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Barney to transfer to the PDC ?

  • 14-12-2005 2:28pm
    Registered Users Posts: 4,166 ✭✭✭ The Rooster

    You may have heard the rumours of Barney transferring over to the PDC post the upcoming world championships - in time for the Premier League. I thought I'd give a bit of background on it, which may be of interest to some who might not have heard it before.

    It starts back in early 2005, when Barry Hearn, chairman of the PDC, made a concerted effort to bring Andy Fordham across to the PDC. Apart from maybe Taylor, Andy Fordham is the biggest name in British Darts post his winning the BDO World Championships in January 2004 and appearing on countless TV shows since then. However, this extra publicity did not help Andy's darts. He missed a lot of the minor tournaments, and his practice routines (never big on Andy's agenda anyway!) went out the window. This lead to inconsistent performances and a drop down the BDO rankings. With him failing to make the semis at the Lakeside in 2005, this would mean he would not have automatic entry to the 2006 Lakeside - and Andy (like most) has a strong dislike of the intensive 1/2 days floor qualifiers which are usually a minefield for big name players. So the time was right for Hearn to pounce and bring him over to the PDC. They had meetings and Hearn issued the following offer (to Fordham's agent):
    Date: April 27 2005

    Dear Dave,

    It was good to see you and Andy - interesting meeting!

    To confirm our discussion:-

    1. Sky have confirmed they would insist on Andy having a wild card entry
    into the 2005/6 World Championships.

    2. Sky have confirmed they would insist on Andy having a wild card entry
    into the 2006 Premier Darts League.

    3. One of our sponsors has offered £20,000 for a one year logo deal.

    Now I need Andy's decision as these offers are only on the table for the next two weeks and then they will be used elsewhere.

    Let's talk but please remind Andy this discussion is absolutely private and
    confidential. If this is made public then again the whole offer must be

    Yours sincerely,

    Barry Hearn

    Apparently Hearn did something to really annoy Dave, so Dave made this e-mail public - not sure where exactly, but a friend of mine passed it on to me.

    In any event Andy didnt really want to leave the BDO. Himself and his wife move very much in BDO circles and he didnt want to have the hassle. And by coincidence (:rolleyes: ) at around this time the BDO changed the rules for entry to the Lakeside so that winners from the previous 3 years will gain automatic places to the World Championship instead of the usual winner, runner-up, and 2 semi-finalists of the previous year. The BDO have always steadfastly refused to give wildcards to the World Championship, but this guarantees Andy entry in 2006 and 2007.

    He also managed to secure entry to most of the other majors this year, i.e the World Masters, the World Darts Trophy and the International Darts League - although he lost in the first round of each. He didnt get a wildcard to the Leendesk, but he's probably not overly worried about that. And when England picked their 4-man team to go to the World Cup in Australia they looked at the BDO Ranking tables and picked the highest ranking Englishman, the 2nd highest ranking Englishman, the 3rd highest ranking Englishman (Adams, King and O'Shea) and the 15th highest ranking Englishman :D
    So it was a nice deal Andy cut for himself - and fair play to him!

    But I digress - back to the PDC and Hearn. When Fordham turned them down, their attention turned to Barney - albeit they couldnt offer him the exact same offer - because when the above e-mail became public knowledge there was uproar among the PDPA members that a wildcard would be given to the World Championship. (As most will be aware the PDC World Championship has increased from 48 to 64 players and there was talk of giving wildcards to big-name crowd pullers like Bristow and Lowe, but this also had to be shelved after the PDPA reaction.) So the deal for Barney is just a wildcard entry to the Premier League - which is a made for/by Sky non-ranking event, so they can do what they like. However its thought highly unlikely that Barney wouldnt qualify by right for the PDC World Championship in 2007 any way. Its also thought to be a shoe-in that if Barney does join the PDC, there will be a PDC major event in the Netherlands in 2006.

