MICHAEL SMITH has revealed he gets fired-up for the Premier League by listening to Whitney Houston!
The two-time world finalist faces a crucial night of action at the Westpoint in Exeter as he bids for a first win this season against Joe Cullen tonight.
Smith, 31, was sensational in his run at the Ally Pally at the start of the year but just hasn’t quite yet had the luck in the league.
However he admits to an unusual pre-match preparation including the songs of diva Houston.
He said: “Before a match I’m always practising with my headphones on. But then 20 minutes before the game I stop talking and get hyped up.
“But when I give it large I think all my adrenalin goes. So it’s about making sure I keep that energy and focus in a match. I’d rather just keep it in and wait for the right time in a match to celebrate properly.
“I’ve got several playlists to listen to. I’ve got chill, the kids’ playlists and a showman playlist. There’s also Whitney Houston.
“It’s not like a Dirk Van Duijvenbode playlist of head-banging dance music, it’s the top 10 dance songs.”
Smith also admits to loving the new knockout format despite the difficult start to the campaign.
He added: He said: “I am like a kid in a sweet shop. I missed out last year, now to be back in with a big shake-up of the tournament, with not just one game a night, I am really happy with it.
“You have to prepare yourself right. It is better that way. You are not just turning up for one night and then you can go back to the hotel. You have got something to play for and it is better the way they have done it this year.”
GUTTED Michael Smith revealed that even his pet GOOSE fell out with him after he lost the World Championship final.
The St.Helens ace was beaten by Scot Peter Wright and left the stage in a flood of tears at the Ally Pally earlier this month.
Smith, 31, broke the hearts of darts fans as the emotions took over and he now wants to end the heartbreak with a return to glory at the Ladbrokes Masters which starts tomorrow (Friday).
In his first interview since the final, he admitted: “It was good to come home with the animals, it brings you back down to earth.
“When you are on a run at the Worlds, it’s like a dream and you are waiting for someone to pinch you.
“The male goose has changed towards me though. I came back from the Ally Pally and he’s normally the first one that runs over to me.
“But this time I sat on the step and he came over and bit me and spat at me!
“It was so tough after losing on stage. When I looked around after the final, my son Junior started balling.
“John McDonald came up to me on stage and said ‘come on mate, I’m with you’. He said I didn’t have to do the interview but I said I wanted to.
“I went backstage and sat in the little room and Mandy the security girl came in and I literally just went, all the emotion came out.
“Then my wife Dagmara and the kids came in, Junior hugged me from the back crying. Dag had to leave the room because she started crying. I told myself I had to stop and man up!
“Junior was proper bad. But I told him ‘I promise you I will win it for you one day’. He then stopped crying and so did I.
“But for two weeks now my youngest son Kasper has been playing darts pretending to be Peter Wright. So all I hear is Peter Wright’s name every day.
“He’ll stand at the bottom of the stairs and do the John McDonald MC stuff, run upstairs into his bedroom. Then throw at the board with my darts, downstairs again to sing Peter’s walk-on and then throw with his darts!
“The kids remind me of the final every day. But now all they say to me now is ‘when can we get the bigger trophy?’”
Smith will face either Krzysztof Ratajski or Gabriel Clemens in his opening encounter in Milton Keynes on Saturday night.
He believes that glory is on the way, adding: “Since 2014, I know I can pull out the big results. I’ve been in the top 10 for seven years. I’ve not won a ranking major yet. But that’s why I don’t get depressed after getting beat.
“I know that my consistency in the tournaments and in the top 10 is there.
“I’m hard on myself, probably too hard. I want to be No.1, I want to win everything.
“But I’m proud of myself for competing, I’m not just turning up. I’m pushing the best players in the world to deciding legs or sets. I want to get over that line. With more finals, that will happen.”
MICHAEL SMITH has vowed to keep fighting and come back stronger to win major silverware.
Bully Boy was gutted by his World Championship final defeat to Peter Wright a week ago.
It was the ninth time he had lost in a major final, but Smith said: “I am capable of winning anything I put my mind to as long as it my mind is on it and it doesn’t drift anywhere else. I will keep fighting and keep going until the next one.
“What happened last year, when I got left out of the Premier League and I kept moaning about it but the moment I forgot about it I tried showing the PDC and everyone why they left me out. You have to fight for everything and I did.
“I won a couple of tournaments and in the last couple of months everything fell into place. Setbacks are there for the comebacks.
