PDC Hall of Fame

The Professional Darts Corporation launched its Hall of Fame in January 2005 to recognise the contribution to the sport of some of the most famous names and revered personalities.

Players, officials, administrators and commentators are amongst those who have been inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame.

Darting legends Eric Bristow and John Lowe - both founder members of the PDC -  were the first stars to be inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame in 2005, and they have been followed by fellow players Dennis Priestley, Phil Taylor and John Part.

Former Tournament Director Tommy Cox and Event Director Dick Allix, who also helped to found the PDC and were instrumental in the organisation's early years, were also recognised, alongside John Raby, whose JR Darts promotions company previously staged many PDC-ranked events.

Former referees Freddie Williams and Bruce Spendley joined former MC Phil Jones in the Hall of Fame, while the Sky Sports commentary legends Sid Waddell, Dave Lanning and John Gwynne also saw their contributions to the sport recognised with induction.

For further details about each personality, see below.

 

FIVE-TIME World Champion Eric Bristow and three-time World Champion John Lowe were the inaugural members of the PDC Hall of Fame when they were inducted in 2005 and presented with a commemorative trophy by PDC Chairman Barry Hearn ahead of the World Championship final.

Both Bristow and Lowe were two of the leading figures in darts for more than 30 years and played a key role in the development of darts across those three decades, enjoying both great success and a great rivalry along the way.

At least one of the pair were involved in a World Championship final every year during the 1980's, with three being played against each other.

They were also key figures in the PDC's emergence as the leading body for Professional Darts in the 1990's.

Barry Hearn said at the time: "It gives me great pleasure to announce that John and Eric are the first players to enter the PDC Hall of Fame.

"Their achievements throughout the past 30 years deserve such recognition as they have been tremendous ambassadors for darts.

"They led the way in terms of taking the game forward with their professionalism, will to win and talent, and remain involved at the highest level to this day.

"For John still to be playing in the World Championship, as he has done for 27 successive years, is a remarkable achievement and unlikely ever to be matched.

"Eric, the Crafty Cockney, has also enjoyed great success, and who is to say that he would not have added to his five World Championship wins had he not done so well in bringing Phil Taylor through!"

Bristow won five World Championship titles from 1980-1986, while Lowe remains the only player to be World Champion in three separate decades after successes in 1978, 1987 and 1993.

Bristow, also a five-time World Masters champion, is involved on both sides of the camera in his role with Sky Sports, as both an expert pundit and spotter, while he played a vital role in the development of Phil Taylor, who succeeded his mentor in dominating the world of professional darts.

Lowe, who was unbeaten during his time as England captain, entered his 30th year as a professional player in 2005 and still competes on the exhibition circuit alongside legends including Bristow.

FREDDIE WILLIAMS was the third personality to be inducted into the Professional Darts Corporation's Hall of Fame when he was recognised in 2006.

The long-serving referee retired from top-level officiating in 2006 after spending 35 years at the forefront of the game.

Williams joined the PDC in 1993 along with Bruce Spendley after beginning his career with the National Darts Association of Great Britain as a marker and then moving on to the BDO.

"It is a great pleasure to induct Freddie into the Hall of Fame," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn at the time.

"He is a legend of the game and in many ways is synonymous with professional darts. He has refereed with dignity and authority throughout his career and will be missed on the big stage in front of the TV cameras."

Williams continued to work with the PDC as second referee, while his wife Pat was the PDC's official scorer and statistician.

"Now is the time to bow out," said Williams, speaking of his retirement. "You have to give it some thought but as I've been in the game for 35 years I felt it was time to go.

"It's a little bit strange, because although I will miss being on stage I am not walking away altogether. We've been lucky enough to travel around the world through darts and it's been a tremendous journey."

Phil Jones and John Raby were inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame in January 2007 to recognise their contribution to the sport.

Jones' induction marked his retirement from his role as Master of Ceremonies at PDC tournaments, having joined the PDC in 1993 on its inception, and he was a key member of the team of officials working at both televised and non-televised events.

A former journalist with Darts World, he also worked alongside many of the sport's top names on the exhibition circuit before retiring to live with wife Michelle in Las Vegas.

The late John Raby was the founder and head of JR Darts, an independent promotions company who stage darts tournaments around the UK.

Raby remained committed to the PDC when it was first formed in 1993 and has given great support to the organisation and players since.

