“I know what I can do, it’s about knuckling down and doing it. I don’t want to be a Wigan and winning one FA Cup and getting relegated”

ROSS SMITH admits he is still inspired by darts legend Andy Fordham.


The Team Unicorn star & Dover thrower was a shock winner of the European Championship last year.


Now he wants to add another major with the World Matchplay as he takes on Dimitri Van den Bergh at the Winter Gardens tonight.


But Smithy, 34, revealed that the late Fordham got him on the road to glory.

He said: “Andy just encouraged me to play the game.


He didn’t treat the game as a job, he just loved it. He always felt it was a fantastic opportunity to have this as a job.


“I’ve learnt to not take every defeat as a punch in the stomach. I still don’t like losing in the slightest. I hate it. But I’ve learnt not to beat myself up.


“I think that’s one thing that Andy installed in me, I don’t take the game for granted.


“I’m very grateful for it. I’ve come from the pub playing darts. I now pinch myself on how I’m earning a living playing this game, it’s insane, I’m so lucky.


“I’ve driven lorries and everything. Jesus Christ, this is like a dream for me. This has now turned into a sport, the PDC have done that.


“I’ve played the Matchplay two years ago. I love the Winter Gardens, I remember that tournament more than any other because it’s been there for so long.


“I remember watching it as a kid at home with my mum and dad with Phil (Taylor) winning as I was watching it and practising in the dining room.


“It’s quite a special thing for me and my parents are coming with me for the first time this year.”


Smith also believes that Billy Ocean has helped his career take off!


He added: “It will be a good match with Dimitri. He’s playing well and a great player but I also know I’m playing well. I’ve got to turn up and bring my A game. “Billy Ocean has definitely helped me with my walk-on. It just came out of nowhere to be fair.


“I remember being in a soul bar and hearing Red Light Spells Danger, everyone got up dancing and loving life. I love it, it gives me a bit of a buzz and the fans always love it.


“I dropped Tubthumping ‘I get knocked down but I get up again’ for it and it has worked so far for me!”


Smith admits that it has been tough since winning the European Championship but believes his luck will change.


He added: “I’ve just got on with it since the Euros. I’ve had a tough time personally off the oche, that hasn’t helped, it’s been a bit of a distraction.


“I think I’ve been playing well considering. Once that is all sorted I can kick on with my career.


“I feel like there’s been a bit of expectation on me. I think I put that more on myself.


“That’s because I know I’ve won a tournament now and there’s nothing stopping me doing it again.


“I’m also realistic and I know that comes with hard work. I don’t want to be the person who wins one title after one good weekend.


“I know what I can do, it’s about knuckling down and doing it. I don’t want to be a Wigan and winning one FA Cup and getting relegated.


“I actually feel like I’m playing really well. I’m just not getting the rub of the green. I think my averages show that. I lost the recent ProTour in the first round with a 99 average then the next day in the first round with a 95 or 96. Before that it was a first round defeat with a 102 average.


“I know if I keep playing like I am I know it will get better, sometimes you just need a slice of luck.”


Story by Phil Lanning


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