Patrick Chaplin: Dart Player Profiles

Tea and biscuits with Andy “The Viking” Fordham

Andy Fordham and Nicky Clarke swap hair care tips!!
Tea and biscuits with Andy “The Viking” Fordham

It’s been 4 years since Andy Fordham reached the highlight of his professional career by winning the 2004 Lakeside World Championship, but during the 4 years since, Andy has been to hell and back and still faces the toughest examination of his life so far.

You have to look twice at Andy to recognise him these days - he’s lost so much weight, but his trademark flowing mane still remains and his gentle kind eyes still sparkle.

Having faced up to his alcohol problem he’s moved into a new pub with wife Jenny , where Andy says that being able to be around the pub everyday reinforces his will power to give up drink forever.

As a result of his liver failure, Andy takes a cocktail of tablets on a daily basis and eats high protein meals 8 times a day to avoid his body attacking his own muscles. However, he’s upbeat about this, as he is everything he faces, and Andy said that this is the best he’s felt since the Lakeside 3 years ago.

He’s getting back on the dartboard again, where he had a 100, 140 and double 16 out in one leg, to which you could sense his real joy. However, the dart sessions are really tough, as Andy’s reduction of throwing muscle makes it very tiring. My talk of a comeback to tournament darts feels selfish as I want to see him up on the oche larger than life like most people, but you can sense his reserve at talking about a big comeback.

I asked him about his fans and the people closest to him and he struggles to express just how touched he is by their genuine support and forgiveness in what he accepts plainly is his own doing. He has had adverse comments about his eligibility for a transplant, but Andy says that he can understand their point of view, and in no way holds a grudge. Andy’s health is much better than it was 3 years ago, his superb sense of humour is back on top form, and he’s positive about the transplant operation that he may have to face.

With the prospect of a transplant operation, it’s not hard to see why tournament dart comebacks are not high on his list of priorities, but darts is still Andy’s life and he lives and breathes it everyday, keeping in touch with player gossip and attending all the events that he can.

At a recent trip to the League of Legends at the Circus Tavern, Andy was blown away by just how nostalgic the whole night was. He can’t hide his excitement when talking about seeing an older crowd who clapped at the right time and created a superb atmosphere, and he said for the first time in 3 years he really wanted to get back up on stage and play.

Whether we’ll see Andy back on the World Darts stage remains to be seen, but at present he’s fighting everyday and moving one step at a time. With an autobiography planned next year and a potential TV documentary, you get the sense that the big man has turned the corner and really does have genuine belief for his life ahead with Jenny.

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© Patrick Chaplin 2007

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