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Bristow in 2009
|Full name||Eric John Bristow|
|Nickname||The Crafty Cockney|
|Born||25 April 1957|
Hackney, London, England, UK
|Died||5 April 2018 (aged 60)|
Liverpool, England, UK
|Home town||Leek, Staffordshire|
|Playing darts since||1968|
|Darts||22g Harrows Eric Bristow|
|Walk-on music||Rabbit by Chas & Dave|
|Organisation (see split in darts)|
|PDC||1993-2007 (Founding Member)|
|BDO majors - best performances|
|World Ch'ship||Winner (5): 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1986|
|World Masters||Winner (5): 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984|
|PDC premier events - best performances|
|World Ch'ship||Semi Final: 1997|
|World Matchplay||Last 32: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999|
|Other tournament wins|
|1989 Appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire MBE|
|Updated on 19 November 2006.|
He was ranked World No. 1 by the World Darts Federation a record six times, in 1980 and 81, 1983 to 1985, and in 1990. He was a five-time World Champion, a five-time World Masters Champion and a four-time World Cup singles champion. He won 22 WDF and BDO Major titles and 70 career titles overall. In the 1980s, Bristow's skill and personality helped turn darts into a worldwide spectator sport.
He retired from competitive darts in 2007 and subsequently worked as a commentator and pundit on Sky Sports darts coverage.
- 1 Early career
- 2 Achievements
- 3 Dartitis
- 4 Mentoring Phil Taylor
- 5 Later career and retirement
- 6 Personal life
- 7 Death
- 8 World Championship results
- 9 Career finals
- 10 Performance timeline
- 11 High averages
- 12 References
- 13 External links
In 1957, Bristow was born in the London Borough of Hackney, where his father was a plasterer and his mother worked as a telephone operator. Bristow left school at age 14. Bristow won his first world championship in 1980, defeating fellow Londoner Bobby George, and so began a decade's worth of domination, in which he would retain his title in 1981 and win it again in 1984, 1985 and 1986. Like his snooker contemporary Steve Davis, however, he also had to cope with a shock defeat in a final during this period, when young unknown Keith Deller beat him in the 1983 final; he had also lost to Steve Brennan in the previous year's first round. As well as his five world titles, Bristow also finished as runner-up on four occasions, the last in 1991.
The nickname Crafty Cockney was given to Bristow when he visited an English pub of that name in 1976 during a visit to Santa Monica, California. Bristow wore a shirt (which he received from the same pub) depicting a uniformed British policeman, a Union Flag and the title Crafty Cockney whenever he took part in a tournament.
Bristow emerged as the most successful and consistent darts player of the 1980s, reigning as number one in the world rankings from 1980 until 1987. He was fortunate to have been around at the right time as television began showing increased interest in the sport in the late 1970s, with the first world championship occurring in 1978. This, allied to the fact that a governing body had been formed in January 1973 and that Bristow had not only supreme talent for one so young but an imposing personality and uncontained self belief, enabled him to make a very successful living. Cocky and arrogant, he invariably wound opponents up before and during matches with his gamesmanship. Crowds would boo Bristow when he was on stage, no less so than in Scotland, an atmosphere in which he revelled.
During the 1982 Arrows Chemicals British International Championship match in Scotland, Bristow was subject to what Darts World Magazine called "the most sustained barrage of jeering witnessed at a Darts match". He played to the crowd during his game with Harry Patterson; following a Treble 20, he turned to the crowd (more booing..) next dart, Treble 20, he turned to the crowd (even more booing, shouting..) third dart was single 20 but he smiled and the crowd applauded.
As well as his world championship exploits, Bristow also lifted the prestigious Winmau World Masters crown no fewer than five times (1977 beating Paul Reynolds, 1979 beating Canadian Allan Hogg, 1981 beating defending champion John Lowe, 1983 beating Mike Gregory and 1984 beating Keith Deller). He also reached the final in 1989, losing to Peter Evison. He was a winner of the World Cup Singles on four occasions (1983 beating Jocky Wilson, 1985 beating Tony Payne, 1987 beating Bob Sinnaeve and 1989 beating Jack McKenna) and won the News of the World Darts Championship in 1983 beating Ralph Flatt and 1984 beating Ian Robertson together with countless other major tournaments including the British Open and Swedish Open three times each and the North American Open on four occasions.
