While we’re inundated with a never-ending stream of Barclays throughout the festive period between Christmas and New Year, it’s matched game for game by the World Darts Championship – the finest showing of sporting and athletic excellence known to mankind.
A mythical world where middle-aged men who love pints can be considered elite sportspeople, and where the Yaya-Kolo chant still somehow exists, you cannot beat the PDC’s top offering. Your dad will argue this until he’s blue in the face.
Combining Christmas’ two greatest offerings, we’ve ranked every 2023-24 Premier League manager based on how likely they are to win the World Darts Championship.
20. Marco Silva
Never thrown a dart in his life. Never wants to throw a dart in his life. If he did throw a dart, it’d end in disaster.
Does not look like an arrows man in the slightest. Whitewashed in a round one afternoon session.
19. Andoni Iraola
He’s starting to cook after a slow start at Bournemouth, but the darts is simply a different beast.
Competing with the Premier League’s embarrassment of riches is nothing compared to competing with an Ally Pally crowd in fancy dress and a balding, lightly overweight man who’s been throwing darts since birth. No chance.
18. Mikel Arteta
Even if Arteta did fancy his chances on the grandest stage of them all, he’d get himself so worked up and crumble under the pressure as a crowd of WWE superstars, smurfs, dart boards and Ali G impersonators jeer and whistle him into oblivion.
Might fluke a dart or two in the treble 20, but would quickly lose his head and never go near the board again.
17. Pep Guardiola
Finally, a sport Guardiola can’t become a master of. Have it.
You stick to your fancy little total football and intricately crafted moves to sweep up all of football’s major honours, Pep. That’s cute.
We’ll be over here with a pint in hand watching real sporting greats get an Ally Pally crowd off their feet with nine-darters and funky shirts. Loser.
16. Mauricio Pochettino
We’re still very much in ‘does not remotely resemble a darts player’ territory if you can’t tell.
A similar story for Pochettino, who we highly doubt was brought up on clips of Phil Taylor down in Argentina. Lost cause.
15. Rob Edwards
Firstly, Edwards is way too attractive to win the World Darts Championship. Way too attractive. Unfair.
Secondly, he seems like the type of man who spends his time quietly sipping on his cider when in the pub, or simply going to the gym instead. All at sea up there.
14. Eddie Howe
Would be infuriated upon learning that Jason Tindall can’t come on stage and hand his darts to him and simply withdraw before the tournament began.
Throwback Thursday pic.twitter.com/tQShETrr1h
— Jason Tindall desperate to be centre of attention (@jasontindall_) May 11, 2023
13. Unai Emery
A bit of a dark horse, is Unai. Not immediately the most obvious shout, there is a hint of goth to the Spanish coach which suggests he might just hold his own against a washed-up youth champion from the Asian circuit.
It’s hard to see him going much further, though. Certainly potential there, but it hasn’t been allowed to flourish.
12. Gary O’Neil
Not the most obvious shout, there is a look of unseeded former World Youth Championship finalist around O’Neil.
Give him some darts and a bit of time to sharpen up, and we reckon there’s an upset in him. Constantly at Q-School, though. Hasn’t seen a tour card in years.
11. Erik ten Hag
The Dutch are very handy when it comes to arrows, thus we can see a world where Ten Hag eases his way through the first few rounds of the Worlds without creating too much fuss.
Probably seen wearing an awful orange shirt, though, which fits way too oversized and is inevitably whitewashed in his first encounter with a seeded player.
Thanks for coming. Back to the European circuit. The crowd never fully warmed to him anyway.
10. Nuno Espirito Santo
Drafted back in at the last minute before the tournament kicks off, Santo’s background as a goalkeeper might make him somewhat of a dark horse.
There are parallels there when it comes to hand-eye coordination and he’s bound to have a screw loose. Doesn’t look like much of a player, though.
Round three and out.
9. Vincent Kompany
Nobody expected Kompany to bring total football to Turf Moor when Burnley went back down to the Championship, thus don’t be surprised if he showed up at the Worlds and ran deep for a rookie.
Comes onto the stage wearing his signature cap before throwing it off into a frenzied Ally Pally crowd. Gets them on his side early doors. Handy on the double 16, but avoids tops like the plague.
8. Roy Hodgson
The old boy. The general. He’s seen it all before, has Roy. Blagged enough £20 notes out of strangers in the local over a game of killer.
Parks his Jag right outside the front entrance of Ally Pally for all to see. The King is back.
He should be playing with the seniors and it ultimately proves his undoing, but not before making light work of a few dossers from the depths of the sport from around the world. Firm fan favourite.
7. Roberto De Zerbi
In the school of goth, there’s something about those wet-look spikes and that goatee that just makes us believe that De Zerbi has got the minerals for a run at the PDC’s pinnacle.
Think about it. A full ‘prince of darkness’ gimmick complete with the walk-on music and black sequin shirt. Works, doesn’t it? Loves a fist bump when he takes out a big finish, too. That’s a man destined for a cult-hero trip to the last eight.
6. Ange Postecoglou
An incredibly well-traveled man, the zero-to-hero story arc for Postecoglou is proper World Darts Championship material.
The big Aussie bossing it on the Asian circuit before heading to Europe and working his way up. Loves a big finish and loves the crowd even more. Brilliant post-game interviews. If he turned up in a clash against a seeded PDC regular, you wouldn’t bat an eyelid.
Get Ange in the tournament ASAP.
5. David Moyes
He should be joining Hodgson in the seniors, but Moyes is simply still too good for the drop. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.
The James Wade of football, it’s not always pretty and he’s far from the most liked, but he gets a job done and the crowd can’t help but rally behind him in the end.
Moyesy’s way or the highway. Would sneak his way to a semi-final without question.
4. Thomas Frank
Another one in the school of goth, everything about Frank screams arrows. Danish youth champion, the lot.
Exceptional walk-on music, a big daft Danish-flag-inspired shirt which wouldn’t look out of place at a festival, and a fist pump so strong after every checkout that it could put life on Mars.
Frank is made for the stage. Get him up there and watch him cut his way to the latter stages.
3. Jurgen Klopp
The screaming, the shouting, playing up to the crowd, the German coursing through his veins, Klopp is a PDC superstar but simply doesn’t know it yet.
His signature ‘Yes!’ fist pumps after every win – hell, even before a game – is enough to have us fully convinced that he could find himself in a Worlds final.
There is no way that this man cannot find tops under pressure. It’s in his blood.
Jurgen Klopp fist pump in front of The Kop ✅ pic.twitter.com/1YvbBMyV9x
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 19, 2022
2. Chris Wilder
Back in the dance with the Blades, Wilder never fell off – he simply spent the years between his two stints as Sheffield United boss working tirelessly on his doubles.
A man who’s been around since the pre-PDC days, you can envisage a Van Barneveld-style revival, minus the endless hair transplants.
Wilder has plenty in the tank to become a world champion. Would bring a pint on stage if he could, but he can’t, so nails a few beforehand. Possibly his undoing.
1. Sean Dyche
Come on. Who else?
‘Dychey’ across the back of the shirt, it’s a nickname destined for the very top of the mountain. That man would become Ally Pally royalty. Shows the Everton lads videos of Phil Taylor holding double 16 hostage as inspiration, we reckon.
We’ve never been more sure of something ever. He’s a World Darts Champion in the making – he just doesn’t know it yet.