So what’s it all about?
In early 2009 on the old Stars of Darts forum a thread was started asking if it was feasible for all of the darts fans and players who post there to get together and by each donating just £25 gather enough funds to sponsor a darts player to play on the Professional Tour alongside the likes of Phil “The Power” Taylor and Raymond Van Barneveld.
This initiative was picked up by Mr Dave Ahmet (Spaceman70) who along with the a few others decided to try and make this vision into a reality. In this first sponsorship the members of the forum raised a staggering £3650.00 in funds.
All of sponsors then engaged in the voting process, it was decided, again by a vote, that in order to be eligible for the sponsorship the player had to fit into the following criteria:
He/She had to:
* Be willing to play on the PDC Pro Tour
* Wear the sponsorship badge at events
* Have no current sponsorship above £5000.00
* Be a member of the forum or have a close family member who is a member
Players were proposed and rounds of voting were begun, at the final vote it was decided that the sponsorship should go to Tony “The Viper” Eccles. Tony was thrilled to receive this money and it enabled him to play in more tournaments than he would have been able to without this injection of cash.
Such a success this proved to be that another round of sponsorship was announced later in the year and this time it was won by Steve “Grubby” Grubb. The amount raised for Steve was £3425.00 and included a cash injection from 180bets.com
So what happens now?
The sponsorship deal with Tony Eccles has just ended and already we have almost £3000.00 in the pot for the next player.
Who will that be?
It will all be decided upon by the people who have renewed their £25 sponsorship and also the new sponsors who have kindly donated towards this great scheme. We have had a number of players who have put their names forward for sponsorship and when the voting begins in a few weeks time we will have a full list for sponsor members to vote upon. The list grows by the day and it would be unfair to post any names on here as this will not be updated but you can just go to here for the full details.
If you are at all hesitant about the scheme or you just need any more information then please feel free to email us at any time with any question you may have. If you are a member of Thestarsofdarts.com then send a message t0 Spaceman70 or admin and we will answer all of your queries, if you are not yet a member then why not? Joining the forum is free and you can chat with professional darts players and fans about the goings on in the darts world.
Below are a couple of interviews with Tony Eccles and Steve Grubb about the sponsorship they received:
Back in issue 2 of We Love Darts, we revealed that PDC player Tony Eccles is now being sponsored by darts forum Superstars of Darts. Over 100 members of the website bought £25 shares to raise around £3,650 in sponsorship, and The Viper was the player they chose to support, picking up 40 per cent of the votes.
Tony said at the time: “I will be wearing the badge very proudly and hope to make all the members proud. This means a lot to me and my wife, especially as this is voted – unbelievable. I’m currently a full-time professional without a sponsor and am struggling. The total cost for entries alone this year is £4,000, so covering even a part of that is a massive help to a family man like me.”
Tony has been proudly displaying his sponsorship at events around the UK, but he found time to talk to Superstars of Darts about sponsorship, life in the PDC and the perils of gardening…
Tony, how difficult is it to find a sponsor?
At the moment it’s really very, very hard to find one – at least for us darts players.
Do you think the situation is getting worse?
It’s getting worse and worse. It’s not that there are more players around – it’s definitely the financial crisis. People just don’t have any interest in sponsoring at the moment, not with their financial problems.
But you did have a sponsor…
Yes, I had a sponsor, but that wasn’t too easy either. When I wasn’t able to perform, I always thought I’d let my sponsor down and that even dragged me down even more!
Is it more important to have a sponsor playing in the PDC?
It’s a lot more important as playing the PDC circuit is a lot more expensive then playing BDO – it’s around £20,000 a year.
And does that SOD sponsorship really help?
Oh yes, believe me – it really makes a big difference and I’m very grateful for it!
Why did you change to the PDC and do you still think it was the right decision?
It was only for financial reasons and looking at the money one could make in the PDC, it definitely was the right decision.
Though it’s harder to get into the top players at the PDC…
Yes, that really is harder.
Is playing darts in the PDC something like a job?
It certainly is like a job. I still try to enjoy it nevertheless. In the BDO it was really enjoyment and I had a rather good time but I didn’t earn enough money.
What for you was the biggest difference between the two organisations?
I think it’s the format of the matches. It’s best of five without exception in the BDO, but the UK Open starts with best of 11, then in round three we’ve got best of 17. That’s much longer and we all have to struggle at the beginning. You need a lot more staying power playing in the PDC!
Are you now a full-time professional?
I try to be, yes! I think I can say I am.
What’s your original profession?
I’m a landscape gardener.
That’s hard work – did it have any effect on your darting capabilities?
I would say it even had a positive effect. I played rather good darts but then got an arm injury in my throwing arm because of the hard work and that really had an effect on my capabilities. The last year was not easy! I don’t work in my profession any longer and now slowly it’s getting better. The arm now finally stays through matches again.
Was it difficult to combine your job and playing darts?
It was. I usually practiced after work during the night-time.
And what’s your practice routine?
