Gary Anderson has paid tribute to darting great Andy Fordham, who passed away last week following a long health battle.
Fordham was one of the sport’s most recognisable faces over a period of two decades and his greatest triumph saw him claim the BDO world title in 2004.
Having also won the World Masters in 1999, Fordham was a regular in the latter stages of major tournaments and made 12 World Championship appearances between 1995 and 2006.
He passed away on Friday aged 59 following multiple health complications.
Anderson joined the BDO in 2000 and faced Fordham in only his second Lakeside appearance three years later, prevailing by three sets to one in the Second Round.
Fordham would go on to clinch the Lakeside crown the following year, and Anderson has described ‘The Viking’ as “an absolute gentleman”.
“I’d known Andy for a long time – an absolute gentleman,” he told Live Darts.
“Like myself, he was one of the laziest dart players but he was very, very good!
“He would sit on his backside all day but then go up and play good darts, he was absolutely fantastic.
“If you mention dart players from the past, you had Eric Bristow, Jocky Wilson, Andy Fordham, they’re the boys who were always mentioned.
“Andy was a gentleman and he’ll be sadly missed in the darting world.”
Tributes have poured in for one of the sport’s most loved characters, and Sky Sports’ Wayne Mardle has recalled the time he spent in Fordham’s company during his playing years.
“We were doing exhibitions in Holland from 2000 to about 2006 and I’ve shared hotel rooms with Andy and there was one time when we shared a bed,” said Mardle on air during the opening night of the World Matchplay.
“There was a mix-up with the hotel rooms, let’s say!
“He was brilliant to be around. He was a fun character, he was a masterful and brilliant darts player but he was a better human being than that.
“I’ll miss him, of course, and the darting world will miss a legend, that’s for sure.”
Three-time World Champion John Part recalled: “From the first time I travelled to England to play the Welsh Open after I won the BDO tournament in 1994 I was staying with Martin Adams and we were driving from where he lived near Peterborough to Wales and we picked up Andy along the way.
“We had a long car ride with Andy so we really got to know him. To know Andy there were never any problems, or anything but levity and joy really.
“We soon found out how well he could play darts. He was extremely talented and a dangerous opponent around the time I was playing in ’94, it took him 10 years to become a world champion from that point.
“It was never a surprise, but in fact people were surprised it took him that long.
“He had a talent for sure and he knew it.”
Mervyn King, who lost to Fordham in the 2004 Lakeside final, laughed: “I always said to him he was lucky I let him win!
“It was great to play Andy in the final, being a good friend.
“We had been friends for a lot of years and it was one of those things you hope for but never think will happen.
“The game itself, I can’t really remember a great deal about it apart from the 101 checkout I had and his winning dart where he hit the double to win.”
Former World Darts Champion Andy Fordham has passed away at the age of 59.
Fordham was one of the sport’s most recognisable faces over a period of two decades and his greatest triumph saw him claim the Lakeside crown in 2004.
Having also won the BDO World Masters in 1999, Fordham was a regular in the latter stages of major tournaments and made 12 World Championship appearances between 1995 and 2006.
In November 2004, Fordham faced Phil Taylor in an historic £100,000 show-down, the first (and to date only) darts match ever to be broadcast on a pay-per-view channel.
Midway through their best-of-13-set match at The Circus Tavern, Fordham left the stage after taking unwell and was forced to withdraw, handing PDC World Champion Taylor the win.
Following medical tests, it was revealed Fordham’s liver was operating at only 25% capacity as a result of long term alcohol damage.
Fordham gave up alcohol and underwent an exercise regime in a bid to lose weight, and by 2007 he had lost an astonishing 15 stone.
He joined the PDC in 2009 and featured in multiple floor events until 2011, taking a two-year break before re-joining the BDO in 2013.
In 2015, ‘The Viking’ sensationally came through a field of 200 at the BDO qualifiers to reach the Grand Slam of Darts – where he finished third in his group after beating Wayne Jones and losing out to Adrian Lewis and Michael Smith.
