Sunday, 25 March 2012

Jocky Wilson's Finest Hour

I was very sad to hear the news today of the death of Jocky Wilson aged just 62.

Jocky was truly one of the greatest characters in the world of darts and was a household name when darts became a sporting favourite in homes across the land in the 1980s.

He was twice a World Champion in 1982, the year of my birth, and in 1989. Between him and the 'Crafty Cockney' Eric Bristow, they shared between them 7 world titles in that colourful decade for the sport.

Indeed, such was his fame that he even made an unlikely appearance on Top of the Pops as a backdrop to this Dexy's Midnight Runners hit 'Jackie Wilson Said'!

But it wasn't that long ago that I felt obliged to check on the internet whether Jocky was still alive or not as I hadn't heard or seen of him for years. To my near surprise, I found that he was still alive but living a remarkably sad existence for one who brought so much joy to so many back in his prime.

Jamie Jackson's article on Jocky for the Observor back in 2007 goes into detail of what had been a sad retirement for the legendary Scot. By 1996 it reads, Jocky had withdrawn into a Council house aged 45 and had admitted at the time that he was "...all washed up and finished with darts". 16 years later and through ill health, life has finished with our Jocky.

But let's not remember the sad finale. Instead, let's remember what it was that made him stand-out in the first place. Let's remember that cheeky smile, the attitude and most of all as these highlights from what was arguably his finest hour in that memorable 1989 final against Bristow demonstrates, let's remember him for the darts.

RIP Jocky

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