Having just missed out on the summit of World Darts in January, Michael Smith will be the first to tell you that the sport is constantly teaching you lessons.
One of those moments came in his Week Two meeting with Peter Wright in the Premier League after a rowdy group of lads began heckled Smith in Glasgow in a bid to put him off his attempt to beat the home favourite.
Leading 5-2 at the time, the World Championship finalist openly admits they succeed in getting to him. However, Smith is now determined to turn that negative into a positive for his game and feels he’s better set to deal with that kind of issue should it happen again.
Seen a few things about my interview. Yes I should handle it better but I don’t come to your office and abuse u while your trying to provided for your family. Yes it’s entertainment but u got to remember this is my job not a laugh I’m old enough and dumb enough to deal with it
— Michael Smith (@BullyBoy180) February 14, 2019
“I kind of worded what I put on Twitter wrong about the crowd in Glasgow last week, it was just a small group of lads by the stage that annoyed me so bad,” said Smith.
“They were calling me names that you wouldn’t imagine saying to anyone else and that just got to me. Obviously, the rest of the crowd starting booing then, which they’re entitled to do.
I just don’t like it because I don’t think it should be part of the game.
“I had a double eight to make it 6-2, that’s when that’s when those lads started and the noise just went all the way to the back of the arena. Hopefully tonight, we won’t get that.
“That was the first time I’ve ever been booed, but I know what to expect now. I don’t believe anyone likes it, but it’s a new learning experience for me to put right this week. Today will be different though, and I’ll know what to expect if I do get booed. I’m learning every day, I don’t think you ever stop.”
After making the final of the Premier League last season, Smith has struggled to get out of the blocks in 2019’s version of the event.
Bullyboy pushed his World final conqueror Michael van Gerwan all the way on opening night – going down 7-5 in a tight affair. The controversial draw with Wright followed that, so he’s hoping to secure his first victory in Dublin later this evening.
“I’ve had a pretty slow start, I could have nicked a point off Michael van Gerwan. I lost a point last week in Glasgow, so I’ve got to take the points this week and start racking them up to get near the top of the table.
“But, I know my game is good enough to beat anyone’s if I turn up.”
Smith is likely to face another partisan crowd in Dublin tonight as he takes on Daryl Gurney of Northern Ireland. The two are quite good pals away from the oche, but Smith is keen to stress that friendship goes out the window once the match starts.
“Daryl’s always a challenge and he’s a good friend of mine as well,” said the runner-up at the World Championship.
He’s won two major titles in the PDC and I haven’t got one yet, so I need to get my head down to work on that.
“I can’t hold a grudge against anyone really though, I believe I’ve got 127 friends in the PDC. It’s just a matter of putting it to one side, remembering why I playing darts and what I’m doing it for.
“Friendship goes out of the window as soon as the referee says ‘game on’. I’m always confident though, I don’t like to turn up to matches thinking a draw will do.
“I’m here to win and I’ll be trying to win 7-0! I don’t like to lose games, I don’t even like to lose legs in truth.”