‘Dad and Jocky Wilson will have a dram to celebrate’

Musselburgh-born Gary Anderson celebrates becoming only the third Scot to become a world darts champion. Picture: Steve Welsh
Musselburgh-born Gary Anderson celebrates becoming only the third Scot to become a world darts champion. Picture: Steve Welsh
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Gary Anderson would like to think Jocky Wilson and Gordon Anderson enjoyed Sunday night as much as he and thousands of others did. He imagines the pair together in some celestial boozer toasting his triumph after Anderson became only the third Scot – Wilson was the first, Les Wallace in 1997 the other – to become world darts champion.

One of his earliest memories is watching his father, who passed away in 2012, cheering when Wilson, Kirkcaldy’s finest, won the 1982 world title against John Lowe. Wilson died within 48 hours of Anderson’s father nearly three years ago. Anderson made a vow to bring the world title back to Scotland for the pair of them.

On Sunday night, at a boisterous Alexandra Palace in London, Musselburgh’s finest managed to do just that, with a 7-6 win over the legendary Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor in the PDC World Championship. Anderson yesterday saluted both Jocky and his dad, who he says helped put the sport in his blood. “It is a wee dram they will be having together up there,” says Anderson, as he reflected on a crazy first full day as world champion.

Things had begun to get calmer at Chez Anderson yesterday evening. He was recovering back in the bosom of his family in Somerset, where he lives with partner Rachel and the latest addition, recently born son Tai. “He turned nine months on Sunday, bang on,” says Anderson. “He might be my lucky charm you never know.”

After six intense rounds – the world championship started way back on 18 December, with only a short break for Christmas – Anderson was savouring some downtime. The Flying Scotsman zoomed down the A4 to Burnham-on-Sea yesterday afternoon. Surely he was able to relax while a chauffeur negotiated the miles. “No, no, I do all the driving myself,” he laughs. “I am still the same old Gary.”

Then there must have been some wild celebrations last night, a few glasses of beer, some wine perhaps? Anderson celebrated the way he always does, with a coffee. Surely, given his new status, he at least went for a posh flat white, or a frothy, triumphant Mochaccino? “No, when they ask me what I want I usually just joke – good old cooncil coffee, Nescafé please!

“Coffee and tea, that’s me,” he continues. “I did have a couple of drinks last night but they don’t like us talking about the beers on the darts stage. But straight after they had the coffee ready for me because they know I like the coffee. Then back at the hotel it was coffee and bed. Tonight will be the same.”

He hasn’t seen Tai, or “the wee fella”, since Boxing day. This indicates just how all-consuming darts is. For those still unaware, it is not now an activity for the idle. Anderson practices for five hours a day though he will give himself a couple of days off now, before preparations begin for the next assignment, a Masters event in Milton Keynes.

He originally planned to retire at 40. “That was four years ago,” he says. “I might now just push on until 50.”

He didn’t start playing seriously until relatively late, when in his mid-twenties. Why darts? “It’s free,” he explains. “You can just pick up a set of pub darts and throw. If you had nae money you had a game of darts. Pool was maybe 50p or you could have a game of darts for nowt.”

It’s been a long road, living out of a suitcase for ten months of the year, and remembering to pack a special pillow to rectify a neck problem he blames on hotel beds. Anderson has also had to endure the death, in 2011, of his brother Stuart, at the age of only 35. According to Tommy Gilmour, his manager, success could not have come to a nicer person. “He brings me up hampers of cider from Somerset and presents for my grandkids,” he says. “He is just a lovely guy. It’s all been about knuckling down and smiling.

“But people are now realising how marketable he is,” adds Gilmour. Anderson mentioned he was going home “to do some DIY” in an interview on Sunday night. “One of the leading DIY stores has already been in touch wanting to give him the stuff,” reveals Gilmour, who adds that Scotland should have enormous pride in Anderson: “It is not often we get a world champion.”

Despite coverage referring to him as an “Eyemouth thrower”, Anderson is in fact Musselburgh born-and-bred, living there, in Fisherrow, until his late teens. He only moved to the Borders at the time of his first marriage. “I am a Musselburgh boy,” he confirms. “I went to the primary school and then the secondary school,” he says. Unmasked as a “Hibee” by Judy Murray in a tweet on Sunday night, Anderson hesitates to say he remains a full-on fan of the Easter Road club, with darts having taken priority for so long. “Years and years ago,” he says. “When I was at work in the building trade, I used to always wear a Hibs scarf.

“But I haven’t seen a game since I was about six years old. I don’t have time for the football now. I keep saying I need to sit down and watch the games and see who plays for them now.”

He says he would welcome an invite to a game. But not, perhaps, an appearance on the pitch at half-time. “I dinnae ken about that. I am quite shy and like to be hidden away,” says Anderson.

After Sunday night’s high-profile success, which prompted a celebratory tweet from Stephen Fry of all people to nearly nine million followers, this might now prove difficult.