    An interesting twist is that Barney really loves the Lakeside. Its his primary darting ambition to equal and beat Bristow's record of 5 titles (Barney has 4). In an ideal world Barney would compete on the PDC circuit and take part in the Lakeside rather than at Purfleet. Its believed this will be his starting position in negotiations but that its highly unlikely that either PDC or BDO would allow it - both would have to change existing rules to allow it. Another alternative is that he just plays in the Premier League and the new PDC tournament in the Netherlands (which would be non-ranking invite only) and continues with the rest of the BDO tour. Seems unlikely the PDC would go to this trouble for him not to give a bigger committment.

    This story will presumably come to a crecsendo one way or the other in January.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 12,044 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Kingp35

    Very interesting reading there alright Rooster. I would have enjoyed seeing Andy Fordham on the PDC tour becuase I would have liked to have seen him play more throughout the year, but its blatantly obvious that Hearn just wanted to cash in on Fordhams rising popularity. It certainly wouldnt be like Hearn to miss out on a money making opportunity. Still though you can understand Fordham if infact all his friends etc are part of the BDO and it could cause some unrest beween them if he decided to move. Plus the BDO seems to be bending every rule possible in order for him to stay with them.

    As for BArney I did here the stroy that he was supposed to be moving to the PDC. Tbh I cant see the PDC organising a new tournament unless Barney totally commits himself to them alone, and its also very unlikely that he will be allow to play in tournaments in both orgainsations in the one season. It seems as if Barney has a nice little choice he has to make. If he wins the BDO WC title in January then I could see him moving, but if not I would think that he would stay to give it one more crack. I personally think Barney wants to be recognised as the most successful player there has been in the BDO.

    Again very good story and its alos interesting to read that the two organisations seem to be competing now for the most popular players. It could lead to some very interesting developements

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,386 ✭✭✭ EKRIUQ

    In the next year or so I can see alot other players coming on board with the PDC there probably getting sick looking at the Sky tournaments on television and as the sport is growing because of sky, there's more money being put into it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,166 ✭✭✭ The Rooster

    You would think so, but then you'd have thought that they'd be over at the PDC already!

    I do know that not everything is rosie on the PDC side of the fence either - especially those players outside the top 16 or 20. I don't know the ins and outs but it seems the PDC have increased registration fees and regularly ask players to sign contracts relating to what they can and can't do. Alright for the guys earning the big money but not ideal for the rest. Only the top 10 in the PDC earned prizemoney in excess of £30,000 from PDC events in the last year. If you're outside the top 20, you earned less than £15,000. (Of course the figures for the BDO would surely be less).

    But there are strong rumours that some players will actually go the other way in January. These would be guys outside the top 20 (maybe well outside) who dont believe the PDC system works for them. There is supposed to be big names among them, but don't know who - maybe someone like a Richie Burnett, but thats total guesswork. The one benefit a lowish ranked player would have by going to the BDO is that everyone starts from scratch each year in the BDO, whereas in the PDC its a rolling 2 year ranking period with a strong weighting towards the majors (which will become even stronger from 2008), so the higher ranked players will always get into the majors thus helping them retain their rankings, while a lower ranked player who doesnt qualify for a major will continue to be low in the rankings. Perception of a vicious circle: - if you're out you stay out, if you're in you stay in. I dont swallow it myself, the likes of Adrian Lewis has risen very quickly through the rankings, so it can be done if you're good enough.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 12,044 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Kingp35

    Well it is obvious to everyone that the PDC has the more prize money on offer than the two. The BDO really does have some terrible prize money for its so called major events which would make some players consider switching to the PDC. I have to admit that I did always wonder why more players didnt switch from the BDO to the PDC. Rooster has raised some interesting points about how the PDC is run. I have to agree that it does seem very hard for players outside the top ranking places to earn decent money. Many of the majors allow the 16 or 24 or 32 ranked players, whatever the case may be, into the major and all others are forced to qualify. Qualifying tends to be very difficult as its usually held over a frantic 1 or 2 days and top players can very easily lose. Fact remians though that overall you can earn more money in the PDC but only the top players can earn enough in a year to play the sport professionally.

    All the BDO has to do is market itself more, and try and gain television rights for all their majors, not just show them in the Netherlands. This will bring in extra TV and sponsorship money which could then be used to increase prize money.

    I must admit I am slightly surprised to hear that some PDC players are considering moving back to the BDO.