Suffolk darts legend Keith Deller shares impact of overnight stardom in new book
- Credit: Lucy Taylor
In 1983, an unknown 23-year-old from Suffolk called Keith Deller took the darts world by storm, defying the odds and sporting conventions to become a most unlikely world champion.
Deller was the diametric opposite of the beer-swigging, chain-smoking, paunch-bellied darts player fans were used to - he was slim, well-spoken, athletic and didn't smoke or drink.
And he looked like a boy next to his flabby, middle-aged opponents.
A TV audience of 10 million watched transfixed as this angelic newcomer beat world number-one Eric Bristow in the final.
He clinched the trophy in dramatic fashion, when Bristow had left himself 50 to stay in the match, but decided to throw for single 18 with his last dart to leave double 16 instead of a more difficult attempt at the bullseye.
Deller then hit 138 with a treble 20, treble 18, double 12 for the title.
Almost overnight, Keith had breathed new life into a game whose traditions had been hewn in the nation's smoky pubs and clubs.
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Deller was a new breed of darts player whose appeal transcended this gritty working-class sport, piquing the interest of intellectuals such as Martin Amis and Stephen Fry.
In his book, Keith, now 61, takes the reader on an intimate journey as we relive his rapid rise from complete obscurity to lifting the game's greatest prize as one of the youngest world champions in history.
138: Game, Shot and the Match recounts the fairy-tale story of Keith Deller’s rise to fame as one of the most unlikely sporting world champions of modern times.
The ‘kid from Suffolk’ conquered the greats on his way to the BDO world title in 1983.
Read and discover:
· How Keith went from playing darts for fun in his parents’ kitchen to competing in the world championships
· When one of the biggest names in the game took Keith under his wing as both a fellow competitor and student
· Keith’s route to world championship glory, from entering as a qualifier to his final triumph over the biggest name in the sport
· A host of stories and recollections about some of the great players Keith has competed against
· Life away from the oche and the trials and tribulations of becoming an instant celebrity
· Darts into the 2020s – including Keith’s return to competitive action