“I could have fretted years ago when I lost the Premier League final. I could have thought it was not meant to be and I lost another and another.
“I keep fighting, I keep making finals – you can’t lose in a final if you are not in a final. I am always there battling.”
Smith also admits he is getting battle hardened to the setbacks that will serve him well in the future.
On the final itself, he added: “The that’s annoying is I let him play like that, I was 5-4 up and 2-0 up and I had the darts twice and both times I played rubbish. It’s one of them.
“I was just targeting the double sets and I won the first two and then I broke him in the third double and then I was 5-4 2-0 and the rest his history.
“I am thinking about it now I am coming down but during the game I was just keeping focused, ‘Keep throwing and next time I have to take my chance’. The game kept getting harder. I was trying, I never once gave up and then emotions took over at the end.
“The first final I lost 7-3, the second one I lost 7-5. The next one I’ll get seven and be champion. I am getting used to these setbacks but I’ll be back on the dartboard in a couple of days and I’m going to fight for it.”
MICHAEL SMITH smashed his hand punching a toilet door during his World Championship final debut – now he wants to break his title hoodoo.
The St.Helens hurler has finished runner-up five times in major finals and will face either Ron Meulenkamp or Lisa Ashton in his Alexandra Palace opener later this week.
But Smith, 31, believes he has conquered his anger issues thanks to a new mindset and a farm to keep calm.
He said: “I just like to get on with it, I’m not one for hanging about. That’s just the way I am. I try not to show any emotion, and when I do people say, ‘Look, he’s giving up already.’
“You can’t please everyone – and as long as I know my game is heading in the right direction, everyone else can do one.
“I broke my hand in the World Championship final against Michael (van Gerwen) when I was only 2-0 down, but that was just frustration and it was the only way I could let it out.
“If I shout and scream my head off up there, people just slate you anyway, so it’s easier to do it behind closed doors so no-one else knows.
“I’m happy because I’ve got the game to push anyone. I need to get my game head on because last year I had to wait until the last session before Christmas to play my first game. I was looking forward to Christmas, lost just before Christmas and had the worst one ever.
“I spent the next three weeks clearing out the horses’ paddock because I had nothing else to do.”
The former World Youth champ admits that his new farmhouse gives him the peace and quiet to get away from the pressures of the oche.
He added: “We’ve got two horses, two swans, five dogs, two tortoises, 29 chickens, 17 ducks and four geese. And I’ve just got permission to keep pigs as well.
“We’re looking at farming as a side business because you don’t know how long you’re going to be playing darts, or how far downhill you could go.
“I want to open a cafe where everything is free range and it all comes from my backyard, so by the time we’ve added some pigs we’ll have everything to cover a full English breakfast. I’d probably call it Bully Boy’s – I might as well put my name to it.
“I’ve got four turkeys – three female, one male – we’re going to keep one of each, and the other two are called Christmas Day Dinner and Boxing Day Dinner.
“Don’t get me wrong, darts is my main focus and I’m not going to stop until I lift that World Championship trophy. I might win the UK Open or the Grand Slam first, but the World Championship is the one I won’t stop until I’ve lifted it – even if I’m still talking about it when I’m 109.
“But I do know that if I won it this year, it would take five years off my target to retire.
“I’m sick of being the bridesmaid and I won’t touch the trophy until I’ve won it. That’s the way I look at it – I’ll only touch it when it’s mine.
“Am I the best player never to win the world title? James Wade gets asked that question every year, but he’s in a different category – he’s won 10 majors, I haven’t won any yet. I’ll have to keep my mouth shut for now.
“The best player never to win a major? Well, I’m in the same bracket as Terry Jenkins there – and we’ve even got the same nickname as well!
“But I don’t stress about it – good things come to those who wait, and although it is getting a bit frustrating now, I know there will be other chances, and when I do get that first one, I’ll be doing what Jonny Clayton has done this year and winning two, three, four of them.
“Even on the Pro Tour floor tournaments, I could never get past the last 16 – until one day when I did, and now I’ve won 15 or 16 of them.
“That’s what it will be like when I get my first TV title: I’ll get on a roll. I’ve been to seven finals so far and I’m trying to get rid of the demons of all those near misses.
“The worlds is the best one because you don’t know what you’re going to see – you’ve got traffic cones on one side, nuns on the other, and I can’t wait to get back to Ally Pally with the fans.”