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Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson is quite simply one of the most naturally gifted darts stars of the modern era.

A World Champion in waiting and many believe that he has the ability to dominate the sport over the next decade.

And a deserved first PDC TV ‘Major’ wasn’t long in coming!

After a string of near misses, Anderson finally won a ‘Big One’, when he was crowned 2011 Premier League Champion on a dramatic night at Wembley.

Gary finished a superb third in the league stage in his first season in the Premier League, but there was no stopping him on finals night at Wembley in May 2011, when he beat Raymond van Barneveld in the semi-finals, before dismantling Adrian Lewis in the final to win the title and a cheque for £125,000.

“It was a great feeling," he said. “Despite dominating the final, I was still edgy trying to hit that winning double. But this win means so much to me."

He beat Barney in a close semi-final (8-6) but he produced a performance of a true Champion to win the title…..a 10-4 thrashing of Lewis, which made up a little for losing the World Championship Final a few months earlier.

And many experts are tipping Anderson to take over from the great Phil Taylor at the top of the darting tree.

In just a short time in the world of the Professional Darts Corporation, Anderson has already risen to No.3 in the world and dazzled darts fans all round the world with his own brand of tungsten genius.

And now he is hoping that a three-year-deal with Unicorn will help him take his game to the next level.

“I was thrilled when I found out that Unicorn wanted to sign me, but I know the pressure is on to perform and win the big titles….and that is what I aim to do!"

Unicorn Managing Director Edward Lowy said: “Gary is without doubt, one of the most exciting darting talents in the world today and the time is right for us to be working with him."

It has been a long and winding road for Anderson! But despite all the twists and turns, there is a straight path ahead for ‘The Flying Scotsman’.

One of the most prolific 180 scorers in the world, he holds the record for the number of maximums in a match in the Premier League – hitting 11 in his victory over Simon Whitlock in Birmingham.

Anderson is just as prolific away from the TV cameras as well….he won five PDC Pro Tour titles in the first half of 2011, including two wins over Taylor in finals and in June, the Scot created some history by becoming the 6th member of a very exclusive club.

He won both Players Championship titles over a weekend…..In Nuland, Holland, he beat Wes Newton and Andy Smith to take the tournaments….the other players to achieve the feat include Newton himself, Taylor, Lewis, Mervyn King and Robert Thornton.

But the Scot is now ready to claim a host of ‘TV Majors’ having come agonisingly close over the last 12 months.

Of course, he was just edged out by Adrian Lewis in the 2011 World Championship Final…..and was narrowly beaten by Taylor in the final of the 2010 UK Open and again at the 2011 Players Championship Finals, when he was beaten 13-12 in a match that he knows he should have won.

But those big tournament victories are just round the corner – that is a given for the 40-year-old whose one big regret is not switching to the PDC two years earlier than he eventually did in 2009…..but he has already made a massive impression in a short time.

Despite losing to Taylor in two PDC TV Finals, he did dismantle ‘The Power’ when he won his first big tournament – the World Darts Trophy in 2007 – and he has beaten Taylor in two PDC Pro Tour Finals in 2011.

But Anderson is a rare talent.

Hugely popular with darts fans and one of the sport’s great entertainers……his landmark first win with the British Darts Organisation came in 2001 at the Welsh Open and he won dozens of tournaments, including the Gold Cup, British Open, British Classic, the prestigious Zuiderduin Masters and the BDO Grand Prix.

But his big breakthrough onto the world stage came in 2007 when Anderson won both the World Darts Trophy and International Darts League – displaying his talents to a big TV audience.

Both victories came in Holland where Anderson was already very popular on the exhibition circuit. He thrashed Taylor by 7 sets to 3 with a 104 average to claim the WDT and he beat good friend Mark Webster at the IDL, after disposing of Adrian Lewis and James Wade in the knock-out stages.

Looking back, Anderson admits he should have switched to the PDC around that time, but the move across the great darting divide in February 2009 wasn’t so much a leap of faith but a signal of his intent to play and beat the very best.

And that’s exactly what the Scot has done.

It took him a little time to ‘get his feet under the PDC table’ but once he got going, Anderson hasn’t looked back.

He has won a host of Pro Tour titles and established himself as one of the best in the business….his biggest disappointment of course, was the World Championship Final.

“My worst performance of the tournament," was how Anderson described his 7 sets to 5 loss to Adrian Lewis in that epic final at the Alexandra Palace.

Anderson levelled the match at five sets apiece, before Lewis claimed the title…..the laid back Scot though moved on a long time ago!

“Yes, it was disappointing to lose, but the day after I was already thinking ahead. I don’t see the point of musing on any defeat because there is nothing I can do to change the result, so I move on," he said. “That has always been my philosophy and always will be!"

But that is Anderson the man and Anderson the player.

“People say that if I was any more laid back, I would be sleeping!" he joked.

He has never been one for the limelight, preferring to stay in the shadows…..but he acknowledges that has to chance and bit by bit, he is feeling more comfortable with the demands of being one of the best darts players in the world.

His debut season in the Premier League has certainly been an education and he admits that keeping his concentration is a problem but he has laid down a big marker, that’s for sure.

At the Ally Pally, Anderson was recording magic numbers throughout the tournament…..he beat Morihiro Hashimoto of Japan, Dennis Priestley, Andy Smith, Raymond van Barneveld and Terry Jenkins en route to the final.

