By Phil Lanning
THEY said he was all hair and no flair.
It was just a novelty act, a multi-coloured mohican, style over substance.
He was even called a ‘clown’.
But boy has Peter Wright proved everyone wrong.
And don’t be fooled by the ‘plastic Jock’ tag. Wright might be based in Suffolk and sound more Bernard Matthews than Billy Connolly but his heart beats blue and white Saltire after his early life in West Lothian.
Wright admits his burning passion for Scotland was born after his mum RAN AWAY with him when he was just three years old.
He revealed that one night his young mum Jean took him away 40 years ago leaving West Lothian for London.
Wright, 49, has never met his father, who was in jail when he was born, and has lived an almost nomadic lifestyle since his mum left Scotland with him in 1973.
In truth, he is a total contradiction of persona v personality. The oche punk look could not be further from his real character.
He’s quiet, reserved and verging on shy, very softly spoken and emotional.
Wright was close to tears when he told me: “My mum was 16 when she had me and my dad was in jail.
“But her sisters didn’t think she was up to bringing me up at one stage and they were apparently talking about taking me off her.
“So my mum decided one night to just run away with me to London when I was only three.
“It was obviously a very difficult time for her but that’s the only reason I left Scotland.
“We were in London until I was 18 and then I’ve lived in so many places since then – Suffolk, Norfolk, Cheshire, Ayrshire.
“I’ve probably turned out for more counties in darts than any other player – I’ve represented all the places I’ve lived in.
“I’ve settled in Suffolk now and my mum lives above my wife’s hairdressers down with us. But my heart still remains in Scotland.
“My true identity is that I am Scottish – I’ve got Scottish blood running through my veins.
“I’m passionate about my upbringing. I was only taken from Scotland so my mum could keep me.
“I’m happy to tell my story now and hope people realise that I am a true Scot. I hate it when people say I’m not. I’m proud of my country and even prouder to represent it.”
Wright burst on to the scene seven years ago by reaching the World Championship Final and has since been consistent at the highest level, his finest hour in 2020 taking the title at the Ally Pally.
Ask anyone about darts and where once they’d talk about Eric Bristow or Phil Taylor, now they say: “That bloke with the colourful, spiky hair.”
Wrighty admits he grew up watching the likes Ziggy Stardust and Boy George which inspired the hair – and the best is yet to come on the oche.
He said: “I wanted to win the World Championship, that was the goal obviously. It wasn’t about proving people wrong, just for personal satisfaction.
“I know what people have said about me, I know people thought I was just a novelty and a weird haircut.
“When I was young I experimented I did have some sort of mohican and I used to colour the back of my head with food dye!
“In the charts then were David Bowie, Boy George and all that lot all dressed up as well.
“It was my idea of colouring my hair for darts. It was the Blue Square UK Open and I decided to have blue hair for it, I think that was 2009.
“But I always believed in my own ability. The hair, the clothes are just my stage persona. That’s what prepares me for matches, my warpaint if you like.
“I liked to learn from other players, watch the top guys such as Phil, Michael (Van Gerwen), Gary (Anderson) and Adrian Lewis and pick up their best points.
“I always go out to keep improving and that’s brought me to where I am now. But there’s a lot more to come.”
On his day, Wright has the ability to beat anyone in the world.
The ‘clown’ won the world crown. And he wants more.
Images by Taylor Lanning.