"We had loads of threats, they were terrible" - Dennis Priestley recalls difficulties of PDC's early days ahead of World Darts Championships 30th anniversary

This year's PDC World Darts Championship marks the 30th anniversary of what has become the most prestigious tournament on the darting calendar. The inaugural winner, back in 1994, was Dennis Priestley.

Priestley had already claimed a Lakeside world title in 1991, defeating Eric Bristow by six sets to one in the final. In the years following however, tensions grew between the top players and the British Darts Organisation, climaxing in the forming of the WDC, which has since become the PDC. Priestley was there through it all and has recently reflected on the infamous split in conversation with Dan Dawson on The Darts Show Podcast.

"It was a very difficult time for all the players that stuck it out. We were threatened with losing our house and we were talking about signing the house over to somebody else in the family so they couldn't take it off us," the now 73-year-old recalls. "I suppose that's what broke Mike Gregory (one of two players to have a change of heart and return to the BDO). We had loads of threats, they were terrible."

"The reason we decided to split, and we were unanimous the top players, is because we lost all TV. If you look back, nearly all the tournaments stopped in 88. We lost probably 10 tournaments and were only playing the Embassy and the Winmau," he explains.

"When we broke away, I was number one in the world. I wasn't a name like Eric (Bristow), Jocky (Wilson) and John (Lowe) but I wanted to cement myself," says Priestley.

Following the forming of the PDC, Priestley's rivalry with Phil Taylor became stuff of darting legend. Off the oche though, the pair were great friends. "We tried to do our best to earn as much as we could while getting things off the ground," he says. "It was a big gamble. We trusted the people that was advising us and they were first to see the decline in sales etc so they knew were something was wrong with the game. Fortunately it all paid off."

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