The Crafty Cockney: Eric Bristow: The Autobiography

Eric Bristow


Eric Bristow is considered to be the greatest darts player of all time and one who pioneered the game’s move from the pub on to the TV screen. He was an unmistakable figure on the oche during his 1980s heyday, with his trademark blonde highlights and red Crafty Cockney t-shirt, and became renowned not just for the number of world titles he won but for his arrogance on stage and off it. His autobiography is a candid account of his rise to the top and reveals his humble beginnings in London’s East End, where gangs like the Richardsons ruled the streets through a mix of fear and torture. Eric would often walk home at night with a claw hammer stuffed down his pants for protection. Cat burglar, shoplifter, thug: Bristow was all of these during his early street-fighting years, but it was darts that proved to be his salvation, introducing him to a new world of beer, babes, and undreamed of success. He won his first world title in 1980 and dominated the scene for the next decade, winning four more. In his rapid rise to the top he gives fascinating insights into the characters that pioneered darts in those early days and helped establish it as a major TV spectacle. Players like Jocky Wilson, a hard-drinking Scot who now lives his life penniless and as a recluse; John Lowe, the stone-faced Englishman who was Bristow’s main rival; Cliff Lazarenko, who Bristow once tried to match drink for drink and ended up with alcohol poisoning; and Keith Deller, the young upstart who caused the biggest upset in darts when, unseeded, he beat Bristow in the 1983 Embassy World Final. When Bristow’s career finally began to slide at the end of the decade he trained his protégé Phil "The Power" Taylor, turning him into the most successful player darts has ever known. Bristow holds nothing back as he reveals his battle with dartitis, a psychological condition which left him unable to let go of the dart and almost destroyed his career; his relationship with girlfriend and former women’s world darts champion Maureen Flowers; and his occasional all-to-public falls from grace.

Show sample text content

Download sample