Michael Smith has vowed to ignore social media trolls and keep fighting in his pursuit of a first televised title, following his heartbreak at last weekend’s UK Open.
‘Bully Boy’ was beaten 11-10 by Danny Noppert in Sunday’s showpiece at Minehead, missing a match dart at bullseye in the penultimate leg, before ‘The Freeze’ fired in a 13-darter in the decider to scoop the £100,000 winner’s prize.
Noppert averaged a modest 84.82 to become the fourth Dutchman to lift the UK Open crown, condemning Smith to a seventh consecutive defeat in an individual televised final.
The St Helen’s star posted ton-plus averages to dispatch world No 1 Gerwyn Price and Irish teenager Keane Barry before racing into a 3-0 cushion against Noppert, but profligacy on the outer ring and inconsistency in the scoring department saw him edged out in agonising fashion.
However, Smith can take solace from leapfrogging Michael van Gerwen on the PDC Order of Merit to become the world No 4, and he issued a defiant message to his critics via social media.
“For all the trolls with the messages of abuse I’ll let you into a little secret of my life. Yes it hurts badly losing finals and still not having that major in my locker,” Smith admitted.
“Nine years ago when I met my Mrs and didn’t have a pot to p**s in and my sister had to pay for flights for me to go and see Dags [his wife] or get home because I couldn’t afford it.
“But last fast forward to me writing this message. I’m married, I have two kids and I’m living a life I didn’t think was possible all those years ago. And this isn’t a flex, this is a positive post.
“I lost the Premier League final and was overjoyed just to be there but did wonder would I ever make another final; will I ever get that chance to compete at that level?
“But time and time again I have my wobble and then straight back on the board and keep fighting the way I know how, just always remembering what and how it felt not having anything and struggling to even pay a £20 flight from Dublin.
“I’ve always gone to darts and give more than 100 per cent to get what I’m worth and not what I think I deserve. Things aren’t so easy in life if you think you deserve this and that.
“You have to fight and wait your turn in the line. One day I’ll get what I’m worth and one day this post will be irrelevant.
“But for now I keep fighting and remember trolls are trolls, not people I hold close to my chest like my family, my wife, my two amazing kids and some great friends I’ve made.
“Not just life long friends, but new friends we have met over the past 2/3 years who will also be life long friends who show their support, who share those bad times just as much as I do, but always there and that’s all that matters. So thank you and much love.”
Smith returns to action at the Brighton Centre for Night Five of the Premier League on Thursday, and he takes on his former mentor Gary Anderson in the evening’s opening quarter-final, with both men searching for their second victory of the campaign.
Image Credit: Steven Paston/PDC