By Phil Lanning
JOCKY WILSON refused to change his PANTS for a week until he became Scotland’s first-ever World Champion in 1982.
The legendary Kirkcaldy star, who died aged 62 nine years ago, was sharing a room with another oche superstar Bobby George during the tournament.
But writing in his new book Slinging Arrows out tomorrow (May 20), Sky Sports pundit and ex-player Wayne Mardle reveals that Wilson was surprisingly superstitious about his underwear.
Mardle said: “Bobby tells a strange tale of the time when Jocky won the 1982 World Championship and, over the course of that event, he and Bobby had been sharing a hotel room at the Lakeside, the original home of world darts.
“Bear in mind they were both enormous superstars at this point, as close as dartists of that era came to being household names, and the image of them cooped up in the same room like Bert and Ernie off Sesame Street might sound quite comical.
“But it wasn’t so enjoyable for Bobby, who noticed a few days in that Jocky wasn’t changing his underpants. Jocky insisted they were lucky, and refused to change them until he won. He did eventually put on a clean pair, but that was after seven days. Poor old Bobby. Still, by that point Jocky was championship of the world.
“It’s hard to imagine any of the darting world’s current legends, from Gary Anderson to Michael van Gerwen, spending seven days in the same undercrackers.”
Mardle also talks about the worst kept secret of the sport that Wilson and Eric Bristow didn’t actually hate each other – and the Scot’s death rocked the Crafty Cockney until he also passed away three years ago.
Mardle added: “I do regret never getting to meet Jocky. I never came close to regretting the hundreds of games I lost over the years, but I’ll always feel sad about never having the opportunity to shake Jocky Wilson by the hand.
“I’ve been around top darts players since 1985, yet an audience with Jocky always eluded me; by the time I joined the BDO he’d joined the PDC; then by the time I joined the PDC he’d retired.
“And for Jocky, this was the standard darts retirement of knocking the professional life on the head but still popping up for the occasional exhibition or promo opportunity. When Jocky left darts, he really left darts.
“He didn’t get to make old bones, sadly. He smoked like a chimney and he liked a wee dram, and that was what his days consisted of; he died of heart disease at the age of just 62.
“When news of his health problems and financial concerns filtered through the darts community, Eric Bristow tried to organise a PDC benevolent night, but Jocky wasn’t interested in taking the money. He was either proud or stubborn or both.
“He just wanted nothing to do with it. I think Eric took that, and Jocky’s subsequent death, as quite a blow – most people think Eric and Jocky hated each other, but Eric was quite a gentle, principled human being (when he wasn’t being a 100 per cent arse) and he’d phone Jocky more than any other human, just to check he was alright.”
*Slinging Arrows by Wayne Mardle is out May 20 (Ebury Spotlight, hardback £20 plus audio and ebook)