During the Swedish Open in November 1986, Bristow found himself unable to let go of his darts properly – a psychological condition known as dartitis, similar to the yips in golf. Footage of his career suggests the condition may have been building up gradually; his hitherto fluent throwing action had slowed in the previous year, and he struggled in April 1987 in the Nations Cup, where he was particularly ragged for England, with the dartitis worsening considerably in the second half of 1987 to the point where he was really struggling to release the first dart.[original research?] He was never the same player again, but did regain the number-one ranking briefly in late 1989 and early 1990 before losing his form again. He had a last hurrah at the highest level of professional darts when reaching the semi finals of the 1997 WDC World Darts Championship at the Circus Tavern, where he narrowly lost to Phil Taylor 4–5 in sets.
Mentoring Phil Taylor
In the 1980s, Bristow came across a raw darts talent in Stoke-on-Trent. He sponsored him with about £10,000 to fund his development in the game, on the understanding that the cash would be repaid. The player was Phil Taylor who went on to usurp his mentor as the greatest darts player ever, with Bristow often on the receiving end of his brilliance.
Later career and retirement
Bristow's form deteriorated in the early 1990s and he was dropped from the Merseyside team (his third county) where he played with his international teammate Kevin Kenny, and then the national side. The split within darts – another governing body was formed - saw Bristow become a founding member of the Professional Darts Corporation. At the World Matchplay event in Blackpool, Bristow made six appearances without winning a match. His swansong came in a classic semi-final at the 1997 PDC World Championship, which he lost to his protégé, Phil Taylor. Bristow's last appearance came at the World Championships in 2000, ending his 23-year run of playing in the event. He ceased playing the sport professionally after the event.
From late December 1993, until November 2016, when he was sacked, he worked mainly as a spotter, a pundit and an occasional commentator for Sky Sports during televised PDC tournaments, while continuing to travel and play on the exhibition circuit. Bristow returned to TV screens as a player in 2008 on Setanta Sports to compete in the BetFred League of Legends tournament, beating Bobby George 7–5 in the opening match. Bristow failed to maintain his form, however, and did not win another match in the tournament, failing to qualify for the semi-finals and finishing bottom of the League of Legends table. In 2004, Bristow played John Lowe, with Bristow showing glimpses of his old form in winning the match 6 legs to 1.
On 29 November 2016, Bristow was sacked by Sky Sports following a series of tweets in which he responded to the United Kingdom football sexual abuse scandal centred around the football coach and convicted paedophile, Barry Bennell. Bristow suggested the victims should have "sorted out" the perpetrators when they were older. According to him, "Dart players tough guys footballers wimps". Bristow was condemned by social media users, including alleged victims of Bennell, for his comments. Bristow apologised for his comments the following day. In a statement, he compared himself to a "bull in a China shop" and "appreciated my wording was wrong and offended many people".
Eric was educated at a grammar school, having passed his eleven-plus exam in the late 1960s.
From 1978 to 1987, Bristow was in a relationship with former darts player Maureen Flowers. In 1989, he married Jane Bristow (born 1962) they had two children, a daughter and a son. They divorced in 2005 after 16 years of marriage, and he was later in a relationship with Rebecca Gadd until his death.
In 1979, Bristow was the subject of a film directed by Scottish filmmaker John Samson. Entitled Arrows, the 30-minute short got its cinema release as the supporting feature for the 1980 British gangster film The Long Good Friday. He also played himself in 2002 film Heartlands.
In 2005, Bristow was accused of assaulting his wife. North Staffordshire magistrates ordered him to stay away from the family home in Milltown Way, Leek, Staffordshire and he was remanded on conditional bail. Bristow was alleged to have punched her in the face during a drunken row in their bedroom on 29 April 2005. He was subsequently cleared of the charges.
Bristow died on 5 April 2018, after a heart attack while attending a Premier League Darts event at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. Bristow had finished playing some VIPs at a promotional event and was walking back to his car, when he collapsed and was rushed to hospital. Bristow's death was announced during the match between Peter Wright and Daryl Gurney. The crowd paid tribute to Bristow.
