Michael Smith: ‘I’m still hot-headed, I just don’t show it any more’

The world champion on his early years in St Helens, coping with fame and how he has made his peace with uncertainty

Michael Smith’s throw is quick, fluid and deadly. He doesn’t hang around, and so nor will we. Let’s begin right at the start: Cherry Tree Drive in St Helens, where the riot vans roamed the streets and there were plenty of distractions for a teenage kid with a set of darts and a distant dream.

“There was fighting, we had a lot of users in the street, so there were lots of drugs raids and stuff,” he remembers. “Of course I had a lot of friends that were users, friends who did stuff. But then I got into darts. So it was either stay in and practise, or go out and do stupid stuff. I left when I was 23, so I’ve not been there for nine years. It wasn’t the greatest of places, but it’s still home.”

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