The JR events at Great Yarmouth and Eastbourne were part of the PDC circuit until the introduction of the ProTour in 2007, and those tournaments continue in a non-ranking format.

"Both Phil and John have given great service to the PDC and it is a pleasure to recognise that with induction into the Hall of Fame," said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn at the time of the induction.

"Phil has been a very public figurehead playing an important role in creating the atmosphere which PDC events have been renowned for over the years, and he had a great rapport with the fans.

"While John may be less well-known, those within the game recognise the role he played in helping to create such a strong professional future for this sport."

LEGENDARY Sky Sports commentators Sid Waddell and Dave Lanning were inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame in January 2008 to recognise their contributions to darts in over 30 years of broadcasting.

Between them, the pair held over 60 years of broadcasting experience in darts, and perhaps it was ironic that their careers went full circle in taking them back to Alexandra Palace, the birthplace of top-level darts on television and now the home of the World Darts Championship.

Their voices were among the most distinctive in professional sport, adding humour, rich colour and the benefit of their experience to PDC tournaments.

The duo first worked together on the famous Indoor League programme back in the 1970s, and Lanning's career, which also included commentating on speedway, took him to ITV and their World of Sport programme.

The formation of the PDC brought them back together in 1994 at Sky Sports, and alongside John Gwynne they were the voices bringing top class darts to television screens around the world as the sport's popularity boomed.

Lanning's most famous moments included commentating on John Lowe's nine-dart finish in 1984 - the first ever to be televised - and he was also alongside Waddell when Phil Taylor hit the first live televised nine-darter in 2002 and landed two perfect legs in the 2010 Premier League Darts final against James Wade.

Waddell's career saw him produce many famous one-liners, while he commentated alongside Stephen Fry in 2010 - a partnership made in heaven as the two great orators shared the microphone.

Away from the commentary box, Waddell's book 'Bellies and Bullseyes' helped bring the magic of the old darting era back to the nation, as well as showing the lighter side of the modern era.

He enjoyed success with a total of 11 published books, including his 2010 book 'The Road Back Home', which charted his childhood in the north-east of England, and he also penned the 1980s children's TV hit series 'Jossy's Giants', which he wrote about a children's football team and was followed by another children's series, 'Sloggers'.

Waddell's popularity saw him commentate away from darts on a number of Pool tournaments as well as being a well-known figure across a variety of media - once reading the National Lottery numbers!

While Lanning retired at the end of 2010, Waddell continued to commentate until May 2012 whilst undergoing treatment for bowel cancer before sadly passing away later that year.

Dave Lanning passed away in October 2016, poignantly telling his family "I'm off to find Sid" - the commentary dream team are now reunited!

DENNIS PRIESTLEY became the third player to be inducted into the PDC's Hall of Fame when he received his award in 2009.

The Yorkshireman was the first winner of the PDC World Championship in 1994, which saw him become a double World Champion following his success in the 1991 BDO event.

He competed in a further four World Championship finals, as well as reaching the final of the World Matchplay in the tournament's first three years from 1994-1996.

Priestley also maintained his position inside the world's elite players for almost 20 years, and in 2008 defied treatment for prostate cancer to continue to challenge at the top level.

Whilst presenting the award, PDC Director Rod Harrington, formerly a rival of Priestley on the oche, praised his sportsmanship and integrity as well as the way he has conducted himself as an ambassador for darts.

After reaching his 60th birthday in July 2010, Priestley scaled down his travels on the PDC circuit as he moved with typical grace into retirement.

Administrators Dick Allix and Tommy Cox saw their roles in the formation and success of the Professional Darts Corporation recognised with induction into the PDC Hall of Fame in 2010.

The duo were initially involved in darts as player managers during the 1980s and 1990s, looking after the likes of Eric Bristow, Jocky Wilson and Phil Taylor.

Their support, expertise and guidance was vital in the formation of the then World Darts Council in 1993, the organisation which later became the Professional Darts Corporation.

Allix took on the role of chief executive, later stepping aside following the arrival of a new administration in 2001 and becoming Event Director, responsible for the venue and staging side of PDC events until his retirement in 2014.

Cox was appointed as Tournament Director, which saw him responsible for the formats of PDC events as well as their smooth running until his retirement in 2015.

