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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bully the Bull: Sam Allardyce
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.