Fordham’s last appearance in a major televised event came at the 2017 BDO World Trophy – where he was beaten by Glen Durrant in Round Two.
In March 2020, he was hospitalised with a bowel blockage and was set for an operation, this was followed by testing positive for Coronavirus in early 2021 which he admitted was the “scariest thing” he had to face.
Fordham had been due to compete in the inaugural World Seniors Championship at The Circus Tavern in February 2022.
Players and fans have taken to social media to pay their tributes to The Viking.
Just heard the devastating news that Andy Fordham has passed away. He was a gentle giant and loved by all. Our condolences go out to his wife Jenny family and friends. RIP ANDY FORDHAM THE VIKING. pic.twitter.com/GvJqVp9x6J
— Bobby George (@BobbyGeorge180) July 15, 2021
God bless my friend Andy Fordham. What a pleasure it was been your friend and spending time with you. Thoughts are with his family. Cheers Hamlet
— James Wade (@JamesWade180) July 15, 2021
RIP Andy Fordham…. My darting Hero growing up who always had time for everyone… Legend of the game. Thoughts are with the family x pic.twitter.com/EDL7qR79Bg
— Jamie Lewis (@jamiedarts180) July 15, 2021
Absolutely devasted to hear the news that Andy Fordham has passed away,a darting legend and one of the nicest guys on the planet,thoughts are with the family at this time.. RIP Andy
— Kevin Painter (@OfficialKP180) July 15, 2021
Today we lost one of the sport of darts finest characters, a genuine person, world champion, a true friend of everyone, Andy Fordham, so sad to lose you, thanks for being a friend. pic.twitter.com/maaIf210Ji
— John Lowe M.B.E. (@jloweprodart) July 15, 2021
To my great friend and buddy Andy Fordham, to know you was to love you from my heart. We spent years together, and had so much fun. I’m torn apart. My respect to Jenny and all the family. 🥲🥲🥲🥲🙏 RIP Mate 💔
— Richie Burnett (@TheRichBurnett) July 15, 2021
RIP Andy Fordham, I didn’t know you well but I sure knew how great a guy you were and how much everyone in darts loved you. Rest in Peace @viking180. Heaven has gained another darts legend 💙 pic.twitter.com/QGLcBXk17R
— The Hammer (@TheHammer180) July 15, 2021
Sad news about Andy Fordham saddened and extremely upset with this !thoughts with the family
— Daryl Gurney (@Superchin180) July 15, 2021
— Glen Durrant (@Duzza180) July 15, 2021
Sad to hear the passing of a legend Andy Fordham our thoughts are with his family
— Adrian Lewis (@jackpot180) July 15, 2021
So very saddened to hear of the passing away of Andy Fordham.
Not only a great friend but a sporting legend who I had the pleasure of knowing for many a year.
Our thoughts are with Jenny and the family. RIP my friend pic.twitter.com/kmMlYhVeVh
— Stevebeaton (@Stevebeaton180) July 15, 2021
Such sad news that Andy Fordham has died. A true legend and gentleman of the sport.
My thoughts are with his family and friends.
— Rob Cross (@RobCross180) July 15, 2021
Absolutely devastated to hear of the passing of this Legend, it was an absolute pleasure to have worked and shared a stage with a true gent. Will be such a miss to all involved with darts. RIP Andy Fordham 💙 pic.twitter.com/xnN580Ag0g
— Chris Dobey (@Dobey10) July 15, 2021
R.I.P Andy Fordham #WorldChamp
— ColinJawsLloyd (@ColinJawsLloyd) July 15, 2021
Terrible news that Andy Fordham has passed away.
Won tournaments with Andy, roomed together across Europe, and had so many laughs and good times.
One of the good guys.
Massive condolences to all his family.
— Dave Whitcombe (@DWhitcombe180) July 15, 2021