Very few publications can lay claim to being “The Official Voice” of their sport. But then not many are almost 50 years old and have coexisted side by side with the object of their affection throughout the swings and roundabouts of two golden eras and at least one near collapse.
In the early 1970s, a handful of ingredients were coming together to form the recipe for the huge success of the hitherto lesser-known pub game of Darts. Darts World Magazine was one of those ingredients.
Editor, proprietor and instigator, Tony Wood, welcomed readers to the new Darts World magazine for our November/December 1972 debut (Issue 1). The ingredients mentioned above could all be seen within those first 36 pages:
“Welcome to this first issue of the only magazine in Britain for darts players.
Even before this issue was off the presses the reaction to our arrival had been overwhelming. From literally all parts of the country and darts centres overseas, there have been messages of goodwill and promises of support. If we needed evidence of the growing popularity of darts as a competitive sport we have it in abundance…..”Darts World Magazine (Issue 1) November/December 1972
The main competitive news in Darts World’s opening issue was the National Championships. The incredible Tommy O ‘Regan claimed his third successive NDAGB title. A rapid discussion was held and O’Regan awarded a trophy replica in recognition of his efforts. The standard of attire was also impressive. Suits, jackets, ties and highly polished shoes were visible all round.
The National Darts Association of Great Britain was the main body of darts while the BDO was just coming into existence. The noting of the player’s pub seems a quaint feature now but was standard as many players represented pub, area, County, and Country.
Some of the advertisements tell their own story, Unicorn’s full-page advert was the only colour content within the magazine whilst other brands, that would become household names, merely dipped a toe in the water. But the ‘Best Bristle Dart Boards’ adverts should have given us a clue that the brand that became known as WINMAU meant business.
With the advent of the Indoor League and some coverage of The News of The World event already on screen, darts was moving into the TV age and Darts World magazine was right on top of it.
Chris Robertson was in the right place at the right time with his round-up of Brian Netherton’s win in The News of The World and where it might lead the game. He spotted the potential for a champion with the right TV image and clearly identified the technical tricks that ensured darts were ‘Made for Television’. TV events would become a staple for Darts World over the years, but we also endeavored to cover as many grassroots competitions and non-TV events as humanly possible.
Soon, County darts would be making a splash, and Darts World would have the scoop!
Words: CJ Harris-Hulme
Images; Darts World Magazine
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