Taylor: Barry Hearn talked me out of retirement!

Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor has sensationally revealed that he had planned to retire from professional darts two years ago, only for PDC Chairman Barry Hearn to talk him round. Taylor will officially retire from competitive action after the 2018 World Championship, but in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, he admitted that he intended to call it quits sooner.

The 16-time world champion faces world number one Michael van Gerwen in Sheffield on Thursday night, knowing that defeat could prove catastrophic for his hopes of reaching the play-offs at the O2 Arena later this month.

This could potentially be the last competitive meeting between the pair and it will have plenty of spice, particularly given comments made by Van Gerwen earlier this year, where he claimed: “I think he’s [Taylor] getting a little bit old and his focus to win 100 per cent has gone – it’s time for him to retire. He should have done it two years ago.”

Despite ‘Mighty Mike’ insisting that Taylor is past his best, the Stoke-on-Trent star has enjoyed the better of their recent head-to-heads. Although MvG triumphed on home soil in Rotterdam earlier in the Premier League season, Taylor had won their previous three televised clashes- including September’s inaugural Champions League of Darts Final.

As a consequence, ‘The Power’ insists that he is unperturbed by MvG’s claims. “If that’s his opinion, then that’s his opinion. Everyone has an opinion and that’s his opinion – I don’t really care what people think. Maybe I should have retired two years ago and my plan was to retire two years ago but it was Barry [Hearn] who talked me out of it.

“Life’s too short to worry about other people. I’ve got the rest of my life to think about. What people think about me and whatever they say, I don’t really care to be honest with you and I’ve had a lot of things said about me over the years.

“But does it make any difference? Not really. They don’t pay my gas or electric bills. I’ve had a good living out of it and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and that’s all that matters,” Taylor added.

However, in more pressing matters, the six-time Premier League champion faces a real battle to qualify for this season’s play-offs. He currently occupies fourth spot; sitting just one point above five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld.

After taking on Van Gerwen in a repeat of last year’s Premier League final, the 56-year-old then faces his protégé Adrian Lewis in the final set of league fixtures in Aberdeen. Defeat in either game could see Taylor miss out on a play-off spot for just the second time in the 13-year history of this competition, therefore the stakes could not be higher.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

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