Vile darts troll told Jonny Clayton I hope your family dies a horrible death

Stand up if you love the darts, by all means, and good luck explaining that chant about Kolo and Yaya Toure to elderly relatives.

But Jonny Clayton's patience is exhausted with darts yobs who try to distract players on game shot, or whose currency is tribal abuse based roughly along lines of nationality.

The 'Ferret' fears one ill-timed whistle, confected chorus of boos or slack-jawed volley of pure vernacular could cost a player up to half a million quid with a single dart.

READ MORE: Gary Anderson branded the 'Rangers and Celtic of darts' as fans predict retirement

And Clayton, whose compatriot Gerwyn Price has too often been singled out for unacceptable torrents of filth, says the culture of football-style disorder must stop.

To encourage a party spirit which does not cross partisan lines, the Professional Darts Corporation stipulate “no football colours” as a condition of entry for ticket-holders.

But it is an anomaly that the bawdy atmosphere, fuelled by up to 500,000 pints of lager sold over the tournament, is generated by football-crowd etiquette.

How should the PDC combat the abuse at Ally Pally? Tell us in the comments section below.

And when he joins the fray in his second round tie against Danny van Trijp at the Cazoo PDC World Championship on Friday night, Clayton will be making a stand for decency against disparagement, distraction and even death threats.

The former Carmarthenshire county council plasterer, who finally gave up his day job to play darts full-time earlier this year, said: “It’s not nice – you are throwing darts to win a lot of money and somebody is whistling to put you off.

“That little difference in the atmosphere can makes a hell of a difference to the outcome. You don’t expect someone to whistle as you are throwing or somebody to shout something like ‘Miss!’ at the top of their voice. There is no fair play on some levels.

“At the world championship we are playing to win £500,000, but I don't think some of the fans care. There are some people who are just there to spoil it.

“How do you stop it? I'm not sure – the security people can chuck them out, but by the time they have identified the perpetrators, it's too late. The dart has missed the target, the damage is done.

“I try to concentrate on trying to win the game, not what the crowd are doing behind me, but you do hear it. That is the unfortunate thing.

“Gezzy (Price) gets it big-time now. I wouldn't want my kids to hear some of the filth aimed at him.”

Clayton's thunderous sudden-death defeat by Michael Smith in last year's fourth round was voted the best game on TV in 2021, but he still had to endure social media abuse – some of it going way beyond the pale.

He said: “The keyboard warriors are just as bad. Any death threats? Well, the last one said 'I hope your family dies a horrible death.'

“Then they will try to come back and say, 'Oh, I didn’t mean that.' It’s too late, pal. You said it. Too late.

“I think a lot of it is to do with gambling, where they have maybe lost a bet. Listen mate, you might have lost £10 on your bet, but in a big final I have lost maybe £250,000. How do you think I feel?

“I am just a sportsman, trying to make myself a better life by playing something that I really love.”

Clayton, 48, has never been beyond the last 16 at Alexandra Palace, but now he has hung up the trowel and gypsum he is hoping the extra focus on darts will bring him better fortunes in the N22 postcode.

He said: “The council supported me big-time by giving me unpaid leave when they didn’t have to, and I will always appreciate that.

“I have worked since I left school at 16, and I will miss it. But if I don't perform, I won't be too proud to pick up the trowel again.”

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