World Championship results
- 1978: 1st Round (lost to Conrad Daniels 3-6 legs)
- 1979: Quarter Finals (lost to Alan Evans 1-3 sets)
- 1980: Winner (beat Bobby George 5-3)
- 1981: Winner (beat John Lowe 5-3)
- 1982: 1st Round (lost to Steve Brennan 0-2)
- 1983: Runner Up (lost to Keith Deller 5-6)
- 1984: Winner (beat Dave Whitcombe 7-1)
- 1985: Winner (beat John Lowe 6-2)
- 1986: Winner (beat Dave Whitcombe 6-0)
- 1987: Runner Up (lost to John Lowe 4-6)
- 1988: Semi Finals (lost to John Lowe 2-5)
- 1989: Runner Up (lost to Jocky Wilson 4-6)
- 1990: Runner Up (lost to Phil Taylor 1-6)
- 1991: Runner Up (lost to Dennis Priestley 0-6)
- 1992: 2nd Round (lost to Martin Phillips 2-3)
- 1993: 2nd Round (lost to Bob Anderson 0-3)
- 1994: Last 24 Group (lost to Rod Harrington 1-3 & beat Sean Downs 3-2)
- 1995: Last 24 Group (lost to Rod Harrington 0-3 & lost to Shayne Burgess 0-3)
- 1996: Last 24 Group (lost to Dennis Priestley 0-3 & beat Richie Gardner 3-2)
- 1997: Semi Finals (lost to Phil Taylor 4-5 & lost 3rd Place Match to Peter Evison 2-4)
- 1998: Last 24 Group (lost to Dennis Priestley 0-3 & lost to Steve Raw 0-3)
- 1999: 1st Round (lost to Peter Manley 0-3)
- 2000: 1st Round (lost to Steve Brown 2-3)
BDO and WDF major finals: 31 (22 wins, 9 runners-up)
|World Championship (5–5)|
|World Masters (5–1)|
|British Professional (2–0)|
|World Matchplay (2–0)|
|Grand Masters (5–1)|
|British Matchplay (3–2)|
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score[Note 1]|
|Runner-up||1.||1977||British Matchplay (1)||Rab Smith||Unknown|
|Winner||1.||1977||Winmau World Masters (1)||Paul Reynolds||3–1 (s)|
|Runner-up||2.||1977||Butlins Grand Masters (1)||John Lowe||4–5 (s)|
|Winner||2.||1979||Winmau World Masters (1)||Allan Hogg||2–0 (s)|
|Winner||3.||1980||World Darts Championship (1)||Bobby George||5–3 (s)|
|Winner||4.||1981||World Darts Championship (2)||John Lowe||5–3 (s)|
|Winner||5.||1981||Butlins Grand Masters (1)||John Lowe||Unknown|
|Winner||6.||1981||Winmau World Masters (3)||John Lowe||2–1 (s)|
|Winner||7.||1982||British Matchplay (1)||Dave Whitcombe||2–0 (s)|
|Winner||8.||1982||Butlins Grand Masters (2)||Cliff Lazarenko||Unknown|
|Winner||9.||1982||British Professional Championship (1)||John Lowe||7–3 (s)|
|Runner-up||3.||1983||World Darts Championship (1)||Keith Deller||5–6 (s)|
|Winner||10.||1983||British Matchplay (2)||Keith Deller||3–2 (s)|
|Winner||11.||1983||Butlins Grand Masters (3)||Jocky Wilson||5–1 (s)|
|Winner||12.||1983||Winmau World Masters (4)||Mike Gregory||2–1 (s)|
|Winner||13.||1984||World Darts Championship (3)||Dave Whitcombe||7–1 (s)|
|Winner||14.||1984||Winmau World Masters (5)||Keith Deller||3–1 (s)|
|Winner||15.||1985||World Darts Championship (4)||John Lowe||6–2 (s)|
|Winner||16.||1985||Butlins Grand Masters (4)||Terry O'Dea||5–3 (s)|
|Winner||17.||1985||MFI World Matchplay (1)||Bob Anderson||5–4 (s)|
|Winner||18.||1985||British Professional Championship (2)||John Lowe||7–4 (s)|
|Winner||19.||1986||World Darts Championship (5)||Dave Whitcombe||6–0 (s)|
|Winner||20.||1986||British Matchplay (3)||Dave Whitcombe||3–1 (s)|
|Winner||21.||1986||Butlins Grand Masters (5)||Bob Sinnaeve||Unknown|
|Runner-up||4.||1987||World Darts Championship (2)||John Lowe||4–6 (s)|
|Runner-up||5.||1987||British Matchplay (2)||Dave Whitcombe||0–3 (s)|
|Winner||22.||1988||MFI World Matchplay (2)||Bob Sinnaeve||5–1 (s)|
|Runner-up||6.||1989||World Darts Championship (3)||Jocky Wilson||4–6 (s)|
|Runner-up||7.||1989||Winmau World Masters (1)||Peter Evison||2–3 (s)|
|Runner-up||8.||1990||World Darts Championship (4)||Phil Taylor||1–6 (s)|
|Runner-up||9.||1991||World Darts Championship (5)||Dennis Priestley||0–6 (s)|
Independent major finals: 2 (2 titles)
|Outcome||No.||Year||Championship||Opponent in the final||Score|
|Winner||1.||1983||News of the World Championship (1)||Ralph Flatt||2–0 (l)|
|Winner||2.||1984||News of the World Championship (2)||Ian Robertson||2–0 (l)|
- (l) = score in legs, (s) = score in sets.
