Phil Taylor: 'I owed everything' to Eric Bristow
"I would ring him up and say I'd made the semi-final or lost the final and he'd shout 'Only ring me when you've won' and slam the phone down"
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 07/04/18 2:11pm
"Eric was like a brother to me - I loved him. Quite simply I owe him everything," Grief-stricken Phil Taylor has spoken for the first time since the death of his mentor Eric Bristow.
Bristow suffered a heart attack after attending a corporate event ahead of Thursday's Premier League fixture at the Echo Arena, Liverpool. He was aged 60.
The 16-time world champion Taylor enjoyed arguably a closer relationship than any player with the man known as the 'Crafty Cockney', who spotted him playing county darts for Staffordshire and invited him for practice. Bristow also sponsored Taylor £9,000 to kick-start his career.
Now Taylor has broken his silence and spoken of the influence five-time world champion Bristow had on his phenomenal career.
"Eric was like a brother to me - I loved him. Quite simply I owe him everything," Taylor told the official PDC website. "I wouldn't have achieved what I did without him being a mentor and sponsoring me in the early days. I couldn't afford to go to Rhyl let alone Canada or Las Vegas to play darts!
"Probably his biggest influence on me was the winning mentality. Like my mum and dad, he was very strict with me, he didn't want to talk to me unless I'd won an event.
"I would ring him up and say I'd made the semi-final or lost the final and he'd shout at me 'Only ring me when you've won' and slam the phone down.
"But that gave me the drive and hunger to succeed and I needed that at the time.
"That mentality is his legacy, he started it, made me like it and now the standard will continue to go up because of him."
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Taylor famously claimed a huge victory over Bristow in the 1990 World Championship final as he announced his own arrival on the sport's biggest stage.
To be honest, it hasn't really sunk in that he's gone. I'm still in a bit of shock. I will miss him so much.
Taylor on Bristow
"He was the first superstar of darts, he started the success it is today," said Taylor, who retired at the start of 2018. "There were other big names of the time like Alan Evans, Leighton Rees, Jocky Wilson and John Lowe, but Eric put darts on the back pages of every tabloid newspaper.
"Everybody knew who Eric was and they still do, the biggest name in the sport. Even when I go about my normal life, I still hear Eric telling me stuff in my head, that will never change.
"To be honest, it hasn't really sunk in that he's gone. I'm still in a bit of shock. I will miss him so much."
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