Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor is the uncontested king of darts, his sixteen world championship titles between 1990 and 2013 far outclassing anything else the game has seen.
He started out as a protégé of Eric Bristow, the Crafty Cockney, having wandered into his Burslem pub with a set of darts his wife had given him for his birthday. At that time Taylor was earning £52 a week working in a ceramics factory and hardly played. But jaws dropped and pint mugs tipped over as this newcomer suddenly unleashed a gift for flight that had soon eclipsed even the Crafty Cockney himself, and amassed Phil a haul of over 200 professional tournament victories.
Staying Power is a year in the life of a legend, twice nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, a man who made darts look a doddle to British pub-goers everywhere and set his seal on the game as the bloke to beat. A year of triumph and disaster, in which Taylor crashed out of the world championship in the second round to young outsider Michael Smith and fell asleep at home on Christmas day, exhausted from the strain of constant winning. A year when he played arguably the greatest ever game of darts, in the Grand Slam semi-final against recent world champion Adrian Lewis the two slugging it out to the wire. A year in which Taylor rocked Australia, fêted like royalty. A year of spats and hecklers, clashes on stage and off, of head-to-heads with the Dutch superstar Michael van Gerwen.
But most of all this is a year in which Phil Taylor, one of sport’s greatest champions, has looked hard at his life in his determination to stay in power.
Taylor makes a proud argument for the nobility of his sport, recently reborn as a gladiatorial spectacle packed for 9,000-seater arenas and yet still somehow coming from a reassuringly down-to-earth place.