Wednesday, 26 February 2014

An Interview With BDO Darts Player Tony 'Spud' Martin


When did you start playing darts?

This was around 1998 when I left school and started going the pub with me old man.

When did it start getting ‘serious’?

Probably when I was around 19/20 years old when me and Stephen Bunting won the British Open pairs at the Adelphi in Liverpool in from of our county friends and family etc.

What darts do you use?

For steel tip I use Anastasia 20g Unicorn signature darts (get em free ;-) )
In soft tip darts I use my own signature darts from Hinotori Darts Japan in 18g. Just waiting on my steel tip version.

Who do you play your non PDC/BDO darts for?

I play local league darts for the "Princes Bullies" in Ellesmere Port, not the best team but we have the best laugh and nice to relax and play with friends.

What darting ambitions do you have?

I would like to get back on the TV in the UK as it's been a while and I have not really been trying that much to do this. I would also like to progress more with soft tip darts and make a name for myself in that out in Asia which is where the future of darts is in my opinion.

What’s your favourite tournament?

World Matchplay at Blackpool. Been there many times to watch friends play. The atmosphere sends shivers down your spine and gives you goosebumps especially when Phil Taylor's music is played.

Describe your throw in 3 words.

Slow, deliberate, stacking

What was the highlight of 2013?

Anastasia winning the World champs for the 3rd time and also being there to help Stephen Bunting win Stage 3 of the soft tip event when he did not have a clue how to play and me helping him along the way. On my own playing highlight, there was nothing that stood out for me.

What do you do to relax away from darts?

I like to watch other sports on TV, especially football and my team Liverpool. I also try and get to the gym when I can to do some cardio work. Darts takes up most of my time doing various things for myself and others.

Tell me something we don’t know about you?

I suffer from Single Sided Deafness (SSD) people sometimes think I'm ignoring them or being ignorant, but when they realise they are ok with things and understand. This does affect my balance on the Oche from time to time.

Do you have any darts weaknesses?

I don't believe in myself enough as I should.

Whats your walk-on tune and If not that what else would you walk on tune be?

I use "Jigga Jigga" by Scooter.

Do you take much notice of the social media side of darts i.e: Twitter, Facebook etc

Yes I do actively participate in the social media side of darts. I'm pretty outspoken and usually say what I see, not like some other players who say it behind peoples backs, it does get me into trouble sometimes but that's just me. I think twitter is a great way of players being able to connect with there fans and also potential sponsors. Facebook is not good for  this.

When your not playing do you enjoy watching any other players play? Who?

I like to watch MVG as I find him entertaining, I have known him since he was around 14 when I used practice with him when I lived in Holland until late 2008.

Do you have any darting heroes?

I would have to say Phil Taylor for what he has done for the game of darts. On a non playing side Barry Hearn would have to have my vote due to the way he has made darts grow and give the players a chance to earn a decent living like in the early 80's

Have you always wanted to be a darts pro? If you hadn’t of been that what would you
be doing now?

I did want to be a pro and I got to become a pro for 3 years whilst living in Holland. If I did not play darts I honestly think I would have been in jail by now or something along those lines like many of the people I grew up with at a younger age, darts took me away from that.

Do you enjoy the practice side of darts?

I enjoy practicing with friends and helping them along. Right now I love practicing soft tip and can't get enough of it. Just wish there was more venues in the UK.

Do you have any funny printable darts stories you can tell me?

Once whilst playing the Swedish open many years ago, I went back to the hotel after playing with Stephen Bunting, Mick Brooks, Stephen Mcnally and George McCormack. We went for a jacuzzi and it was very deep in there, the two Stephen's decided not to get in the jacuzzi. So there is 3 of us in there enjoying it when Mcnally walks over and leans on the side with a towel in hand. Several minutes later there was bubbles everywhere and the jacuzzi was overflowing with them and we lost Mick under all the bubbles as he only about 5ft tall. McNally had squirted hand soap into the jacuzzi and this was the result. We all got out looking like the Marshmallow man from Ghostbusters.

If you could change the outcome of a match you have played in what would it be?

I would have won the ones I have lost.

How did you and Soft-Tip darts come about?

When I was living in Holland, I practiced in a bar and they had a soft tip machine, they asked me to join the team in the local league, our team was not to bad, Myself, MVG, Jelle and Toon Greebe. So I played this for a while. In 2012 I went to Hong Kong for a holiday and went into a bar and they were playing soft tip, I had a set of darts to use and just had a few games, I was approached by someone in there and told about the soft tip tour and that's when I decided to give it a go again. I find it much more fun yet just as serious as steel tip. Soft tip is massive all over Asia and America and in Europe, I don't really think the British darts players realise how big it is, I certainly did not until I started travelling, I think we will see more and more playing it this year and have heard Rumours that Targets new signing will be making a showing in Asia for the soft tip.

A big thank you to Tony for doing this interview, it was a pleasure.

This interview was done by Richard on 26th February 2014.