Recently crowned Grand Prix champion Jonny Clayton voices his frustrations at fans who boo Gerwyn Price, and outlines his ambitions after picking up his first televised ranking title in the PDC. Listen to the full interview on The Darts Show Podcast.
Last Updated: 13/10/21 1:27pm
Jonny Clayton has come out in support of his countryman and World Cup partner Gerwyn Price, in the aftermath of his Grand Prix final victory over the Iceman.
For long periods during the tournament, the world champion was subjected to boos from sectors of the crowd, but the Ferret said such treatment is ‘dead out of order’.
“It’s not nice for anybody,” he said on The Darts Show Podcast.
“They seem to pick more on Gezzy. I don’t understand why people want to pay good money to watch a game of darts and try to put somebody off. Me personally, I’d want to pay good money and want to see the best of their ability. By booing somebody, I don’t think that happens.
“I think the crowd are dead out of order. It is what it is, and I don’t think we’d be able to stop it.”
But he was quick to stress how the positive atmosphere in the final enabled a high-quality game of darts.
“It felt amazing. The crowd let us play, there was no bad feeling from the crowd,” Clayton said.
“We all know that Gezzy gets booed a lot. It was a fantastic final. It was great to be a part of it. And it was good banter up on that stage. With the crowd behind both of us, it just made it extra special. To beat my fellow Welshman and the world number one, it was the icing on the cake.”
Lloyd: It has crossed a line
Former world number one Colin Lloyd was in agreement, stating that the booing of Price needs to stop.
“It has [crossed a line]. It needs to stop,” he said.
“Gezzy Price goes up there, he’s doing his job. He’s the world champion and the world number one. Show him a bit of respect. I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of chatting with Gezzy. And I’ve seen people come up to him in the hotel foyer. They stand there waiting patiently, ‘Can I have a photo?’ ‘Yeah, of course you can’. He has a big smile on his face, shakes your hand, has a photo, he’s got all the time in the world for everyone.
“But some of these fans, they’ve got to realise, it’s your job. He’s going to work. He needs to do what’s beneficial for himself when he’s up there. It’s a very selfish, lonely sport as an individual.
“There’s no need to abuse him. He’s actually a really nice fellow. It just so happens that he’s a good darts player. He’s one of the greats.
“Look what he’s done over the past two to three years. The transition he has made from running around on a rugby field with a team, where he’s got the support of his team-mates. He’s doing something now where he’s an individual and he’s done the right things. He’s got a very selfish attitude. That doesn’t make him a bad person. He’s not a bad person. He’s just a lovely fella. But he’s going to work.
“Not everyone goes to work with a smile on their face. It’s called life.
“But for me, I think personally that the PDC should address this. That’s what we have a referee for. A referee should [step in] a little bit more. Sometimes it can make the situation worse, so the referee has to read the situation as well. Pull the crowd into order.
“Me as a former top darts player, I would say to the crowd ‘give a little bit of respect, even if you don’t like a fella. Have you actually met him? Have you had a conversation with him? Because that would really change your mind.’
“Show the guy some respect. He’s been a great champion, he’s been a great ambassador for the game of darts.”
Clayton now the form player in darts
After adding the Grand Prix title to the Masters and Premier League crowns already picked up this year, it has been a whirlwind 11 months for the Ferret since winning the World Cup in 2020.
“To pick up all those trophies has been fantastic, especially the Premier League,” he said.
“The Grand Prix, my first [televised] ranking tournament, it’s what we all dream of. We go out to try and win everything. But the truth of it is there are 120 more brilliant players in the world of darts. To get over that final line is absolutely fantastic.
“It’s probably so far, the best [victory] of my career. It was a good weekend.”
It’s probably so far, the best victory of my career.
Clayton is hoping to build on a memorable week
So what changes has he made?
“Belief, obviously [is a factor]. But most of all, I’m really enjoying it. I’ve got confidence. I know what I can do. And it’s just trying to show it a bit more often,” he explained.
“The consistency is starting to show a little bit. I just enjoy it. I thoroughly enjoy being up on that stage.”
Unlike his previous televised titles at the World Cup, Masters and Premier League, the Grand Prix is a ranking event and bolsters his standing on the Order of Merit.
He is now ranked seventh in the world.
“I usually say, it’s just a number. But now I am world number seven, it does mean a lot,” he smiled.
“It’s fantastic. What a feeling. And hopefully I can climb a few more spaces. If I can keep playing like I am, maybe that will happen. Fingers crossed.
“It’s a great feeling to be world number seven. I never dreamt of that. When I started playing in the PDC, I didn’t believe that I could get my tour card. I just said ‘give it a go and let’s see what happens’. But to get to where I am now, it’s fantastic. I’ve always been a darts fan, I’ve always enjoyed the game of darts. To get to where I am now if absolutely fantastic. I hope I can go higher and maybe one day be world number one.”
And the big question is, can he now carry his momentum into a busy part of the year, with the Grand Slam and World Championship down for decision?
“Anything can happen. I’m a great believer in, ‘if it’s your day, it’s your day’. If it’s not, you just go back to the drawing board and try again. So far this year, I’ve had a few of my days, ” he noted.
“That’s how I take life. I don’t plan ahead.
“It’s just day by day, tournament by tournament. And that’s Jonny Clayton. That’s how I look at life. It’s one step at a time.”