Love him or loathe him, you have to doth your cap to the sporting giant that is Phil Taylor who was crowned the first World Champion of 2013 at Alexandra Palace.
It brought the glitzy curtain down on two weeks of darts action on Sky although a slightly grubbier, smoke-stained curtain will be raised again this Saturday when the BBC host the BDO version of the world championships — imagine Knots Landing’s relationship to Dallas and you get the idea.
There has always been a bit of the Marmite about Taylor, while many dander happily in his darting wonderland others would bask in the Power’s glory being walked all over.
That looked to be a real possibility when faced with MVG or Michael van Gerwen or Mighty Mike, a man or men, who may look like the offspring of David Jeffrey and Sinead O’Connor and sound like a cross between Martin Jol and Steve McLaren, but can chuck arrows with aplomb.
“When Taylor won his first title in 1990, MVG was eight months old,” bellowed Wayne Mardle, and he hasn’t changed a bit — bald, round and screaming.
Mardle was joined in the commentary box by John Gwynne. Never mind MVG being in nappies when Taylor began dominating the world, there was a Pampers salesman in Bethlehem when Gwynne first started, but wisdom doesn’t always follow age.
“Treble 20, double 19 — just like shelling peas.” Now, I don’t profess to know a colossal amount about pea shelling but I’m pretty sure you don’t do it with a tungsten-based implement.
Gwynne then fell into the trap we all do while watching MVG — the urge to watch Shooting Stars and shout ‘he’s a baby’ at the screen as he runs on in a big, pink babygrow.
“The George Dawes look-a-like sometimes,” continued Gwynne. ‘Sometimes?’, surely all the time, I mean they’re like two double 19s in a pod. Gwynne was ushered off to bed after four epic sets, tucked up in his Leighton Rees pyjamas, a packet of Embassy in the pocket and drinking cocoa from his Dave Whitcombe mug.
But any dreams of a happy ending for MVG were dashed as Taylor wobbled back from 4-2 down to chalk up five sets in a row to clinch a 16th world title — not bad for a 52-year-old with man flu, while little Michael was left screaming that he didn’t want to go to bed yet.