Should Barney be in the 2019 Premier League?
It’s a big time of the year in darts!
No, not the World Championships. It’s when we start talking about who should be in the next Premier League.
And who should?
Well please bear with me while I remind you of the obvious, but the PL is made up of the top four in the OOM and six additional wild card choices about whom Sky Sports and Unibet have some say.
So after the World No 4 we are into the realms of choosing whichever player is likely to boost audience ratings.
In most cases this will mean most of the rest of the Top Ten and this seems to make sense as higher ranking players are better players, therefore better box office draws. So it is likely to be 8 or 9 of the leading players by default. I won’t waste good pixels making a list.
But then we come to a quandary. RVB.
May I state firstly that IMHO a ranking as low as 17 cannot really justify a PL pick, much as I do want them to invite him. There are limits.
One point is, if we want to see quality darts then consider that any player in the Top 100 is capable of 90+ averages, so if they invite Barney it hardly means we are going to see a sub-standard competition, he is still a brilliant player.
Another consideration is that Sky and the sponsors are arguably primarily in this business to make money, so they are going to choose whoever they believe will bring in more sponsors and get more people watching. If RVB is still seen as a major box office draw then of course they will pick him and probably won’t owe us any apology if they do. Let’s face it, Sky and Unibet pump a lot of cash into making this sport the spectacle it is, they have every right to invite whoever they want.
By the same token, you just can’t keep everybody happy. Those who don’t want Raymond probably want Wade. Or do they still after last night? Those who don’t want Wade probably want Webster, or Cullen, maybe Whitlock, all by now out of the Words. Ian White, or Anastassiya? OK, that would be a stretch. A cool idea, but not going to happen.
It is all about opinions, part of the fun of a sport with very few components in terms of its actual play. No, I would not pick van Barneveld after his poor 2018 but if they do, it is for a reason and as they prove year in year out, they know how to run this sport. Let’s just trust them.
Well, for the other players who are in with a shout, or hoping they are, at the time of writing this, most of them are still in the World Championship draw. Instead of saying this or that, please pick me, Sir, please pick me, Sir, they have this current big-money tournament to earn their place in the PL, putting it beyond debate.
And finally, if they do choose RVB, please let’s respect that.