I practise around two hours every day, mostly doubles.
And do you still play league?
Yes, I play that as well.
What about exhibitions?
I think it’s not a good time for exhibitions at the moment. At least, I’m not much in demand! I would say there’s really only interest in the top ten and the legends.
Have you got a practice partner?
No, not really. Not a regular one.
Do you think a practice partner is necessary?
Well, I think a practice partner is very important. You play a totally different rhythm when you play alone, so for playing tournaments and to get used to the tournament-playing rhythm, a practice partner is necessary.
Would you say you’re still getting better as a player?
I’ve been playing for 23 years now and I think I’m getting better all the time. Everybody seems to get better and better.
What’s your goal for this year and do you have a long-time goal?
My former goal was to be a world-class, top player. I reached that in the BDO – I was number four for a long time.
With the PDC, it was to get into the top 32 to qualify for the major tournaments, which I achieved as well. So now I’ll try to establish myself there. It might be my goal to get into the top 16, but that will be very hard and I’m not really anxious to get there.
Somerset based landlord Steve Grubb has become the second player to win a unique sponsorship in the world of darts, with funding coming directly from the fans of the sport. The forum members of the Unicorn Darts sponsored Superstars of Darts website collectively raised over £3,400 and after a few weeks of frenzied voting, Grubb was announced as the chosen player.
Earlier in the year, ‘The Viper’ Tony Eccles won the first of these fan based sponsorships and the amount raised by the forum members during 2009 now stands at an impressive £7,500.
‘Grubby’ said of securing the sponsorship, “The main thing is how honoured I feel to be chosen as the second representative of the forum. I was hopeful but no more than that of being the chosen player.
“The money will be mainly used for entry fees but some may be used for flights abroad. It will guarantee my participation in all events for the next 6 months or so and I will reassess the situation then. My form is improving, I am mentally stronger, and I know I can make an impact. This has been a huge boost, knowing that people have faith in my ability. The last 32 at the UK Open Finals in Bolton was so important in as much as it meant that I’d been to the latter stage of TV tournament, winning 3 rounds. It showed a few people that my other TV appearance wasn’t a fluke.”
Grubb won a keenly contested final vote for the sponsorship with Spain’s Carlos Rodriguez, Holland’s Remco van Eijden and Scotland’s Chris Louden making the final voting round.
There could only be one winner though and it was Steve Grubb, who first leapt into the limelight after qualifying for the Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship 2009 – and drawing a certain Mr. Phil Taylor in the opening round!
Grubb says of that time, “The build up to the Worlds last year was staggering and Dave Clark reckoned I’d had more press and TV coverage than Phil! Not sure if it was true but it was great to be involved. I still get contacted by BBC Radio Somerset for updates on my progress.
” I was too calm against Phil and without that bit of nerves, I struggled to play many good legs. When I did get going Phil went 180,140,140 etc! The stage at the Ally Pally was unbelievably huge and I was glad that I was able to have a quiet minute on there in the break after the afternoon session. Not only is the stage huge but, it’s also incredibly bright. The High Definition lights are staggeringly bright on you when at the oche and this didn’t help for my first time on TV. No excuses mind you, but a factor!”
And so to the future, Grubb is optimistic : ” I will climb the Order of Merit and will make an impact in the Players Championship rankings, on which so many TV tournaments are based. My overall goal is to push myself as far as I can go. I’m 76th at the moment, so Top 60.. Top 50.. Top 40 who knows? BUT I will give it my all!”
Justin Pipe Sponsorship
Well done to Justin on receiving the most votes and securing sponsorship from thestarsofdarts.com forum.
Justin came through a strong field to win a close final vote from Jason Clark.
Justin will recieved his sponsorship cheque when he competed in Las Vegas and will proudly wear the sponsorship patch.
When he was asked what this means to him Justin replied:
Good Morning All
Firstly commisertions to Jason, top bloke and a great friend so to be in the final with Jason was an honour.
Thank you so much to all that voted for me, as i said it really is fantastic to know that so many people are putting there hard erned money behind you and helping you to progress through the hardest dart circuit in the world.
Over the past 18 months i have met so many great players and fans that all show respect and freindship towards me. I do live by the saying treat people how you want to be treated, and i do hope that comes across at all times. Winning the sponsorship is a huge boost to me financialy and in confidence as you belive in me to proform for you. I will give 110% at all times as normal and i will wear the SOD patch with great pride.
I really can’t Thank You all enough for this, what ever you invested into the sponsorship, every penny will make a differnce to me.
Massive Thanks to Dave Ahmet for getting this whole thing going in the first place, darts really is a better place with Dave around.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
Best i go and have a shan
This goes to show just why The Stars of Darts is the best forum in the world.
With the best members.
In June 2011 the winner was James Richardson who narrowly beat rising star David Coyne by just one vote!
James’ nickname is “Ruthless” and he showed that by beating Raymond Van Barneveld 3-0 in the PDC world championships.
He has climbed up the rankings and proudly wears The Stars Of Darts patch