Richie George, a debutant at the BDO World Championships, has enough on his plate. At the first time of asking, he’s reached the quarter-finals and has a real chance of meeting favourite Scott Waites in the semis. But there’s no pleasing some people – namely his dad.
Step forward Bobby George. Known as a hugely colourful character, George is considered a legend of darts, mainly for his personality and appearance rather than his skill. In fifteen appearances at the Worlds, George failed to win the tournament. He only qualified for the final twice, losing out to Eric Bristow in his first appearance and not repeating the feat for another fourteen years (one in which he faced John Part with a broken back).
Still, Bobby won his fair share of ranking tournaments and now a new generation of George is trying to put right the near-misses and outright failures. That’s not to say that the old man is cutting his son any slack on his opening outing. Oh no, it’s not as if he’s reached the final or anything yet!
Bobby George has become synonymous with the BBC’s dart coverage and it was sitting alongside his son, his wife and the slightly out-of-his-depth Colin Murray following Richie’s first round win against Dave Prins that one father let his son know what went wrong. Sloppy. Missing doubles. Not handling the pressure. In the uneasy atmosphere, you might have thought Richie had lost in disgraceful fashion. Bobby is a jovial character, but he tells it how it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a legend of the sport or a family member, he is brutally honest. Perhaps as the tournament progresses, he might go easier on Richie – but I wouldn’t bet on it.
British sport has seen plenty of youngsters try and follow in the footsteps of parents well known in their particular area. Andy Murray plays on knowing that ever-watchful Judy is waiting to impart her years of knowledge and experience. Zara Phillips received her Olympic silver medal from the Princess Royal. But few have to come straight from a tense match on their first global appearance and face the live TV cameras in front of your father. Forget the rowdy crowds and high stakes, sometimes pleasing your parents is the hardest thing in the world.