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Staying Power: A Year in My Life By Phil Taylor with Mike Walters

Release date: 21st October, 2014
Publisher: Hodder & Staughton

List Price: £20.00
Our Price: £13.60
You Save: £6.4 (32%)
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Rarely do those who have dominated our newspaper’s back pages and Sky Sports screens for more than two decades complain about being “exhausted from the strain of constant winning”. While it’s probably much better than the alternative, this cryptic reference in Phil Taylor’s latest book suggests that perhaps ‘The Power’s’ batteries are running a little low.

No-one can challenge Taylor’s status as the greatest darts player of all time. A world champion on an incredible sixteen occasions, he reminds us of the time he first entered the Lakeside World Championship as a 125/1 outsider back in 1990. He was earning £74 a week in a ceramics factory, but after he defeated Eric Bristow 6-1 in the final and collected a cheque for £24,000, his life changed forever.

Staying Power avoids becoming another full-scale autobiography, concentrating instead on a particularly difficult year in Taylor’s life. Given the number of times he mentions his age and the fact that he’s now a grandfather, the reader cannot help but conclude that the affable Taylor is close to calling time on an incredible career.

In many respects, Taylor has done for darts what Tiger Woods did for golf, his consistency, good nature and willingness to promote the game resulting in a phenomenal rise in TV exposure and, as a consequence, prize money. Yet here we see a man under constant pressure, hampered by a tough schedule and who, when he takes a three-week ‘detox’ break in Portugal catches an earful from his manager. This particular year in Taylor’s life is no cakewalk.

At one point, he says, “My results in 2014 were so poor that I feared I was turning into the Manchester United of golf,” a reference to United’s steady deterioration since Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford.

Taylor talks of sleepless nights, mental exhaustion and of being increasingly distracted by personal problems. “My marriage was heading for the divorce courts,” he writes, “but there were other matters, which were too delicate to share with you, occupying my time and attention away from the oche.” Considering Taylor later reveals that he contemplated suicide in 2001 following a conviction for assaulting two women, his tantalising reference to delicate matters looks an ideal start point to a definitive autobiography when he finally calls time on his career.

Before then, there’s another world championship next year – a 17th win for this engaging man would offer the opportunity for him to go out at the top.

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