Current BDO world champion Wayne Warren admits the last few months have been a nightmare rather than a dream, labelling the current situation within the organisation as a ‘calamity’.
The 57-year-old became the oldest first-time winner of the BDO World Championship in January and the oldest ever winner of a World Darts Championship with victory over his Welsh compatriot Jim Williams at the Indigo at the O2.
‘Yank’ also defeated former PDC World Championship runner-up Andy Hamilton and 2015 world champion Scott Mitchell to lift the title – becoming the fourth Welsh world champion and following in the footsteps of Leighton Rees, Richie Burnett and Mark Webster.
Nevertheless, his exploits were marred by the fact he received just £23,000 for his triumph – a staggering 77% reduction from 2019 and the lowest prize fund for a men’s world champion since 1989, when Jocky Wilson pocketed £20,000 for defeating Eric Bristow in the final.
Warren was planning to feature prominently on the exhibition circuit in 2020 to compensate for the paltry prize fund, although that prospect has been curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic. In a candid interview with Phill Barrs for Red Dragon, Warren opened up on a tough few months.
“It’s everyone’s dream to be World Champion. To have what I’ve had, it’s a nightmare not a dream,” Warren admitted. “I was hoping to get as many exhibitions in as I could and the ones I did do, I did some for charity because we had a lot of floods up this way.
“I took the cup and everyone was really loving it. The response I had was tremendous. Now everything’s cancelled and we don’t know when we’re going to start or anything. Everything’s blank to me at the moment, just hanging in there. It’s very very disappointing.”
January’s showpiece was the first BDO World Championship to be staged away from the iconic Lakeside Country Club for over 30 years, but despite the controversy that surrounded the event, the Welshman was full of praise for the new venue.
“The games I played in – it was a great atmosphere there. I liked Lakeside don’t get me wrong, I think Lakeside is an iconic venue, but to be fair this O2 was a nice venue – that’s the only thing that Des [Jacklin] did do a little bit right was get it to the O2, but what he did after that was…no go.”
Within 48 hours of his triumph, it was announced that Warren would pocket £23,000 for his exploits – less than Phil Taylor received for winning his first world title thirty years ago. The Welshman claimed that he thought his wife Nicola was joking when she broke the news.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be £100,000 but I’d heard a lot of whispers that it would be £50,000 or £60,000. When I had that email on that Tuesday night, Nicola said have you read the email and I said ‘No, what does it say?’
“When she told me I thought she was messing about at first, I just couldn’t believe it. £23,000 is a 77% deficit – it’s a hell of a cut. Me and Jim [Williams] took the brunt of it. £77,000 is life-changing to a lot of people and it would have been life-changing for me at my age.”
The much-maligned Jacklin announced his resignation as BDO chairman in March after the organisation announced a £468,000 loss during the financial year ending May 2019, yet a staggering sequence of developments saw him re-elected as chairman within the space of a few weeks.
“It’s a joke, then he resigned then he got back in again. It’s a calamity to be honest, the BDO is gone. There will be no more BDO as far as I’m concerned and even if they get in, they will just run the county side of it.
“That doesn’t interest me anymore. I’ll be with the WDF tournaments I’m going to now. We’ll just take it one step at a time. The BDO is a nil for me now,” the 57-year-old added.
Warren was listed among the entrants for PDC Qualifying School earlier this year, although he opted against competing after admitting that his head ‘wasn’t right’. Despite the fact he celebrates his 58th birthday in June, he plans to feature at Q School in 2021, if it goes ahead as scheduled.
“I think I will be yeah, I’ll be another year older. I was entered last year, but when I had that email, the pressure was going to be on me and my head wasn’t right. I’ve got the game to have a Tour Card.”
Photo Credit: PA Images