By Phil Lanning
ALAN SOUTAR admits that he has the right mentality and a “stone heart” for his Worlds debut after serving in the Royal Marines.
The red-hot fireman has been one of the biggest stories of the oche this year after reaching the UK Open quarter-finals and qualifying for the World Championship after winning £32k in ranking money.
Arbroath ace Soots, 43, makes his Alexandra Palace debut against Brazilian Diogo Portela on Sunday. But his time as a commando means he is ready for anything on stage.
The World No.77 revealed: “I was a commando with the Royal Marines. I was more in the peace-keeping forces in the 90s and early 2000s, that was in Bosnia, Kosovo and Northern Ireland. But we saw quite a lot of horrible stuff, especially in Kosovo.
“But I feel that the fire brigade is a worse scenario because I deal with death a lot more. You are with people, trying to save them.
“A lot of things don’t bother me, I have perspective about what is important in life. I have the right temperament to deal with darts.
“It’s a state of mind. My wife Amanda always says to me that I’m maybe cold and have a stone heart, emotionally.
“I can just switch off and just play darts, it doesn’t really bother me that it’s Peter Wright or Dave Chisnall, they’re just the same as me. I know they have got higher profiles but I know I can play at a 100 average level. I just need to do it at the right time against these players.
“Now that I’ve had a taste of it and I’ve been in the room and seen everyone, I’m now quite confident going down to these events.”
Soots will play World No.26 and tricky rival Mensur Suljovic if he gets past Portela in a potentially fascinating second round clash.
He started playing darts from a very early age but also admits that playing at the Ally Pally next week will be a huge dream achieved.
He added: “My grandparents owned a pub in Arbroath so from a very early age of about six or seven years old, I’ve been playing darts almost my whole life.
“Playing in the PDC is the golden ticket as they say. Maybe in a year’s time we can sit down and assess and see where we are. At the moment I still need to work and play darts.
“I have quite a lot of memorable moments in a short space of time. I did well in the first few ProTours. I beat quite a lot of World Champions, I beat Raymond van Barneveld a couple of times, Peter Wright three times and Chizzy.
“Those kind of wins give you confidence that you are good enough to be in the room. I love darts and John Henderson and Gary Anderson have been big Scottish players for me.
“I didn’t have any ambition at the start but to qualify for Ally Pally. I’ve played at Lakeside a couple of times, so to play in both World Championships is great. But the PDC one is a big goal. To do well in that and then as we move forward to get into the top 32 in the world. You have to set your target high.”
Images by Taylor Lanning.