Darts champion Gary Anderson visits Ashield to back new Academy

Gary Anderson with a young fan at the launch of Ashfield Darts Academy
Gary Anderson with a young fan at the launch of Ashfield Darts Academy

Gary Anderson officially launched the next generation of Scottish world darts champions and proclaimed: “We can rule the world!”

The Flying Scotsman is preparing for his latest homecoming at the SSE Hydro for a Betway Premier League clash with Dave Chisnall on Thursday night.

But Ando, 46, has acknowledged the latest Scot to get a name engraved on a major oche honour with Peter Wright taking the Coral UK Open on Sunday night.

Anderson, who officially launched the next generation of Scottish darts champions at the Unicorn Glasgow Darts Youth Academy at Ashfield Stadium, believes Scotland can win the World Cup.

He revealed: “I don’t think Scottish darts fans have ever had it so good. I can’t ever remember Scotland having two players in the top three in the world.

“A decade ago there was only about one Scot in the PDC, now we are a major force and that’s how it should be.

“Even when Jocky Wilson was at his peak, we never had this strength in depth. I’m delighted for the Scottish fans because they’re the best in the world.

“We don’t get an awful lot to shout about in other sports, obviously Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy have been brilliant but we’ve struggled at times in everything else.

“But when Peter won the UK Open on Sunday it showed yet again that on the oche we are a force to be reckoned with.

“Fair play to him. He was made favourite very early in the event but he held his nerve to win comfortably in the end and deserves it.

“Now it’s up to us to translate our world ranking status into actually winning the World Cup in June. We’ve got a pretty awful record, apart from reaching one final but we lost that to England so that was a particular disappointment.

“I think we’ll probably start off the event as top seeds. That’s new territory for us but if we both play to our best, I think we’ll be hard to beat. We can rule the world.”

Anderson was delighted to see over 30 kids signed up for the Unicorn Glasgow Darts Youth Academy - a set-up he has put his name to.

He attended with Michael Smith, Ian White and Scots promoting legend Tommy Gilmour with Sky Sports News, Channel Four and the BBC filming him prior to his Hydro crunch.

Ando added: “It’s brilliant to see so many kids wanting to learn, practice and play. There’s kids as young as three playing and if they keep working hard they’ll be far better than me when they get to 16!

“If this is my legacy from the game then I’m a happy man. If a few of these kids are playing here because of what I’ve achieved, that’s brilliant.

“It’s not just me of course. Robert Thornton came across to the PDC first and has won a few events and two majors and John Henderson is absolutely sensational on his day. He can beat anyone and is the nicest guy on the circuit. Not forgetting Jamie Harvey who got to World No4.

“It genuinely is great to see Scotland really buzzing with the game. It can only be a good thing for the future.”

But after fun and games at Ashfield with the academy kids, it’s the serious stuff tonight when he walks out in front of 10,000 adoring fans.

And the ‘oh Gary Gary Anderson’ chant still makes his knees wobble. He added: “I’ll tell you what when the fans start singing that and Flower of Scotland every hair on my neck is on end.

“It’s taken me years to deal with that and still focus on the game. But this is no different this week, it’s about beating an in-form Chizzy, it’ll be tough. But I need to do it for the fans.”