|BDO World Championship||NYF||1R||QF||W||W||1R||F||W||W||W||F||SF||F||F||F||2R||2R||No longer a BDO Member|
|Winmau World Masters||W||3R||W||QF||W||QF||W||W||4R||4R||SF||QF||F||4R||4R||4R||Did not participate|
|British Professional||Not held||2R||W||SF||SF||W||2R||1R||1R||Not held|
|MFI World Matchplay||Not held||1R||W||1R||QF||W||Not held|
|PDC World Championship||Not yet founded||RR||RR||RR||SF||RR||1R||1R|
|World Matchplay||Not yet founded||1R||1R||1R||1R||1R||1R||DNP|
|News of the World||???||W||W||???||Not held||DNP||Not held|
|Performance Table Legend|
|DNP||Did not play at the event||DNQ||Did not qualify for the event||NYF||Not yet founded||#R||lost in the early rounds of the tournament|
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
|QF||lost in the quarter-finals||SF||lost in the semi-finals||F||lost in the final||W||won the tournament|
|105.30||17 September 1983||Alan Glazier||British Professional Championship||Last 32||3-0 (S)|
|103.24||22 October 1983||Jocky Wilson||World Cup||Final||4-2 (L)|
|101.16||8 December 1984||Keith Deller||Winmau World Masters||Final||3-1 (S)|
|99.66||11 January 1985||Dave Whitcombe||World Darts Championship||Semi Finals||5-2 (S)|
- "Do you remember when...Eric Bristow ruled darts? - Sport - The Observer".
- Prenderville, Paul. "Phil Taylor needs to accept his status and start enjoying his darts says Eric Bristow". skysports.com. Sky Sports News, 20 December 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
- "Eric Bristow Results". dartsdatabase.co.uk. Darts Database. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
- Sandomir, Richard (10 April 2018). "Eric Bristow, the First Superstar of Darts, Is Dead at 60". The New York Times. p. A25. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
- Nick Harper. "Small Talk: Eric Bristow | Sport". Guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- Khomami, Nadia (30 November 2016). "Eric Bristow apologises for Twitter football sex abuse comments". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- Menezes, Jack de (29 November 2016). "Eric Bristow axed by Sky Sports after calling football abuse victims 'wimps' and 'not proper men'". The Independent. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- "Eric Bristow sparks outrage for calling footballers 'wimps' in sex abuse scandal". The Daily Telegraph. 29 November 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- "Football sex abuse: Eric Bristow suggests victims not 'proper men'". BBC News. 29 November 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
- "Bristow under fire over sex abuse tweets". The Times. 29 November 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2016. (subscription required)
- "Eric Bristow: Former darts champion apologises for football sex abuse comments". BBC Sport. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- "MORE QUOTED THAN SEEN". Archived from the original on 13 December 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2011.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- The Gazzette, retrieved 10 April 2018
- "Bristow accused of attack on wife". BBC News.
- "Ex-darts champion 'punched wife'". BBC News.
- "Darts champion cleared of assault". BBC News.
- "I'm a Celebrity lineup revealed". RTÉ. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Sanghani, Radhika (30 November 2012). "I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Eric Bristow misses out on the final three". The Independent. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
- Allen, Dave. "Eric Bristow Passes Away". PDC. Retrieved 5 April 2018.
- "Eric Bristow, five-times darts world champion, dies aged 60". Guardian. 6 April 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- Eric Bristow's profile and stats on Darts Database
- Arrows - A John Samson documentary about Eric Bristow (1979)
- Eric Bristow at the British Film Institute