ASK any darts fan to sum up Bobby George in one word and the most likely answer you will receive is that of “legend”.
As the founder of the famous walk on, and the undisputed king of bling, 65-year-old George has grown to become one of the best-loved players to ever have graced the oche — in a career spanning more than 30 years.
Although one of the greatest players never to have lifted the coveted BDO World Championship crown, the Essex-based star has a number of titles to his name, including the 1978 North American Open, the 1979 News of the World Championship, along with 26 England caps.
But aside from becoming a fans’ favourite, George has also developed another well-known item during that time, his own unique darts language.
And now, for the first time, the two time BDO World Championship finalist has penned his well-used catchphrases, with the help of dart historian Dr Patrick Chaplin.
Scoring For Show Doubles For Dough is packed full of ‘Georgisms’, mixed with short tales from his time on the oche, and is a must for any serious darts fan.
“I got a call from Patrick asking if I would be interested in putting down all my lingo as he had seen me on television trying to show it to Ray Stubbs on the BBC,” said George.
“That all came about after Ray was ordering drinks at the bar at the Lakeside about three years ago and I said ‘I’ll have a pig’s ear’, which is a beer, and Ray had no idea what it was. So I sat down and we did a bit for the TV with Ray trying to learn my lingo and that’s how Patrick founded the idea of the book.
“Everyone uses my lingo, so it made sense to put it down on paper. Patrick has come along and done a lot of research while I have added the humour to it.
“At first I thought it was going to be a bit plastic and boring, but I have really enjoyed doing it and hopefully people will find it a good read.”
Over the last decade, darts’ popularity has rocketed thanks to the likes of George, and the roles of the BBC and Sky in promoting the game.
No longer is the game full of the stereotypical images of men with large beer bellies throwing darts in smoke filled arenas, but one of glitzy walk-ons, glamour girls and players that are as recognised as Premier League footballers.
“We are now back at the time when darts was massively popular in the late 70s and early 80s,” added George.
“Everyone has their heroes. I was one of the first who came out with walk on and some said you are bringing the game down, but look where it is now. If you did not have all that you would lose the entertainment. You could say that I was the one who brought the glamour into darts and the looks too!
“All games peak and fall but darts is getting bigger and bigger and now it is reaching around 70 countries, although I would struggle to name 15 of them!”
In addition to changes made regarding the image of the game, a number of alterations have come in over time to the playing side, as George explains.
“Since I started out the treble beds have got much bigger with the change of boards,” said George.
“It is now a lot easier to hit the 180s, but that is what the spectators want to see.
“Throwing distance has changed as well. Back then we were throwing that bit further, which makes a difference. It does make comparing statistics hard though, with such changes.”
With the darts being split into two codes in the early 1990s, many feel that the breakaway PDC, which features the likes of 14-time world champion Phil Taylor, James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld, is much the stronger competition, but for George that is not the case.
“It is all rubbish that there is a gap between the BDO and PDC,” he added. “All the PDC lads at some point have played in the BDO and you have to look at those that have jumped over recently. Look at Gary Anderson, he has just gone and taken the Premier League title.
“I’ll give Barry Hearn his due. He has pushed the game forward but the BDO continues to produce the players before they go to the PDC. Another example is Scott Waites in the Grand Slam of Darts, he gets beaten by Phil Taylor in 2009 then comes back and wins it next year which is great for the BDO.”
Although now fully focused on a punditary role for the BBC’s dart coverage, something he has done for more than 10 years, George still pulls the darts out from time to time to roll back his glory days against some of his old rivals.
He said: “I still play a lot of exhibition darts and enjoy that but I do miss playing the game on the big stage. I could have gone back if I wanted to but it is a big sacrifice. It would mean I would have been travelling all over the place again, playing in the county matches and after 37 years of doing it I just want to enjoy myself now.
“I enjoy doing the TV work and Ray Stubbs has helped me a lot. There is no acting involved its all live. Colin Murray has been good to work with and he is well into his darts, although there are times when I haven’t a clue what he is saying!”
Scoring for Show, Doubles for Dough, is available is available from Apex Publishing Ltd and Amazon.co.uk as well as stocked at most leading bookstores, priced at £9.99