Darts: World champion Anderson looking forward to Leeds return

Gary Anderson.
Gary Anderson.
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Immediately after achieving his darting destiny, new world champion Gary Anderson’s thoughts turned to next month in Leeds.

Anderson completed the greatest achievement of his career on Sunday night when he pipped the legendary Phil Taylor 7-6 to win the PDC William Hill World Championship at London’s Alexandra Palace.

Darts players have a reputation for enjoying more than the occasional tipple and Anderson could have been forgiven for partying late into the night after the biggest win of his career, but describing his celebrations, he revealed: “I had a coffee and went to bed!”

Said the 44-year-old Scotsman, who pocketed a £250,000 winner’s cheque: “I am not one for thinking about what’s done – I am a bit strange that way. I don’t let things sit on my mind too much. That is done now, let’s move on to the next one.”

Anderson will toe the oche at Leeds’ First Direct Arena on Thursday, February 5, when the new Betway Premier League season kicks-off. Leeds has been chosen to host the opening round after a record 11,000 crowd turned up for the event’s first visit to the city last March. An attendance of 12,000 is expected this year and Anderson is already looking forward to what he reckons will be a remarkable night.

Speaking exclusively to The Yorkshire Evening Post, Anderson said: “Last year in Leeds was special. Standing on stage you could feel the whole place buzzing. It was great and it’s nice to have a new venue, somewhere different.”

Premier League champion in 2011, Anderson will be there to be shot at when he takes to the stage in Leeds in less than one month’s time. Opening night fixtures will be confirmed later in January and Anderson knows all eyes will be on him.

“It just puts extra pressure on me – I am too old to have extra pressure put on,” he joked. “I have been thinking about that – I know I am going to be getting stick if I lose a few games, but that’s the way it is going to be. I am not sure how I will handle it, but if I never win another game in my life my name is on that (World Championship) trophy. I have finally done it.”

Despite his world title win, Anderson insisted he will have all guns blazing for the Yorkshire date.

“For a year or two I wasn’t wanting to play darts,” he admitted. “I was doing it the hard way, but for the last year I’ve enjoyed it. I got into the Premier League by the backdoor last year, because of the way I’d been playing for two years. I was lucky enough to get another chance and I went on to lose to Mighty Mike (van Gerwen) in the semi-finals. The target now is to win it. I have had a great year and it all seems to happen every four years for me – 2007, 2011 and 2015 have all been years when I’ve done well.”

But the world champion is under no illusions about how tough the Premier League will be. He is joined by the other members of the world’s top-four van Gerwen, Taylor and Adrian Lewis, plus wildcards Peter Wright, James Wade, Dave Chisnall, Raymond van Barneveld, Kim Huybrechts and Stephen Bunting.

“There’s a couple of new faces, Kim Huybrechts and Stephen Bunting.” he said.

“We’ll see how they can handle it. It can make you or break you – they are all tough battles and the crowds are different to anything else.

“It is a great show – you take people to the darts who’ve never been before and they all want to come back.”