Darts legend Kim Brown (b. 30th December 1930) (pictured) died of cancer in the early hours of 29th December 2012 at his home in Knowle, near Bristol surrounded by his family. He was 81.
Known as ‘The Fox’ because of his canny and crafty darts play and the thinking way in which he approached tournaments, Kim first played darts as a young man when his father took him along to the pub. He earned his reputation by being practically unbeatable. His friend Gary Pinker, who knew Kim for many years and who runs the League of Experts in Bristol, told the Western Daily Press recently, “Kim certainly hated losing any game of darts but then again he didn’t lose many.”
Tom White, a friend of Kim’s who played in the same team as him in the 1980s told the Press “At the time there was no bigger name in Bristol when it came to darts than Kim Brown. If he was playing the pub would be full by 7.30 p.m. and they didn’t start playing until 8.30 p.m.!”
What little I knew personally about Kim up until about 2009 was recorded by Derek Brown in his book Darts 78 (London: Mirror Books, 1977). Derek wrote, “Kim is a fencing contractor living at Knowle, Bristol. Is the father of seven boys and two girls but still finds plenty of time for darts. Plays for the West of England…Won the Swedish Open in 73 and was runner-up in 74. Has also visited the US and Europe darting.’
Then in 2009 I became custodian of the early Darts World photo library and when sorting through the hundreds of images came across the photo of Kim Brown (shown left). On the reverse of that photograph was typed the legend, ‘Kim Brown – Unofficial Champion of the World 1974’. Darts entrepreneur Dr. Eddie Norman, who knew Kim very well, explained that, “Before the BDO had its own rankings we [the West of England Darts Organisation] had our own ‘world’ rankings and in September 1974 Kim was No. 1. closely followed by Tommy O’Reagan (2) and Leighton Rees (3) so I think that must be the answer.”
Eddie added, “Kim was a brilliant player (almost the Phil Taylor of his day) who more often than not went on first for the West of England County side, and he very rarely lost.”
When I was lucky enough to interview Kim in 2010 he told me that Gary Pinker (mentioned above) was ‘the man who put me in darts’ and that Eddie was to be thanked ‘for what he had done for me.’ Kim was also very proud of the fact that he won the Western Counties News of the World Individual Darts Championship Divisional title in 1977. He went to the Grand Finals at Alexandra Palace on 30th April 1977 but lost in the first round 2-1 to the eventual champion, the London and Home Counties Divisional Champion, Kent’s Mick Norris. Kim told me proudly, “I was the only player to take a leg off Mick Norris that day.”
Kim also put his high success rate in darts down to his name; the fact that his prowess on the dartboard strode before him wherever he went. He was renowned for his darting skills and competitors were already at a disadvantage before Kim had thrown a dart. He told me, “Your name is as good as a ton.”
And so it was the Kim wrote himself into the history of darts not only in his home town of Bristol but across the world. RIP Kim.
Text © 2013 and 2019 Patrick Chaplin
Images © PC/DW Archive. Original copyright holders unknown.
Additional source material: Western Daily Press 10th January 2013, page 30.
(My thanks to Mat Coward and Eddie Norman for their help in compiling this obituary.)
Note: This obituary was first published in my Dr. Darts’ Newsletter (DDN), #35, March 2013.
UPDATE AND CORRECTION
In October 2021 ‘Gareth’ wrote
“As a suggestion — why not add a picture of the ‘Kim Brown’ signature darts made by Paxman from circa 1976? They were frequently advertised in Darts World alongside the ‘Peter Lally’ another West of England player of the time.”
[I am still trying to find a decent image of Kim’s darts but watch this space.]
“Re Kim Brown more often than not went on first for the WoE? This is surely wrong as in the BDO inter-counties league, the order of play was determined by drawing each name of the teams players out of a hat at random. There was no strategic choices a la cricket.”
I asked Dr. Eddie Norman, who I consulted on the original article about Kim and it did seem that I misunderstood what he told me. He told me recently:
I was founder and county secretary of West of England before and up to the inaugural BDO season 1973/74. In this period there was a draw for the play, the team manager or captain of the away side pulled out the names of the home side and the home team manager or captain pulled out the away names. This was usually done on stage.
When we played London, Olly Croft always insisted on pulling out the West of England names
If you have a look in Darts Word match reports of the inaugural season of BDO darts when I was county secretary you will see Kim Brown was pulled out as first player followed by Peter Lally, it was the luck of the draw , as drawn by the away side.
When we played friendlies. there was no draw and Kim Brown was put on first.
By further coincidence Leighton Rees was nearly always pulled out in the last two
(c) 2022 Patrick Chaplin