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Ranked number one in the world, Michael Smith’s ultimate darts playing dream came true after years of hard graft, grit and grassroots support. Smith made global headlines when he captured the world title, highlighted by his nine-darter in the 2023 World Championship final.
Joining the PDC in his teens, the English player quickly became a young gun to watch – achieving World Youth champion status in 2013. The winner of 16 PDC ranking events, Smith has also held two World Series titles, including the 2022 US Darts Masters, and the 2023 PDC World Darts Championship where he beat Michael van Gerwen with a textbook nine-darter triumph. ‘Bully Boy’ completed the perfect leg, sending Alexandra Palace fans, Sky Sports commentators, and millions of viewers around the world into a frenzy.
But between those milestones, lie years of hard work, sacrifice and setbacks to get to where he is today.
It takes a village to raise a world champion player.
That village is the town of St Helens, between Liverpool and Manchester. Growing up in a close knit working-class family, darts is in Michael’s blood. Both parents played – his mother Sandra throwing when pregnant with their son. And the family saga continues, with Michael playing to win, as much for his wife and kids as himself. Life away from the dart scene for Michael is tranquil one. Residing on a farm in Cheshire with wife Dagmara and sons Michael Junior and Kaspar, the Smith family enjoy the peaceful lifestyle of tending to their land and animals, including their six dogs.
The champion has always had a tribe in his corner: from the mum who played darts while pregnant with him, to the pub regulars where he still plays when on home turf. Shot chose Michael Smith, because we see in him the value we hold dear – that family is everything, grit and tenacity always pay off, and there’s no substitute for experience.
Persistence pays off: local hero to world darts champion.
This hometown hero has always been driven to take on the world. While other neighbourhood kids were out partying and getting in trouble, he was practicing. Darts has always been his focus, salvation and tribe. Still captain of his local league team: this is a man who’s always looking forward, but will never forget his roots.