Solihull News sports reporter Eliot Mullett caught up with legendary darts player Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor this week, as he opened Solihull Darts Zone in Rileys.
Some people call him the greatest sportsman this country has ever seen - the fact he has totally dominated darts since bursting onto the scene makes this hard to argue against.
And despite him not being totally modest about this - although he has every right not to be - Taylor has his feet firmly on the ground.
He has been at the top of his sport for nearly twenty years, but as he speaks slowly, with his still strong Stoke accent, he explains this counts for nothing.
“It’s all snobbery - the sport doesn’t get the attention it deserves because of where it is mostly played,” said Taylor, as he lined up a shot on the snooker table. He was playing against his son, Chris, both of whom were decent players.
“It doesn’t take away what I have achieved though, I’ve been at the top for years.”
His comments don’t come across as arrogant - the 49-year-old is too laid back and down-to-earth for that. We were talking just as if we were down at our local, not in a snooker room where just outside hundreds of people were waiting to meet their hero.
“I’ve had a great career, it’s not all been roses, but I’ve been able to look after my family - I think that’s the most important,” he added, going on to tell me of the millions a year he now earns.
But it’s not the money that keeps him going.
“Darts has always been in my family, my mum and dad played it and so did I. We didn’t have a TV,” said Taylor, who recently moved to Wychwood Park, near Crewe, and most probably has an enormous set now.
“I still love playing and enjoy the challenge, there’s always new people on the scene trying to take you down.”
Despite there being not much else to win in the world of darts - he holds 14 world championships and has broken nearly every possible darts record - he wants to go on and set new records. A recent competitor described Taylor as a ‘computer’ and shortly after speaking with me he went outside and showed why - a perfect nine-dart finish giving his opponent no chance.
“I have no plans to retire just yet. I was speaking to Pete Williams (Robbie’s dad), a good friend of mine, who said ‘Phil, you’ll just know when it’s time. You’ll wake up one morning and you’ll know it.’ But that day hasn’t come yet and I don’t think it will for a while.”
l Taylor opened the brand new Darts Zone at Solihull Rileys in Hobs Moat Road on Tuesday, which is fitted with championship quality boards and hi-tech electronic scoring.