Phil Taylor Interview: The Unmatched Powerhouse of Professional Darts

Updated: 326 Darts

Explore the life and career of Phil Taylor, the undisputed king of darts. From his memorable championships to his exclusive interview, uncover the story of 'The Power'.

Phil Taylor Interview: The Unmatched Powerhouse of Professional Darts
Steve Madgwick Editor-In-Chief

Editor-In-Chief with 20 years experience covering the betting angles to breaking news stories. Daily slots player, Portsmouth fan and League Snooker Player

As we step up to the oche of Phil Taylor's life story, brace for a captivating journey into the heart of darts. This article not only delves into the phenomenal career of 'The Power', but also brings you up close with him through an exclusive interview. Packaged with compelling anecdotes, personal insights and triumphant moments, this read is a bullseye for every darts enthusiast!

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Biography

Philip Douglas Taylor is a former professional darts player born on 13 August 1960 in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England. Recognized widely as the greatest darts player of all time, he held dominant reign in darts for over 20 years, earning the nickname "The Power". Over his illustrious career, Taylor racked up a staggering 214 professional tournament wins, bagged a record 85 major titles and won 16 World Championships, the most by any player in history.

Career

Taylor's darts career kicked into full gear in 1995 when he won his first World Championship. From then, he went on an unprecedented winning spree, clinching 8 consecutive World Championships until 2002. For more than a decade, Taylor held the world number one ranking, out of which 8 years were in succession from 2006 to 2013. His record 11 televised nine-dart finishes speak volumes about his precision and dominance.

Unsatisfied with the British Darts Organisation (BDO), Taylor along with 15 other top players established a new entity, the now-renowned Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) in 1993. He won the coveted PDC Player of the Year award six times and was also the first darts player to be nominated twice for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

By Philthepower.jpg: Jason Cartwrightderivative work: Spiderone (talk) - Philthepower.jpg, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7261904

Retirement and Recognition

Taylor announced his retirement from professional darts following the 2018 World Championship. His contributions to the sport were acknowledged with his induction into the PDC Hall of Fame in 2011. In spite of retirement, Taylor participated in the inaugural 2022 World Seniors Darts Championship, reaching the quarter-finals. His impressive credentials and unparalleled dominance have set the bar high for future generations of darts players, solidifying his status as a titan of the sport.

Exclusive Interview December 2023

The Interview was conducted on behalf of OLBG by Joe Hewlett

I: What’s next for you, now you’ve confirmed your retirement from darts?

PT: After next year, I’ll be doing personal appearances and I’ll be working with the seniors. So, I will be doing things with the seniors. They’re yet to decide what we’re going to do, so over the next twelve months they’ll decide what they want me to do, so we’ll see what happens then.

I: And for these appearances, could former rivals be appearing with you? The likes of Raymond van Barneveld for instance?

PT: I think Raymond will join the seniors, eventually, you know. I think he’ll find it difficult now because of his age, with younger players coming through to carry on at a top standard. But I think in the seniors he’ll be well suited.

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I: Outside of darts, could we see you in next year’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here?

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PT: Yeah, I’d be open to it. We’ve got to talk, obviously. But Bob (his manager) will sort all that out. I mean I don’t find any challenges in there for what I couldn’t do. 

I: How would you find that with all of the challenges in the Jungle?

PT:  I know they’re not going to put anything in there that’s going to hurt you. I know you can get bitten, and something can go up your nose or whatever but we’ll just have to see. Do you know what I mean? It would be a challenge and something I’ve never done before. So I would quite enjoy it I think 

I: Are you a big fan of the show? Do you watch it?

PT: Yeah, I do enjoy it. I tend to watch the highlights in the morning to be honest with you because I go to bed early now. I’m in bed by about 8 o’clock. So, I’ll catch up in the morning with daytime TV.

Image: ITV

I: What's your favourite bit about the show? 

PT: Ant and Dec are always good aren’t they? They're brilliant. I mean I like how the celebrities get a little bit heated. Because they're hungry living off rice and beans so, I like all that kind of thing. The challenges I enjoy. That’s always interesting and you get different characters as well. They’ve always got to throw someone in the mix that’s going to irritate people. So that’d be a challenge for me as well because I can’t keep my mouth shut.

I: Would you be argumentative in the Jungle?

PT: No. I’d be normal. The only time I get argumentative is when I've had a drink! Hungry? No, no. I’ve noticed sometimes I go to bed and I'm hungry, but I always wake up and I’m not hungry. So, it wouldn’t bother me I don’t think. I’d lose a bit of weight as well.

I: So you’re answer to I’m a Celebrity is, you would do it if you were offered it?

PT: Yeah, I think so.

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I: Are the rumours of you and Robbie Williams pumping money into Port Vale true?

