A Retrospective Review
The Unicorn Darts Yearbook 1978 appeared at a time when darts in the UK was approaching its zenith. Over the next five years more darts-related books would be published than in the previous fifty years put together. Now, twenty-five years old Kevin Berlyn has gained permission from Unicorn to make the Unicorn Darts Yearbook 1978 available to all on-line.
Whilst a good number of those works have failed to stand the test of time, even today the Unicorn Darts Yearbook 1978 retains its value as a complete guide to the facts and figures and the winners and the runners up in all major competitions of 1977. In addition its substantial range of biographical material is of immense use to those interested in the characters and superstars of the day. The information and statistics are supplemented by some interesting articles including ones on John Lowe, Eric Bristow, Maureen Flowers and ‘Big Cliff’, to name but a few.
The snapshot of ‘Darts Around the World’ informs the reader that the Netherlands was flourishing in 1977 with ‘1,500 active players competing in three leagues – with a combined total of ten divisions’. If it was flourishing then, what world would they use to describe it now? On the lighter side, ‘T.S.’ who reviewed the book in Darts World in July 1978, pointed out that, on page 33, beneath the photograph of John Thomas ‘Jocky’ Wilson is the legend ‘Above: Scottish star Eric Maclean’.
Despite an appeal by the editor of the book, Roger St. Pierre, to dart-players to send in information to ensure ‘an even better and more comprehensive’ yearbook in 1979, there never was another Unicorn Yearbook. This was so often to be the case with this concept. Markus Robinson’s Double Diamond Darts Annual 1984/85 effectively served the same function for the 1983/84 darting year with no more to follow. When John Morris edited the News of the World Darts Annual 1988/89 he announced that it was ‘a bumper 128-page launch issue of an annual we hope will find a regular place on every darts fan’s bookshelf. It found a place on mine, but there was to be no more annuals to fit in that space beside it.
© 2007 Patrick Chaplin