You are the reigning British Darts Organisation world champion. How have the 12 months been since realising your dream of winning the title at Lakeside last January? To win the Lakeside World Professional Darts Championship is the dream of all players, but you don't dream of the following year which has been absolutely fantastic. Lots of work and new sponsors.
You were given a bit of a fright by your opponent Phill Nixon who surprised everyone by making it to the final as a qualifier before you eventually prevailed 7-6. At one point it looked like you were cruising home at 6-0, but he came back and levelled the scores at 6-6. What went through your mind when he came back at you like that? In the second half of the match Phill started playing the darts I knew he could. I had some opportunities to win the match earlier, but the double eluded me. There was a point where I thought, "Oh no not again", but at the end of the day, it all came good. You cannot describe the elation and relief to have finally won the world title.
You've always been among the favourites at the Lakeside but so often suffered disappointment. Some people were starting to worry that you might become one of the best players never to have won the world title. Did you ever have any doubts yourself down the years that you would ultimately claim the prize? I'm sure there are titles that you will never win, but I always believed that I could lift the world title. I never doubt that I can win them all at some time.
The rival Professional Darts Corporation's world championship has just finished, won by John Part, a former BDO player. You've always been regarded as one of the BDO's stalwarts. Why have you always remained loyal when so many other players most notably in recent years Raymond van Barneveld who made their names at the Lakeside have defected? Quite simply this. It was the BDO that gave me the opportunities to become the player that I am. Not just the BDO Board, but all the volunteer officials in every County and Super League. It is not in my nature to turn my back on all the help and support I have received from those people over the last 20 years or so. Loyalty seems to be a dirty word in some quarters these days. Far too many people want to take out and never put something back.
Do you think the BDO and the PDC will ever bury the hatchet or has there been too much bad blood down the years? The short answer is no.
Putting aside any financial or money issues, it must have been tempting to have a crack at the PDC's big trump card of recent years, Phil Taylor, on the world stage though? There was a time when the BDO players and PDC players graced the same stages. Bridges were being built, but someone pulled them down.
Your nickname is Wolfie. Tell us the story behind that? It started at a holiday camp in South Wales. Having lost in the Inter County Knockout Cup a few of us went on the beer. We went into one of the rooms where there was music and the DJ was awful. Being drunk I was heckling the DJ and one of the lads said to me, "Shut up and go and comb your beard wolfman". That's how it started and ended up as Wolfie and was bestowed upon me by Mark Waters, a fellow county player for Cambridgeshire.
And is it true that it's actually gone a step further than just a nickname and inspired you to get involved with saving wolves? This came about in 2002 when a lady by the name of Leigh Connor asked me if I would adopt a wolf. Knowing Leigh as I do, I replied "Nice gag, where's the punch line?" What I didn't know was that she was training to be a wolf handler. Within 36 hours a visit was arranged to the UK Wolf Conservation Trust in Beenham near Reading, with TV film crew and photographers. I was really taken with the wolves and adopted Duma. Since then the adoption has turned into a sponsorship of Duma and I try to promote the work of the trust whenever I can. You can find out more at www.ukwolf.org
The sport is full of great characters and stories. What's your favourite? A few years back we were sat at the departure gate in Copenhagen Airport and there were some cricket players on the same flight. They said, you're the darts boys. Andy Fordham, Martin Adams, Ted Hankey and referee Martin Fitzmaurice. Then one guy looked straight at Mike Gregory and said, "You're that Keith Deller". Much laughter from us and we didn't leave Mike alone all the way home.
This will be the first world championship since the introduction of the smoking ban. Will you breathe easier on stage this year? It will seem strange having the venue as no smoking. I suspect the BBC will give us plenty of stage smoke though.
Who do you think is the greatest player never to have won the world title? Two come to mind. Cliff Lazarenko and Dave Whitcombe.
If you could see a world final between any two players from any era who would you have up on the oche? Two of the greatest players of all time. Jocky Wilson and Alan Evans. I think Jocky would take it on a tie-breaker.
And finally, who, in your opinion, is the greatest player of all time? Without a doubt Eric Bristow. To get to two world finals with dartitis takes true grit.
* Born Sutton-in-the-Isle, Cambridgeshire, 4 June 1956.
* Nickname Wolfie.
* Turned professional 1992.
* Darts Engraved 22 gram Datadart M3.
* Major titles currently held BDO world champion.
* Other job IT teacher.
* World ranking No 4.
* Highlights in major events World championship winner 2007, world championship finalist 2005, World Masters finalist 2006, World Darts Trophy finalist 2006.
* Other honours England captain since 1994; six times British Pentathlon Champion; three times German Gold Cup Champion; twice European Grand Masters Champion; twice World Cup Singles Champion; twice Europe Cup Pairs Champion; twice Primus Masters Champion; twice Belgium Open Champion; twice Finland Open Champion; twice British Open Champion; twice Swiss Open Champion.Reuse content