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PT: Well, I was asked that by talkSPORT because me and Robbie are good friends, and his dad is like my second Dad, Peter is and talkSPORT mentioned that Robbie was interested in investing into Port Vale and, if he does would you be interested? I said well, yeah I think so, but we’d have to see what it is and how much they want and stuff like that. But I’ve heard nothing from Robbie. So, no I think it’s just a rumour.

I: Do you plan on speaking to Robbie about this or have you already spoken to him?

PT: No, I haven’t. I know he was in Australia, so I don’t bother him with the time difference. I’ll probably text him when I get home tomorrow morning and I’ll give him a text in the week because I want an update on his dad because his dads not very well. He lives in one of my bungalows. So, I’ll just give a little update on his dad, just to keep him informed really.

Image: footballgroundguide

I: So, if you and Robbie did invest, what would be your ambition be?

PT: Get them to the Premier League! I don’t know in all seriousness to be honest with you, I haven’t got a clue. I’d probably give Barry Hearn a ring and ask his advice. You know, Barry was my ex manager and because he owned Leyton Orient, he knows a lot more about running a football club than I do, so I’d ask him for a bit of advice.

I: Would you want to be the chairman?

PT: No. That’s the only thing that’s worried me about investing in Port Vale because I live round that area whereas Robbie doesn’t. So, if I go to the matches, I’ll be the one that gets all the stick because I’ve had it before you see. ‘You’ve got plenty of money, get your money out and buy us a player!’. Yeah, I will yeah!

I: We’ve seen Ryan Reynolds at Wrexham and that’s worked wonders. This could have a similar impact, right?

PT: Well, again, I’d have to converse with Robbie. It’s up high in the sky at the minute so I’m not going to go too deep into it because it’s probably never happened.

I: Are you a Port Vale fan?

PT: I am a Port Vale fan. Yeah, I used to live about half a mile from the ground. My dad used to lift me over the turnstile, because we didn’t have enough money to get in. They didn’t mind in them days when a few kids just jumping over. 

I: And do you still go to the games?

PT: No, I haven’t been this season, I’ve been away. But I’m spending a bit more time with my grandkids now. I’ve got time to spend with my family. So, I tend to have the grandkids on the weekend. They come up and cook the dinners for them and stuff. It’s nice, it’s nice seeing them. I’ve got my Sunday dinner order lined up for this weekend already!

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I: Talking of Christmas Phil, what traditions are there in the Taylor household?

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PT: We have, Karen's (his wife’s) son comes to stay with us. He comes every year and stays with us over the Christmas period and her dad normally comes too. But I've lost my parents now, but Karen's dad and brother come up.

We have a family friend who is on his own, he comes to have Christmas dinner with as well so he’s not on his own. Come about 2 o’clock, I’ll go down to Pete’s (Robbie William’s dad) and take him some dinner down to the bungalow. And have a couple of hours with him.

So, yeah that’s my Christmas day, I'll go down and have a chat with him. Watch a bit of TV with him and talk about sh*** basically. Then I’ll say I’ll see you tomorrow on Boxing Day. 

I: What are your favourite snacks around Christmas?

PT: We normally have a Christmas dinner, a normal dinner if you know what I mean. I’m not really particular, anything will do me. A Turkey sandwich will do me, I’m not bothered.

I: What times your Christmas dinner? Will you watch the King’s Speech before it?

PT: Well, we used to have the Queens speech on, obviously it’s the kings speech isn’t it. So, that’s a first. Yeah, we’ll watch all that. And then normally we’d have dinner at probably about 2 or 3 o’clock. 

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I: Who takes charge of the cooking? You or Karen?

PT: Karen. Karen does all the cooking. She says, ‘get out of my kitchen’. I can't touch the cooker. Well, I'll cook now and again. But I’m not really allowed in the kitchen very often and I’m not allowed to touch the washing machine, or the tumble dryer, or the iron, or the vacuum cleaner. I’ve got the perfect wife to be honest with you.

I: What do you do then? Just do the exhibitions?

PT: I bring the money in (he jokes). That’s about it really. I do a lot of practicing. I’ll still go and have a little practice on Christmas day. Because I’ve got the seniors coming up in February.

I: How do you reflect on your career?

PT: I am proud but darts for me now has changed completely since I played because I look at the players now. I mean I went down to do the draw with Dennis Priestley, and I would say that 60% of the players, I've never heard of. 

They're all new faces now with all different people coming through, and I think this year’s World Championship is going to be career-ending for some people. I think it's all changing so fast. A lot of new players taking over. 

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I: Career ending for who, Phil?

