Updated: Friday, 31st October 2014 @ 7:13pm

Legendary Manchester commentator John Gwynne to hang up darts microphone after 20 years

Legendary Manchester commentator John Gwynne to hang up darts microphone after 20 years

By Matt Simpson

Following 20 years of commentating, the inimitable John Gwynne has decided to hang up his darts microphone after the World Matchplay tournament in July.

Gwynne, alongside colleagues Dave Lanning and the late Sid Waddell, has been at the forefront of the sport’s meteoric rise over the last two decades.

But, the 67-year-old has decided it is time to call it a day after seeing his time in the commentary box for major competitions reduced.

“There is darts on Sky Sports now – the World Cup of Darts in Hamburg – and I’ve not been asked to go and work on it,” he said.

“I was only given the first four days of the World Grand Prix and it was the first time in 19 years I’ve not been involved in the final stages of a major competition.

“I just became demoralised and thought that it was probably time for me to go.”

Gwynne is the last remaining member of Sky Sports’ ‘old brigade’, following Lanning’s retirement in 2010 and the sad death of Waddell last August.

The decision to hand over the reins to Rod Studd and Wayne Mardle came as a surprise to the veteran commentator, prompting him to end his ‘arrows’ affiliation.

“It is the producers’ decision to place them ahead of me in the commentary stakes,” he explained. “I don’t want to carry on working with a chip on my shoulder.

“It is not a day I look forward to, but I think realistically it has to come.”

Despite being recently overlooked, the former Manchester school teacher said he thoroughly enjoyed his time being involved in the sport and watching it explode onto the world scene.

“It has been a wonderful ride and I have been part of a fantastic project,” he said. “Darts is one of Sky Sports’ major successes.

“It is the most watched sport after Premier League football and it leaves rugby league, cricket and other sports in its wake.

“To have been a part of that, and maybe even in some small way a reason for it, fills me with great pride.”

And Gwynne – proud father of Reddish and Denton MP Andrew Gwynne – always looks back fondly on what he described as the ‘greatest darts match ever seen on television’.

It was the 2007 World Championship final when Raymond van Barneveld – fresh from switching from the PDC to  the BDO – took on Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor.

Van Barneveld came from three sets down to pip Taylor in a sudden death play-off and the commentator was delighted to have the final say.

“The sudden death was amazing and Sid Waddell was magnanimous enough to hand the final line to me,” he added.

“It was the greatest game on television and I had the final say.”

Gwynne will leave the darts commentary box for the last time in July, safe in the knowledge he has left a lasting impression on the sport.

Picture courtesy of officialpdc, via YouTube, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.