Van Barneveld on legendary Master of Ceremonies Fitzmaurice: "He will always be the voice of darts"
In 2013, Master of Ceremonies Martin Fitzmaurice was forced to retire after a racist joke during the break of the BDO British Internationals cost him his job. Raymond van Barneveld recalls the legendary figure who became forever known for his slogan: "Are you ready?! Ladies and gentlemen, let's play darts!"
Fitzmaurice was active as master of ceremonies at the BDO World Cup at Lakeside Country Club between 1986 and 2013. "If Fitzmaurice was on stage and someone fell in the hall, he would start handing out points like a sort of judge: six point eight, eight point two," Van Barneveld said.
Van Barneveld also experienced the negative aspects of his character, especially when he got older. "He became bitter and that went from bad to worse. In the beginning he liked the emergence of the Dutch, but afterwards he thought: wait a minute, our game is being taken away from us here. They are still proud Englishmen.
Yet respect prevails with 'Barney'. "Fitzmaurice was not my best friend, but to me he will always be the 'voice of darts'. He helped make sure everyone was glued to the TV in the nineties."
Van Barneveld concludes with a remarkable anecdote about the man who went through life with the nickname 'The Fatman'.
"I was with the Dutch team to the Chinese restaurant. There were three of us, so you can imagine the whole table was full of food. Suddenly Fitzmaurice comes in. He was a real hero to us at the time, we only saw him on TV. He greeted us and looked at the table full of food. His mouth was watering right away. So I asked him if he wanted to taste something, but he didn't. Then the waiter came and asked if he wanted to. Then the waiter comes and asks Fitzmaurice what he wants to order. Then Fitzmaurice said he wanted exactly what we had on our table. So he ordered for three people. And he ate it up, didn't he!