Tributes paid to late Sid Waddell
Tributes have poured in for darts commentator Sid Waddell after yesterday's announcement of his death at the age of 72.
The broadcaster and journalist, who had been battling bowel cancer since last September, died on Saturday night surrouned by his family after a long illness.
Bobby George, twice a British Darts Organisation World Championship finalist, was among the first to pay tribute, writing on Twitter: “So sad to hear of the passing of the legend Sid Waddell or Sidly as I used to call him. Sincere condolences go out to the family x.”
Three-time world champion John Lowe added: “Darts has lost its champion of the commentary box, Sid Waddell, sincere condolences to his family, good bye dear friend.”
Raymond van Barneveld, the Dutch winner of four BDO World Championships and one as part of the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), wrote: “Can’t believe the news that Sid Waddell died yesterday I am emotional right now such a great personality and a good friend gonna miss you.”
Stephen Fry, who during a memorable guest appearance alongside Waddell in the Sky commentary box proclaimed himself “as happy as a pig in Chardonnay”, also paid his respects via Twitter.
Fry wrote: “Farewell Sid Waddell: Cambridge educated but always loyal to darts and his beloved NE: master of the wild epithet & the true voice of darts.”
Former deputy prime minister John Prescott added: “Farewell to Sid Waddell — a man who did so much for darts and voiced so many memorable moments. A double top bloke.”
Waddell, Northumberland-born and a Cambridge graduate, was a central part of Sky Sports’ coverage of PDC darts events since 1994.
He was known for his colourful and excitable commentary style, with his best-known lines including: “There’s only one word for it - ‘magic darts’.”
He also noted, while watching Eric Bristow become world champion: “When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer . . . Bristow’s only 27.”
Long-term colleague Dave Clark told Sky Sports News: “He was a brilliant man, a genius of the microphone - I’m going to miss my old mate, that’s for sure. He had a child-like exuberance, he’d be bouncing round like a young puppy in the commentary box, and mix that with the intellect of Einstein.”
Clark added: “I know he’s been really battling this cancer for a long, long time and what I hear from the family is it’s a blessing that he’s gone, but a tragedy.”
Waddell also had 11 books published, ghosted 13-time PDC world champion Phil Taylor’s autobiography The Power and wrote the sport-based BBC children’s programmes Jossy’s Giants and Sloggers, receiving a nomination for best scriptwriter from the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain for the latter.
He was elected, along with fellow commentator Dave Lanning, to the Professional Darts Corporation’s hall of fame in 2008 and, after his initial cancer treatment, rejoined the Sky commentary team for a Premier League event in Manchester this February.
Waddell began his media career at ITV before moving in 1972 to Yorkshire Television, where he produced the news programme Calendar and put darts on screen for the first time with the creation of The Indoor League.
Waddell in words - ten of the best:
“When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer . . . [Eric] Bristow’s only 27.”
“Big Cliff Lazarenko’s idea of exercise is sitting in a room with the windows open taking the lid off something cool and fizzy.”
“As Freud said to Jung in Vienna, you can psych up too much for a darts match.”
“Bristow reasons; Bristow quickens; aaaaah Bristow!”
“Keith Deller’s not just an underdog, he’s an underpuppy!” - Deller would go on to win the 1983 World Championship final against Bristow with a 138 finish.
“The atmosphere is so tense, if Elvis walked in with a portion of chips, you could hear the vinegar sizzle on them.”
“This lad has more checkouts than Tescos.”
“If we’d had Phil Taylor at Hastings against the Normans, they’d have gone home.”
“William Tell could take an apple off your head, Taylor could take out a processed pea.”
“There’s only one word for it - ‘magic darts’.”