Having helped to make stars of the likes of Phil Taylor, Dennis Priestley and Raymond van Barneveld, the Circus Tavern in Purfleet has hosted the PDC World Championships for the last time.
Since 1994, thousands of fans have descended upon the south Essex venue to watch the greatest exponents of the game take to the oche amidst an electric and unique atmosphere.
|"It's been a wonderful venue - certainly a mecca for darts."|
|Barry Hearn, PDC Chairman|
But, for the 2008 Championships, the competition's new home will be at London's Alexandra Palace.
BBC Essex has been gauging the reaction to the decision, which also coincides with an increase in the total prize fund, that will rise to £1 million by 2010.
Barry Hearn, Chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation, paid tribute to the venue, but admitted the sport had simply out grown it. He said, "The PDC and darts generally wouldn't be where it is today without the Circus Tavern. It's been a wonderful venue - certainly a mecca for darts."
"But the fact is, the game has got hugely bigger and we need a bigger capacity. Unfortunately, the Circus Tavern can only cope with eight or nine hundred people."
To hear more from Barry Hearn, click on the link below.
|Phil Taylor has been the king of the Tavern.|
Essex darts historian, Dr Partrick Chaplin, says the news is not a big surprise. "The game has been developing at speed in recent years and the Circus Tavern has become a victim of dart's increase in popularity."
To hear more from Dr Patrick Chaplin, click on the link below.
The Tavern's manager, Peter Roue, is obviously disappointed at the decision, but feels proud that Essex has played a part in the game's success. He told us, "We contributed to the event to make it successful, not only for the players and the technicians, but more so for the paying customer that really likes to go out and watch a great event in a fantastic atmosphere."
To hear more from Peter Roue, click on the link below.
One of the leading lights in the sport is Southend's Steve Maish, who first appeared on the Tavern's oche in 2004. He welcomed the move to Alexandra Palace, saying, "It's fantastic news. I think we've outgrown the Circus Tavern and obviously needed a much bigger venue."
To hear more from Steve Maish, click on the link below.