Darts stars drank bottles of whiskey before matches – and most still booze

Darts has gone some way to shedding its old-fashioned, alcohol-fuelled imagine as professionalism within the sport has improved over the last 20 years.

However, according to darts legend Dennis Priestley, alcohol remains prevalent in the game. The two-time world champion reckons that, of the top 64 players in the world, most drink to varying degrees.

Reflecting on his days at the top of the game, ‘The Menace’ said some players would routinely drink a bottle of whisky before matches, and he wouldn’t be surprised if that was still the case with some current players, even if it is less visible.

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“Out of the 64 players now, if there is a double handful who don’t drink, that is pushing it,” Priestley told SafeBettingSites.

“They get as much as they want to drink before they go on stage, so there aren’t many who won’t have a drink.

“I was part of that as I was brought up like that. I never drank in excess though like others. I saw people drink whole bottles of Jack Daniels or other spirits. It was unbelievable how much alcohol people consumed.”

Priestley recalled during his own playing days that he was beaten by a “worse for wear” John Ferrell at the World Matchplay in Blackpool.

“I remember playing John Ferrell at Blackpool and we were in the practice room,” explained Priestley, now 72. “He was well on his way to being really drunk. I couldn’t believe how well he played and he even beat me.

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“I took the game lightly as he was that worse for wear with his drink. It was unbelievable how he sobered up and played so well. It was off-putting as he’d get a 26 or a three and then he would get a 180. It was very unusual. He would drink excessively before games.

“I’m not going to mention other names but you would see the top eight players down bottles of spirits. It is mind-blowing when you think about it.

“When I won the World Championship in 1991, I probably had four small bottles of drink against Eric Bristow. They would have a bottle of vodka or Jack Daniels though.”


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