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Nicholson explains decision to opt out of 2019 Qualifying School

Durrant outlines “seven-year plan” ahead of Lakeside title defence and Q School quest

Jamie Shaw in Darts Interviews 02 Dec 2019
Durrant salutes the crowd at the Grand Slam (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Lakeside king Glen Durrant has outlined a “seven-year plan” for the remainder of his career as he bids to bow out of the BDO as a three-time World Champion before heading for the promised land of the PDC.
Durrant is aiming to become the first player since Eric Bristow in 1986 to win three consecutive BDO world titles in what is likely to be his final appearance at Lakeside.
The Middlesbrough ace has dominated the BDO circuit for the last four years, claiming two World Masters titles, the World Trophy and three Zuiderduin Masters crowns.
Durrant, 48, has long been linked with a move to the lucrative PDC circuit, but dismissed the speculation 12 months ago amid contractual ties and work commitments.
Now, ‘Duzza’ admits he is ready to take the leap of faith and join a host of established BDO stars in heading to Qualifying School later this month in an effort to secure a coveted PDC Tour Card.
“The entry is in,” said Durrant, speaking exclusively to Live Darts.
“I’m really excited for Q School, I’ve been to Barnsley and Wigan a few times to acclimatise myself but people have told me that’s nothing compared to Q School.
“There’s talk of 800-1000 entries but I’ve had a text message to say maybe that’s a bit on the high side.
“However many there are, it’s going to be a bit different to any other open tournament I’ve played in before but I’m there to try and get my Tour Card and we’ll go from there.
“I think a high percentage of the top 16 [BDO] who are English will be there.
“I don’t know anyone that’s not going. No one’s categorically said to me “I’m not going to Q School this year” apart from Michael Unterbucher and the Dutch guys I’ve just mentioned who missed the European Q School.
“I know Jim Williams’ entry is in and it’ll be no surprise to see the likes of Scott Waites, Scott Mitchell there.
“Mark McGeeney has been open about his dream to play in the PDC and when you put the mix of the Tour Card players who had lost their card this year and all the county players, it’s going to be really tough and survival of the fittest.
“I’d love to do a Corey Cadby and win it on the first day then get away but I think that may be wishful thinking.
“I may have to rely on being one of the players who finishes in the top seven or eight that didn’t get to a final.
“Let’s see what those four days bring.”
Durrant currently balances his playing commitments with a full-time job as an estate manager for a housing company – a role he has held down for 30 years.
But with the relentless schedule of the PDC, ‘Duzza’ says he would have no option but to quit the day job in order to focus on being a full-time professional, and reveals he has already set the wheels in motion.
He added: “If I sat and thought what January is for me, I would crumble.
“One option is, I could be a three-time Lakeside Champion next week, I could get my Tour Card and that would have major implications on sponsorship, management and work.
“The other alternative is I could bomb out here [Lakeside] in the First Round, not get my Tour Card, and also there’s big changes at work with structures.
“So who knows what January is all about?
“It’s an awful cliche, but genuinely, I’m taking it a day at a time and a game at a time, because if I sat and thought about the options and what the circumstances could be, then my head would be messed up.
“That’s why I need to go for walks and a swim because it’s a dangerous thing to do when you’re thinking in the game of darts.
“The foundations are set, but that’s why I daren’t think because I’ve only ever done the same job.
“On February 2nd, 1989, I started my job. On February 2nd, 2019, I could be handing my notice in bang on 30 years later.
“I could not play Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith and all the other guys while I’m doing 40 hours in a mentally stressful job.
“I’ve never done a day’s work in my life, I sit in an office and I push a pen but mentally it’s a tough job and a job that I love.
“Fitness is the kind of thing I would need to incorporate and going full-time [darts] would give me the opportunity to go to the gym, do some swimming and make sure I’m physically fitter and mentally fitter.”
Raymond van Barneveld, 51, recently announced his intention to retire from professional darts at the end of the year, following in the footsteps of the great Phil Taylor – who hung up his arrows last January.
Durrant says he plans to continue playing up to the age of 55 and believes he still has a lot to offer in the sport.
“I’ve got a seven-year plan, I don’t really want to do anything after the age of 55 so a seven-year plan is what I’m looking at,” he added.
“I wish I was 25 and physically fit, I feel the aches and pains. I’m around the same age as Gary Anderson and he’s saying how much of a toll it’s taking on his body and I’m talking about doing another seven years.
“I believe in my ability and who knows what the future’s going to be?
“I’ve got a couple of sponsorship deals and management deals if I get a Tour Card and compared to what I get as a BDO player, it’s three or four times higher in figures.”
Newly-elected BDO Chairman Des Jacklin implemented a number of ground-breaking changes when taking charge last summer, including a removal of historic restrictions on BDO players which prevented them from competing in PDC events.
A host of decorated BDO names are expected to descend on the darting dream factory that is Qualifying School, and Durrant has praised Jacklin’s forward thinking and long-term vision for the BDO.
He added: “Des [Jacklin] has to be commended for what he’s done.
“He’s signed a three-year deal with Eurosport and Quest which also guarantees the World Masters and World Trophy, so maybe the BDO moving forward again.
“I absolutely love the BDO, they’ve been so good to me.
“I’d like to think they respect my decision to go to Q School, it’s nothing against the BDO.
“The fact I made that statement last year of “BDO for life” is because I was sick to death of the questions from people about the PDC.
“The first thing that Des did as Chairman was to open up that opportunity to go to Q School without any restrictions, so we’ll see how that goes.”