WILLIAM TELL could knock an apple off your head. Robin Hood was pretty decent at archery. But nobody has ever been so lethal with arrows as Philip Douglas Taylor.
So when it came to compiling SunSport’s Top Ten oche figures, there really was only one winner.
Anybody arguing against Taylor being named the greatest darts player of all time probably needs their head examined.
In his pomp, The Power was unbeatable and had no equal, dominating the sport throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
He may have retired from the sport two years ago but his records over seven feet, nine-and-a-quarter inches will probably stand the test of time.
As ever, lists like this always generate enormous debate. Candidates have been judged on their displays at world level, longevity and impact on the sport.
1: Phil Taylor
SIXTEEN world titles – two in the BDO, 14 at PDC level – between 1990 and 2013 is why Taylor is the Greatest.
Taylor, who turns 60 in August, was untouchable at his best, relentless in his pursuit of titles, tournament cheques and nine-darters.
The Stoke star lifted the Lakeside crown on his debut and nobody will ever eclipse his records.
2: Eric Bristow
THE Crafty Cockney was the master of the mind games and was a huge figure during the smoky, boozy days of the 1980s.
Bristow won five world titles when the BDO was at its competitive best, including three-in-a-row, beating top rivals John Lowe and Jocky Wilson.
There could have been even more – he also lost in five world finals before his powers waned and the sport turned professional.
Bristow died of a heart attack aged 60 in April 2018.
3: Michael van Gerwen
THE current world No.1 and three-time world champion has already shown by the age of 31 that he deserves his place among the legends.
The Dutchman has won every major title – including five Premier Leagues at the O2 Arena – and led the way over the past four years.
He has time on his side to leave a lasting legacy in the sport and overtake Bristow in the rankings. Taylor, by his own admission, is too far away to match.
The big question is whether having two young children, not to mention the £8million in prize money, will dilute his motivation for more trophies.
His form has dipped since lockdown plus he is suffering from a back injury – time for him to remind us why he deserves such praise.
4: Raymond van Barneveld
THE tall Dutchman will be forever remembered for that stunning last-leg shootout win over Phil Taylor at the Circus Tavern in 2007.
Only one man has won more than his five world titles but four of them were in the BDO and he never quite challenged consistently when he moved to the PDC circuit.
Barney, 53, retired last year and remains one of the most recognisable names in the sport.
Yet, as revealed first by SunSport in September, Barney is aiming for a comeback at Q School in January. Few would bet against him.
5: Gary Anderson
INTROVERT Anderson, a former builder of fireplace grates, is one of Scotland’s sporting greats – albeit he is a reluctant hero.
The Flying Scotsman, who loves nothing more than a day by the fishing lake, produced exceptional darts to win back-to-back PDC world crowns (2015-16).
It would have been an Ally Pally hat-trick had he not lost to Van Gerwen in the 2017 showpiece occasion.
When you throw in the fact Ando has also lifted the World Matchplay, Premier League (twice) and UK Open, the 49-year-old deserves his status among the tungsten titans.
6: John Lowe
THERE might have been more popular players in the 1980s – Bristow, Jocky Wilson, Bobby George – but few were as formidable or reliable as Lowe.
With a slow, methodical throw, the 75-year-old reached eight BDO world finals, winning three of them, each one in a different decade (1979, 1987 and 1993)
In 1984, Old Stoneface became the first person to hit a televised nine-darter – for which he bagged a staggering £102,000.
7: Martin Adams
ADAMS is one of the most popular and endearing characters in the sport.
Wolfie, who continues to play at a high level aged 64, won three BDO titles in five years.
Many felt he should have switched codes and tested himself against the PDC elite, but the Lakeside Country Club has always had a special place in his heart.
In 2016 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent 20 bouts of radiotherapy in four weeks. Two years later, he said he was given ‘the all-clear’ by doctors.
8: John Part
THE PDC foolishly forgot to put up an image of Part on their Ally Pally drapes a few years ago – and were rightly criticised for it.
It would be easy to overlook his achievements. But in a sport dominated by Brits and Dutchmen, Canadian Part broke the mould and gave non-Europeans hope.
Darth Maple, 54, has three world titles – one on the BDO and two in the PDC – and even beat Taylor in his pomp in a Circus Tavern final.
Reluctant to up sticks from his Ontario home town, Part spent many years on the road and is now an accomplished broadcaster.
9: Glen Durrant
ONE of only three men to win three successive world darts titles.
The Middlesbrough thrower, who turns 50 this month, was a senior housing advisor in the north east while playing at Lakeside but gave that up in 2019 to focus full-time on the PDC circuit.
An argument could be made that the standard or strength-in-depth wasn’t as strong in the BDO when he was lifting world crowns and claiming more than £350,000 in prize money – but that should take nothing away from his achievements.
Winning the PDC Premier League in October is a breakthrough moment on the pro ranks and likely to be the first of many trophies on that side of the divide.
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10: Dennis Priestley
A CASE could have been made for two-time world champion Adrian Lewis but Jackpot’s alarming drop in form in recent years counts against him.
In comparison, Priestly embodied longevity and toughness and deserves his place in the pantheon.
The 70-year-old has two world trophies on his mantelpiece and would have more – had he not been stopped FOUR times in the final by a rampant Taylor.