R.I.P Olly Croft

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Demonloy
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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by Demonloy » Sun Nov 24, 2019 7:05 pm

Much maligned figure mainly because of the ridiculous BDO/PDC rivalry. Huge respect from me for genuine lover of the sport, sorry to hear of his passing.

markymark
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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by markymark » Sun Nov 24, 2019 7:29 pm

Sid Waddell putting darts on Indoor League too.

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daraghj82
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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by daraghj82 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:43 pm

RIP olly and another great man of darts gone to the heavens along with Leighton rees, sid eric and jocky

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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by ChrisW » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:57 pm

Obituary for Olly Croft in The Times last week:


Olly Croft obituary


Controversial and colourful founder of the British Darts Organisation who brought the game from the pub into the sitting room

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Croft in 1972, before starting the British Darts Organisation

When Olly Croft was enjoying an after-work pint in a busy pub in Crouch End, north London, in the 1960s he was puzzled to hear the cry “Game on!” reduce the place to a reverential silence. It was his first taste of serious darts, starting an obsession that lasted until he died.

“His vision was to entertain the pub player, the normal working man, who will go down the pub and enter the local darts competition,” said his son, also called Oliver, the fifth generation in the family to carry the name. Croft Sr had a talent for organising, and before long local leagues, super-leagues and country games were sprouting around Britain.

The News of the World had been running tournaments since 1927, but it was not until 1972 that the sport was popular enough to attract television, when Yorkshire Television launched the Indoor League presented by Fred Trueman, the former England cricketer.

The next year Croft formed the British Darts Organisation (BDO) and was asked by the BBC and ITV to help to run their darts coverage. He and his family were soon travelling the world as the game’s popularity mushroomed, popularised in many instances by hotel and holiday camp operators eager to fill empty rooms in the winter. “Dad made it so they could bring families to darts,” Oliver said. “We would get as many as 1,000 coming to Pontins holiday camp in Torremolinos for the Mediterranean Open.” Croft even persuaded the Oxford English Dictionary to include the word “oche” for the line that players have to stand behind for their throws to count.

Yet the darts world began to fall apart in the early 1990s recession. Sponsors pulled out, the News of the World competition ended and the television lights dimmed. That caused a heated debate about what to do to revive the game, not least among the elite players who were making a living from it. Unable to obtain what they regarded as satisfactory solutions, the 16 leading players formed their own organisation, the World Darts Council (WDC). Croft’s reaction was to ban the defectors from all BDO events. “I don’t owe any dart players a breath mint,” he said.
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Olly Croft in 1979

Oliver Albert Croft was the eldest son of Oliver Croft, a north London tiler, and May Gladys (née Robinson). She died giving birth to Olly’s youngest brother, Colin. Their father remarried and Olly rebelled against his stepmother, Jessie. She responded by beating him and locking him in the cupboard under the stairs. The children were glad to be evacuated during the war.

Afterwards Croft did National Service as an RAF electrician and formed Croft Brothers (London) as a tile business. It had two shops, in Muswell Hill, near Crouch End, and Bushey Heath, in Hertfordshire. At one time the company was turning over £2 million a year.
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Olly Croft, far left, at The Sun Match of the Century contest in 1977. Also pictured are Eric Bristow, second left, the radio DJ Ed Stewart, centre, back, and John Lowe, bottom row, second right

By then Croft had met his future wife, Lorna, through her sister Pamela, at a Muswell Hill dance hall. Lorna kept the tile firm’s books and went on to be the power behind the throne at the BDO. “Mum was the godmother of world darts,” Oliver said.

They had three sons, Roy, Paul and Oliver, who all worked in the tile business, and two daughters, Elaine, who helped to manage the BDO, and Lesley, who ran the Muswell Hill shop. Lorna died in 2003 and Paul died in 2015.

Croft’s ban on the darts defectors was opposed as a restraint of trade, generating a long-running and expensive legal battle. In 1997 the BDO was obliged to recognise the WDC and the right of players to choose which organisation they played for. The WDC renamed itself the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), recognising the World Darts Federation as the governing body of world darts and the BDO as the governing body of UK darts. More than 20 years later the BDO and the PDC have separate pools of players and stage their own tournaments.

That did not end the acrimony. In 2011 Croft was voted off the BDO board and ceased to be its tournament director. “People didn’t always agree with me, but I got things done,” he mused.

Apart from darts, Croft’s great passion was Tottenham Hotspur FC. He died with a smile on his face, watching them on television scoring their first goal in Saturday’s 3-2 win over West Ham United.

Olly Croft, OBE, founder of the British Darts Organisation, was born on November 17, 1929. He died of sepsis on November 23, 2019, aged 90
Last edited by ChrisW on Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ginge
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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by Ginge » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:01 pm

He had access to BT Sport then.

TheVillan
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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by TheVillan » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:23 pm

Ginge wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:01 pm
He had access to BT Sport then.
How is this relevant either way?

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Ginge
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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by Ginge » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:24 pm

It isnt. Was just an observation.

Bomber
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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by Bomber » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:28 pm

90 is still a good innings and if it wasn't for his efforts darts may not have made it on to the box which in turn lead to the BDO then PDC and the rich game it's become. Says he went watching spurs score and he also didn't have to watch what he created being flushed down the shitter, he did well.

TheVillan
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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by TheVillan » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:32 pm

Bomber wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:28 pm
90 is still a good innings and if it wasn't for his efforts darts may not have made it on to the box which in turn lead to the BDO then PDC and the rich game it's become. Says he went watching spurs score and he also didn't have to watch what he created being flushed down the shitter, he did well.
Whether they like it or not, the only reason the gang of 16 had a platform was down to the BDO. The divergence since is frightening.

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JOEY
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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by JOEY » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:41 pm

Not a bad way to go, watching your team score a goal,hope my heart takes it in April or May when Liverpool finally win the league again!!

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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by Demolition_fan » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:48 am

RIP Olly
May the darts be with you
The BDO is shite

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Ginge
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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by Ginge » Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:49 am

Funeral a week on Friday.

el_ringo
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Re: R.I.P Olly Croft

Post by el_ringo » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:49 pm

TheVillan wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:32 pm

Whether they like it or not, the only reason the gang of 16 had a platform was down to the BDO. The divergence since is frightening.
This is only because of circumstance after the tv success of the indoor league and the NOTW the TV companies were interested in showing more of the sport and they approached the only body of organised darts left in the UK at the time which was the BDO. Had the BDO not existed or had not won their war with the NDAGB then the TV companies would of approached the NDAGB to organise some TV tournaments.
Olly was never involved in 'selling' the sport to sponsors or TV companies or in marketing it he was just fortunate that people came seeking a product he had control of rather than vice versa.
The only real lasting initiative that was down to Olly was the standardisation of the rules and throwing distance that's his sole legacy.

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