Wayne Mardle: ‘I wanted to be a clown. No one wants that any more’

The flamboyant player turned pundit on the ‘terrible’ attitude that held him back, his coaching school and social media abuse

A couple of months ago, Wayne Mardle was filming a celebrity episode of the ITV gameshow Bullseye when he was gripped by a strange and unfamiliar sensation. You might think that, as a former professional darts player and now one of the sport’s most recognisable commentators, performing on television is the last thing that would faze him. But as he prepared to go on stage in tandem with the former Coronation Street actor Angela Griffin, some old demons began to resurface.

In an instant, Mardle remembered why he had given up the game more than a decade ago. “I can honestly say I was fraught with the pressure, with the tension,” he says. “My head was swimming, my arm was tight, my hand was cold, my feet were freezing. I don’t want to be that pressurised ever again. And you know what? I absolutely hated it.”

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