Stars pay tribute to Sid
Sports stars pay tributes to late darts commentator Waddell
Last Updated: 22/08/12 6:19pm
The likes of Andrew Flintoff and Eric Bristow were among the sports stars who paid tribute to 'voice of darts' Sid Waddell at the popular commentator's funeral in Leeds.
Flintoff and Bristow arrived together at the service in Pudsey, West Yorkshire, followed into the Parish Church by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling and the chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation, Barry Hearn.
Football commentator John Helm said as he arrived: "If we'd had an Olympic Games for commentators he would have won the gold medal so many times.
"He was top of the tree. We are here to pay tribute to a colossus of his trade. Every time I was with Sid he always made me laugh. He was a man with so much eloquence he could stop the world with his commentaries."
Waddell died earlier this month at the age of 72, following a battle against bowel cancer.
He was one of the most recognisable figures in the sport, famed for his unique one-liners delivered in his trademark North East accent.
Sky Sports coverage
Northumberland-born and a Cambridge graduate, Waddell was a central part of Sky Sports' coverage of PDC darts events since 1994.
He was known for his colourful and excitable commentary style, with his best-known lines including "There's only one word for it - 'magic darts'."
He also noted, while watching Bristow become world champion: "When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer ... Bristow's only 27."
The church was packed for the hour-long service which featured tributes from Hearn, Sky Sports commentator Dave Lanning and Waddell's son Dan.
There was no coffin brought in as Waddell was cremated at a private service earlier.
In his eulogy, Hearn talked about the commentator's "frenetic, Geordie frenzy" style.
He said: "We wouldn't be where we are today without his service to the sport. Painting those pictures, those Picassos, Sid took a pub game and made it a global phenomenon."
Hearn told the congregation how a new trophy named after Waddell would be presented at the PDC World Championships.
In his tribute, Dan Waddell said: "To me he was more like a mate. We could speak about sport. We could speak about books. We could speak about anything.
"I'll miss those chats. I'll miss my mate."
Outside there were more tributes to Waddell.
Flintoff described the fun he had joining his friend in the TV commentary box.
He said: "At home we'd spend hours watching him entertaining us on TV as well. He was a great man and it was a fitting tribute today when the theme of the service was all about his character and how much fun he was. He was just great to be around.
"There's not too many people who can make people smile instantly and spread happiness almost. He'll be sadly missed."
Keith Deller, who won the World Championship in 1983, said Waddell projected darts worldwide as a sport in the 1980s when many commentators wrote it off as a game for fat beer drinkers.
"He was a very intelligent man," Deller said. "I think he was a lot more intelligent than the people who were writing against us. He really did give us a lot of credibility.
"He had so much enthusiasm for every game."