Unsung Heroes: Marcus Robertson

By Phil Lanning 23/03/2021

ENGLAND cricket, Manchester United and darts…Marcus Robertson has seen the full spectrum of sport at the highest level. But the arrows remains his biggest love.

Robertson (pictured right) left his role as a non-executive director of the Professional Darts Corporation at the end of 2020, ending a 40-year involvement in the sport. A former PR and sponsorship executive, Robertson first worked in darts in 1979 and went on to handle media during the formation and early years of the World Darts Council (later PDC). He subsequently joined the PDC’s board of directors, played a role in Barry Hearn’s arrival as chairman in 2001 and has helped to shape the sport’s modern future during his time in the sport. However, it all started on a night in Sheffield in 1979 and an instant friendship with legendary commentator Dave Lanning. He admitted:

“My first involvement in darts came at the end of 1979 when I was sent off to see the Marlboro Team of Champions, comprised of five top players at the time, playing an exhibition in Sheffield. “The sponsor was our client and I knew nothing about darts. I was vaguely dreading it, yet within five minutes of watching darts, I was in love with it.

“I was introduced to Dave Lanning, who was the MC, and I was in awe of this towering figure who came off the stage. But it was an instant close friendship that carried on throughout my life. He gave Marlboro so much coverage in The Sun and was so kind to give me that opportunity. That night and friendship with Dave changed my life.

“Barry often says that you have to make the most of your luck in situations, and from the moment that I came to that darts match in Sheffield I wanted to make this sport loved by everyone. That’s the one thing I feel I’ve helped to achieve. “It’s been the greatest privilege of my working life to do this, and loved every minute of it.
“I’ve always loved the straightforwardness of the players and people who work in the game. I’ve worked in a lot of sports, and as much as I loved that I never felt the same emotional closeness to the sport or the people as I do in darts. “I’ve worked with the England cricket team and Manchester United down the years, but darts is easily the best.” After that night in Sheffield, Robertson believes that taking Barry Hearn out for lunch in Knightsbridge was the other most pivotal moment in his career. He added: “Barry has been an normous addition to the game, with such great vision."

"Probably the best thing we ever did was to invite Barry out for lunch in Knightsbridge to see if he was interested in getting involved in the sport".
“Before we sat down he asked what we wanted, and we said that we believed he could help get the business to move along a bit faster; he said that he knew we were in a fight, he liked a fight and he was in - and that was before we had lunch or told him how much it was going to cost, and the rest is history.

“We’re broadcasting now in 130 countries and there will be players out there somewhere in the world, who we don’t even know about yet, who can have a huge impact. “In the same way that I loved darts when I walked into that arena in Sheffield, anyone can switch on the TV and within five minutes they can understand the game, pick a favourite and suddenly they’re hooked. “That will happen around the world more and more, and I think we’re maybe halfway on the journey to where the whole world is playing darts and watching it - but we’ll get there!”

“We would not be where we are now without Barry, but the last ten years has also needed a second person and Matt Porter has been an exceptional chief executive. “With Barry and Matt, alongside the existing board of directors and the hard-working staff within the PDC, the sport is in good hands.”

PDC chairman Barry Hearn said:

“Marcus Robertson has made an immeasurable contribution to darts during his career, and whilst his work may have been unseen by many of the general public it was certainly valued and appreciated by his colleagues".

“His experience and knowledge of the sport has made him an important member of our board of directors, and his love for the sport is clear for all to see.

“Marcus leaves the PDC board with the best wishes of everyone involved in the organisation. “From a personal standpoint, I will always be eternally grateful to Marcus for him being instrumental in my joining the PDC, and for the fun we’ve had on the journey that followed.”

Lead image: PDC


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