Cox's contribution to the PDC ran alongside the service of his late brother Eddie, who worked as both a marker and as players' marshal, and son Danny, who was also a member of the PDC's team of officials.

Allix's career before moving into darts had seen him extensively involved in the music business, notably as drummer with the band Vanity Fare, whose song 'Hitchin A Ride' was a hit in both the UK and USA - where it sold over a million copies - in 1969.

PHIL TAYLOR was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame at the 2011 PDC Awards Dinner, recognising the 15-time World Champion's contribution to the sport in over 20 years at the top level.

Throughout the growth of the Professional Darts Corporation, the name Phil Taylor has become synonymous with the image of the world's best darts players, with his success helping to take the sport to a new level.

Already a two-time World Champion when the PDC was formed - following his success in the 1990 and 1992 BDO events - Taylor has won 14 further World Championship titles since.

That, though, fails to tell the full story of his domination of professional darts in over two decades at the top level, which includes the dozens of major televised titles which have made him the most successful player in the sport's history.

At the time of his induction into the PDC Hall of Fame in January 2011, he had won 11 World Matchplays and nine World Grand Prix titles, as well as five Premier League titles - records which he has extended further since.

Taylor was also the first player to hit a live televised nine-dart finish in a PDC event at the 2002 World Matchplay, and his handful of other perfect legs on TV were eclipsed in 2010 when he became the first player in darts' history to hit two nine-darters in one match, during the Premier League Darts final.

Quite simply the greatest player ever to throw a dart!

Legendary referee Bruce Spendley retired from refereeing in televised major tournaments following the 2013 World Darts Championship final.

Bruce, originally a caller in Cleveland, had been involved as a referee in the World Championship from 1980 as he began a top-level career spanning three decades.

Along with fellow Hall of Fame member Freddie Williams, Spendley joined the PDC following its formation and gave 20 years' service to the organisation.

Renowned worldwide for his clear intonation, Spendley earned the respect of players and officials throughout the game during an esteemed career.

Fittingly, his final game came as he refereed the second half of the 2013 World Championship final between Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen, having been given a special presentation on the Alexandra Palace stage ahead of the event.

He was subsequently inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame at the 2013 PDC Awards Dinner at The Dorchester in London, and given a standing ovation as he was presented with his award by PDC Tournament Director Tommy Cox.

One of the most distinctive voices in television, John Gwynne enjoyed a stellar career in the commentary box before hanging up his microphone in 2013.

Having initially trained and worked as a schoolteacher before moving into the media, he initially worked on a variety of sports in his native north-west, with his darts work accompanied by reporting on cricket, football and speedway.

His work in darts had included him being the voice of "Darts Phone Line Commentary" before he joined the ITV commentary team for early WDC events, which led to him joining Sky Sports ahead of the WDC's first World Championship in 1993-94.

A reporter for Darts World magazine and member of the Darts Regulation Authority panel, Gwynne has also been a local Superleague chairman, an exhibition MC and also a great supporter of both young talent from his local area and also of the Log-End format of the sport.

He is best-known, however, for his work in the Sky Sports commentary box, where alongside Dave Lanning and the late Sid Waddell he became one of the voices who broadcasted PDC darts around the world as the sport boomed.

John's career with Sky Sports saw him cover 20 World Championships and 20 World Matchplays, fittingly completing two decades in the commentary box before stepping down in July 2013, and he was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame in January 2014.

Canadian legend John was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame in January 2017 to recognise his career as the sport's most successful North American player.

The winner of the 1994 Lakeside Championship as he made an immediate breakthrough at the top level, Part went on to win the PDC World Championship in both 2003 - when he ended Phil Taylor's eight-year reign - and 2008, when he was the first to triumph at Alexandra Palace.

Part has also won the 2006 Las Vegas Desert Classic amongst a host of PDC ranking titles, and has also been a dominant force on the North American circuit during his career.

Part has combined his playing with commentary for Sky Sports, and after dropping out of the world's top 64 at the end of 2016 won back his PDC Tour Card at the 2017 Qualifying School.

"I love darts and I think there are a lot of great, fantastic things happening in the game," said Part. "It's been really wonderful, and I'm so happy to have been at the onset of the current game, and to get some acknowledgement of that is fantastic.

"All I've ever done is play a game I love, and I got to keep going to different places and do a lot more than play darts, and I've had a lot of good times. This means a great deal to me."