PT: Well, there are a few players now defending a lot of money. I say career-ending, it’s going to be difficult to get back up to say the top rankings. Peter Wright is defending five hundred thousand. He needs to do well, and I’m sure Peter will. But there’s a few players who are clinging on. Mervyn King, fifty thousand pounds defending, and I don’t think he’s in the World Championship, so that’s going to drop his rankings down. When I say career-ending, that’s a bit over the top really. But it’s going to drop them down the rankings a lot. And, also, it’ll affect them to earn their money on the tournament side. 

I: What about Gary Anderson as well?

PT: Gary is on a resurge at the minute. He’s playing alright, is Gary, and I think he is a dark horse for the World championship.

I: Who do you see as the contenders for the World Championships?

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PT: You’re going to have to pick the players, Gerwyn Price isn’t playing so well as he has done over the past few years. But I’m sure he’ll be alright for Christmas. Michael Van Gerwen is my tip. Luke Humphreys is playing well. I think James Wade has had a little bit of a resurgence. Peter Wright is under pressure so he’s got to perform which I’m sure he will. So, it’s the same old players really. 

I: What have you made of Michael Van Gerwen over the past couple of years?

Sven Mandel, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

PT: Yeah, he’s had a few problems. I’m sure he’s put that right. Now when I was talking to him a couple of weeks ago, I said you’ve got two or three weeks now to get ready for the worlds, and he said believe me I’m going to, and he’s just done a nine-darter in the final recently. His form is picking up, and you know his confidence is there. So, I’d tip him to win it or to be there or there abouts anyway.

I: When all of them are on top form, do you think Michael Van Gerwen just had that edge over everybody?

PT: Yeah, I think so. I think so. But then again, Luke Humphreys. He’s cool as a cucumber, so he’ll give Michael a run for his money. I think that’ll be the semis. 

I: What was Michael like to play against? 

PT: Loud. Always shouting. He was just a good player. A very, very good player, and until you beat him you didn’t know where you were with him. You know you could never relax your guard with him. He’s a bit like a Manny Pacquiao. You’ve got to knock him out before he’d lie down because he just wouldn’t lie down at all, and Barney was the same. They’d always carry on playing hard against you. You never got them until that man said game shot and a match. 

I: We all remember that final against Barney. What an incredible final that was! How did it feel with the atmosphere that night? 

PT: It was brilliant. It was a final I feel I should never have lost. I was too far in front, and I blew it. But the atmosphere, when people start coming back at you, the crowd go absolutely mental. I played Barney last week in Bournemouth and it was the same there. The crowd were going mental. I was 4-2 down and beat him 5-4. So, the crowd really get behind us, it was like being back at Circus Tavern again.

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I: What was your favourite venue to play at in the UK?

PT: Blackpool was my favourite because it was in summer as well. Ally Pally is a lovely venue, but it’s in winter and you’re stuck in doors all day and you can’t do nothing whereas at Blackpool I’ve got my own lodge, I can sit outside in the sun, I can go to the spa, it was brilliant. 

I: What makes Blackpool such a special venue or area for darts?

PT: I don’t know really. It’s like our Las Vegas, as they say. I just like it up there. I had a holiday home up there for years. I sold it a couple years ago because I don’t use it as much now, but it was great, and it’s local. You know, from my house to Blackpool. It was about an hour and 10 minutes. So, it was great. I could go up there have a nice little break and be home in an hour and a half. 

I: You dominated the World Championships for so long…

PT: Yeah, eight years on the trot. I lost the final. Then won it eight years, then lost the final. It was like a relief for me then when I didn’t win a world title. It was a relief for me, to not win the world title believe it or not because everyone was moaning and groaning all of the time because I was winning it every year. It was getting boring. 

I: Who would you say your biggest rival has been in the sport?

PT: Two really. Dennis Priestley and Barney.  Dennis was slow. He was methodical. He was a cracking scorer and good under pressure. But the main thing was that he took his time. He was very difficult to play against and Barney, obviously, came across who was famous with the BDO and he created a great atmosphere, did Barney. I still love playing Barney now.

I: What have you made of Fallon Sherrock’s impact as well as female darts players?

PT: I like it, it creates interest. I mean Fallon has been a breath of fresh air, to be honest with you. I mean I noticed the poster. You’ve got Michael van Gerwen, you’ve got the winner from last year’s World Championship and then you’ve got Fallon on the front. So that just shows you. 

You’ve got Michael Smith at the back and Fallon at the front of the picture which just shows you that people are interested, and it’s great. She creates people talking about darts. If people are talking about the sport, then it’s giving the sport publicity and credibility. She’s good for the sport.

I: Can she win a title?

PT: I wouldn’t like to play Fallon. She’s a cracking finisher, and obviously, she’s done a nine-darter, so the girl can play. So, I think she’ll do very well. 

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