Anderson banged in 58x180s and his tournament average was an incredible 103, with a high of 108.39 against ‘The Pie Man’. His lowest average was in the final but even after 12 amazing sets of darts, he averaged 99.41

Remember, Anderson has also reached two semi-finals at the Grand Slam of Darts, losing to Taylor and Terry Jenkins and epic games, he perhaps should have won….and one of the big disappointments of 2010 was his defeat to Wayne Jones in the quarter-finals at the GSOD, when he lost 16-15 after leading 15-12

But incredibly, Anderson may never have played darts and the first time he picked up a set of ‘arrers, he was 24-years-old, living in the Scottish Borders and it was only because he was broke!

He takes up the story: “I would swap anything to knock 20 years off for me, so I could start playing darts a bit younger!"

“But it’s true….I only started playing because I was skint! I was always into golf, snooker and pool but it was too expensive for me. I was at a caravan park, which my mate’s dad owned and I didn’t have a £1 coin to put in the pool table. There was a dart board on the site, so I picked up these old looking darts and had a throw."

Anderson continued: “I couldn’t believe what happened but my first nine darts were 140, 180 and 140 and that was that. I guess there was no going back. But it was pure chance and the way I threw the darts all those years ago at the caravan park, is exactly the way that I throw them today!"

He then started to play in the local leagues and started winning tournaments with prize money of £1,000 and £500. Anderson graduated to Super League with Mussleborough and then County darts with East Lothian and East Stirlingshire.

The journey had well and truly started for Gary Anderson.

He qualified for his first Lakeside World Championship in 2000 and although he never had the best of luck at the BDO World Championship, his best performance came in 2003 when he lost in the semi-finals to Ritchie Davies.

Would you believe that Anderson was in a full-time job up until 2005/06…..he worked for nearly 20 years at a building company (Fireplace Studio) near Edinburgh making marble fireplaces!

And although playing and winning darts in his living these days, it still has to be fun for Anderson.

“For me, that’s the key," he revealed. “If it isn’t fun and I am not enjoying myself, then what’s the point?"

“After I lose, the next day it is forgotten. I won’t let things get to me and I certainly like to play the game the right way," he said.

He conceded that on occasion, lacking a ‘killer instinct’ on the stage is perhaps his Achilles heel, but doesn’t believe that his ‘doubles’ should be so much the centre of attention.

“People make a lot of my missed doubles, but really my finishing is now worse than all the other players," Anderson said. “It is just that other people make a big deal of it. Of course I would like to be much more consistent on my finishing but in the Premier League, I was in the top two of three on the doubles, so it can’t be that bad!"

It would be a travesty if Anderson didn’t realise his dream of being crowned World Champion, but he accepts it is up to him to achieve his goal.

He still gets very nervous before he walks onto the big darts stages around the world, but once he is firing on all cylinders, he takes some stopping.

“I respect all my opponents off stage, but certainly not on it. Showing respect on the stage is a sign of weakness. After a game, there is the utmost of respect, but not during a game," he said.

Anderson has also come agonisingly close to hitting TV 9-darters – missing the final double on several occasions, but he has managed two 9-dart legs in competition – at the Gold Cup in BDO days and in Derby at a PDC Pro Tour event in 2010.

The future looks to be full of trophies for Anderson. The darts world believes that now he has won that first PDC TV title, many more will follow.

But it is all about natural darting talent. He just doesn’t practice until he turns up at tournaments and loosens the arm to warm-up!

Hugely popular with darts fans around the world, Anderson has built a reputation of playing the sport with a touch of style and panache.

The future of darts still looks to be very bright under the guidance of PDC Chairman Barry Hearn and Anderson is enjoying every minute of being part of it.

He is managed by top sports promoter Tommy Gilmore and the pair have fast become close friends as they try to plot Anderson’s darting successes of the future.

Gary lives in Burnham-on-Sea with partner Rachel and has two sons Ryan and Joe.

Already a darting star, Gary Anderson looks set to become a darting superstar over the next decade.

Nickname: The Flying Scotsman
Date of birth: 22nd December 1970
Place of birth: Edinburgh
Height: 5ft 11ins
Hometown: Burnham on Sea
Family: In a relationship
Occupation before darts: Builder
Hobbies: No time for hobbies
Sponsors: Unicorn Darts, Rix Motors, Bensons for Beds, The Scottish Sun
Darts used: Unicorn Gary Anderson Maestro Premier 24gm
Best darts moment so far: Premier League Champion 2011
Practice partner: Justin Pipe
Favourite double (on dartboard): Tops
Favourite food: Chinese
Favopurite drink: Coffee
Favourite holiday destination: Las Vegas
Favourite music: All types
Walk on music: Jump Around by House of Pain
Favourite movie: Horrors
Favourite PDC event: Grand Slam of Darts
Favourite TV programme: Discovery Channel
Sporting heroes: Jimmy White

Premier League, Winner: 2011
World Championship Runner Up: 2011
World Championship Semi Finalist: 2003
World Matchplay, Round 2: 2009, 2010
World Grand Prix, Quarter Finalist: 2010
Grand Slam, Semi Finalist: 2007, 2008
Las Vegas Desert Classic, Quarter Finalist: 2009
European Championship, Quarter Finalist: 2009
UK Open, Runner Up: 2010
Players Championship Finals, Runner Up: 2011
World Master, Quarter Finalist: 2003, 2005
World Darts Trophy, Winner: 2007
International Darts League, Winner: 2007
Dutch Masters, Winner: 2007, 2008
Welsh Players Championship, Winner: 2009
UK Open Qualifier, Winner: 2010, 2011
Players Championship (Barnsley), Winner: 2010
Players Championship (Las Vegas), Winner: 2010
John McEvoy Gold Dart Classic Players Championship, Winner: 2010
Players Championship (Crawley), Winner: 2011
Players Championship (Nuland), Winner: 2011 (x2)
Players Championship (Derby), Winner: 2011

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