Book of the week: Staying Power by Phil Taylor

Taylor can't decide whether to portray himself as an ordinary bloke or a superstar

Simon Redfern
Saturday 06 December 2014 16:07
Phil Taylor walks off stage after he's beaten by Michael Smith in the Darts World Championship
Phil Taylor walks off stage after he's beaten by Michael Smith in the Darts World Championship

England reached the World Cup final this summer as No 1 seeds, only to lose 3-0 to Holland.

Still, England’s team of Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis did better on the oche in Hamburg than their footballing counterparts did on the pitch in Brazil.

Watching darts on TV has never been quite the same without the commentary of Sid Waddell, who died in 2012. He ghost-wrote Taylor’s 2004 autobiography, and it’s a shame the Geordie wordsmith wasn’t around to add a bit more zing to this chronicle of a turbulent 12 months in the life of the best darts player who has ever lived.

Taylor describes how his marriage break-up and a change of arrows contributed to a severe loss of form before he pulled himself together. Yet throughout his narrative he can’t decide whether to portray himself as just an ordinary bloke who got lucky or an international superstar.

At one point he says: “My waxwork stands in Madame Tussauds [in Blackpool] beside Hollywood celebrities, pop stars and heads of state… Little old me, a former ceramics worker from the Potteries, mingling with all those famous people,” and claims: “I lead a dull life.”

Yet later he glories in driving round Beverly Hills with his Burslem mate Robbie Williams, and says when he walks on stage he feels like a rock star. Still, he protests: “I don’t consider myself famous.” Oh yes you do, Phil.

His accounts of epic matches are sure to please his many fans, but for the general reader he misses the literary bulls-eye.

Published in hardback by Hodder & Stoughton, £20

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