taylor had landed his seventh 180 to move within touching distance, before victory was secured and history made courtesy of a double 16 in the last leg to seal his 16th title.

The Power himself summed things up, “It’s lovely, it really is and I’ve loved every minute of it. To win a major at my age is fantastic, and I’ve had a tough week when you look at the draw. I’ll miss this place tremendously. I’ve loved it here since the first time I walked through the door. It’s great to win again and it will go down in history, and I’m delighted for everyone who’s supported me.”

A respectfully upset Snakebite added, “Phil is still the best in the world and he’s showed that this week. I’ve watched Phil demolish other players in finals and I was on the other end of that big stick that he normally bashes everyone with but it was a privilege in his last game here.”

Of course, the ultimate dream would be to sign off at the Ally Pally in January with what would be hi 17th World Championship win. Currently. Taylor’s 9/1 with Sky Bet to do exactly that.

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