Peter Wright is one of the biggest success stories in darts, having given up the game in the mid-90s, to starting back up again more than a decade later, to becoming a two-time world champion.
'Snakebite' sat down exclusively with bet365 to talk about how he got into darts, how it felt winning the world title, and of course, his trademark hairstyles.
The 52-year-old is perhaps the most recognisable player on tour, with his flamboyant outfits and hair, to which he credits his daughter as his inspiration.
“My hairstyle comes from my daughter, she used to colour her hair – she still does, but not as mad! Plus I wanted to be different from the other guys, I wanted to stand out,” said Wright.
“I think Blue Square were the sponsors at the UK Open and I said ‘do my hair blue for this’, so we dyed it blue, then a week later I said can I have a different colour, and it gave me confidence looking stupid, so we found a new way of putting the colours in. It takes hours to put in but five minutes to wash out, so it works for me!
“I got into darts just by watching it on TV, the players like Eric Bristow, Jocky Wilson, Cliff Lazarenko, there was something about it I liked. It was pretty simple, you could just buy a cheap sets of darts, I didn’t have a board so I practised on trees! But eventually got a board and it’s not an expensive sport like some others.
“I wasn’t that great when I first started but I just enjoyed it. When I came back from school, I’d work out then play darts and got better and better.”
After an unsuccessful stint as a professional in the mid-90s, Wright gave up the game for more than 10 years, but was persuaded to give it another go by his wife, Jo.
“I walked away from it, I couldn’t afford it,” said Wright. “Jo and my father-in-law gave me the second chance for me to do it again. I was a motor mechanic at the time and I watched the darts at the Grand Slam and I was saying to Jo ‘I can beat him, I can beat him…’ not them all obviously and she went ‘go on then, we’ll give it a go’ and here I am now.
“The motivation was that I wanted to try compete with the best guys in the world, the Gary Andersons, the Phil Taylors and the Barneys who were playing at the top of the game at the time, if I could pinch games off them now and again that was my target, to try and be part of them, and I achieved that.”
Wright was building an unwanted reputation a nearly man in darts, reaching finals of the World Championship, UK Open (twice) and World Series of Darts (twice) before landing the UK Open in 2017.
He’d still lose finals in the World Matchplay, Grand Prix and Grand Slam and the Premier League before finally landing the big one in 2020, sparking a series of major wins, and Wright insists that, deep down, the belief he could land major tournaments was always there.
“I had doubts over winning a major with the amount of finals I kept losing in,” said Wright. “But it was always there, I thought ‘I’ve given you the chances, I should’ve won this match, I should be the champion’, so it was always in my head that I will win, I just didn’t know how long it was going to take!
“Winning the worlds in 2020 was every dart player’s dream, and you saw me blubbing like a baby, but that was because of all the hard work we’d put in as a team, as a family, the sacrifices we’d made and we achieved it together.
“When the double 10 when in to win it, it was just a relief, all the pressure had come off my shoulders, winning a major but not just a major, the best in the world, and against MVG, who’d stopped me winning titles.
“The past two years of my career have been pretty cool. We set ourselves little targets, like I’d never been to the finals of the European Championships, then I went and won, same with the Players Championships. Now it’s the Premier League and Grand Slam and Grand Prix.”