'The Power's celebrations short-circuited as he's caught with his trousers down
TV VIEW:So there’s drug-testing in darts. Who knew? Would it be unkind to ask . . . ah, no, never mind
Well, that was a rather electric end to 2012 and beginning to 2013, Phil “The Power” Taylor short circuiting at the end of his semi-final clash with Raymond “Barney” van Barneveld, the Dutch man almost ending up with arrows inserted where the sun rarely shines.
Indeed, such was The Power’s mood the 2013 award – only two days in to the new year – for “pluckiest courage in the line of sporting duty” must already go to the hairy man who hauled him away for a drugs test a mere moments after he’d won his 16th – count ’em – world title.
“People keep asking me how did I celebrate,” said The Power. “I tell them I stood with my trousers and pants down trying to have a wee while a big bearded bloke stared at me.”
An unfortunate enough way to mark his seismic achievement, although not as earth-shattering as the revelation that there’s drug-testing in darts. Who knew? Would it be unkind to ask . . . ah, no, never mind.
The day after his run-in with Barney, The Power was pouring his heart out on Sky News, threatening to quit the game forever, in a Ronnie O’Sullivan-ish kind of way. He was, he said, ashamed of his behaviour, but defended himself by saying “I have the ’flu and Barney is a big lad”.
Happily, after his epic comeback in the final against Michael “Mighty Mike” Van Gerwen, the 52-year-old had a change of heart, telling us that “Yes, I could retire and I meant what I said – but no, I am going to go until I am 55 at least”.
There was a touch of the Frank Sinatras about it, then, but, thankfully, 2012-2013 wasn’t The Power’s final Ally Pally curtain, he’ll be back seeking his 17th title next time.
And for every Phil Taylor, there’s an Arsenal, silverware as elusive as the Yeti. The FA Cup, ESPN reckoned yesterday, is their last hope of ending the drought this season, and that hope looked precarious enough when they went a goal down to Swansea. Would Michu have an impact on the game, Craig Burley wondered aloud when the Spanish onion-bag-buster came on, and one minute, 13 seconds later he scored. Obviously, like.
But it finished 2-2, Burley saluting Arsenal’s efforts, even those of Aaron Ramsey who “hasn’t always been the flavour of the Arsenal fans’ eyes”.
Martin Keown and John Hartson, located at ESPN’s Liberty Stadium breakfast bar, praised both sides for an entertaining joust, all the while throwing a threatening glance in the direction of the furry Swan mascot that was riverdancing behind them. You could only hold your breath, the cygnet evidently way too young to be aware of Keownie and Hartsie’s footballing reputations. It’s a wonder our view of the pitch wasn’t obliterated by fluttering feathers.
On to Mansfield v Liverpool on the very same channel, the home team featuring the footballer with the finest name totally ever: Exodus Geohaghon. Luis Suarez, alas, pilfered the headlines again when he handpassed the ball in the direction of his foot before scoring what proved to be the winner. “That, I’m afraid, is the work of a cheat,” said our not-madly-impressed commentator Jon Champion, while the crowd serenaded the Uruguayan with a ditty that went: “You Scouse b*****d”.
Come full-time, at ESPN’s Field Mill breakfast bar, Kevin Keegan and John Barnes were in two minds about the incident, conceding it was naughty-ish, but sort of saying “ho hum”. Barnesie tried to put the possibly-unintentional misdemeanour in historical context: “Of course, we saw Thierry Henry do it against Ireland and nobody accused him of cheating either,” he said.
Ah no he did, honest.
Mansfield manager Paul Cox refused to call for Suarez’s blood. Which was disappointing. Mind you, he’d had a busy enough few days, so his mind might have been addled.
“Were you more nervous on Friday,” asked Ray “Stubbsie” Stubbs. “Absolutely,” said Paul, by now two days married.
The amorous honeymoon, then, had kicked off at Field Mill on a wet January evening, Suarez banjaxing the loving feeling with his “goal”. You’ve got to hand it to the fella.