Legendary darts referee Bruce Spendley passes away

Legendary darts referee and PDC Hall of Fame member Bruce Spendley has passed away at the age of 80.

Spendley was a face and voice synonymous with televised darts for more than 30 years, overseeing some of the sport’s most iconic moments.

The Cleveland-based caller refereed at 34 World Championships across the BDO and PDC systems from 1980-2013, hanging up the microphone following the final between Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace eight years ago.

After Taylor had secured his 16th World Championship title, he famously embraced Spendley on the stage and presented him with the match board.

His contribution to darts was recognised when he was inducted into the PDC Hall of Fame at the Annual Awards dinner in 2013.

Spendley joined the PDC when it was formed as the WDC (World Darts Council) in 1992 after he was banned from the BDO for refereeing at the Lada Classic during the sport’s infamous split.

He developed a style of calling with distinguished 180s, curt 100s and the terms “Game on”, “Best of order” and “Game-shot and the match” which have become commonplace in the sport ever since.

Some of the many classic matches refereed by Spendley include the 1989 BDO World Championship final between Jocky Wilson and Eric Bristow and the 2007 PDC World Championship final between Phil Taylor and Raymond van Barneveld.

A minute’s applause was held in his memory by players and staff prior to Tuesday’s Players Championship 14 in Milton Keynes.

Players and officials from past and present have taken to social media to pay their tributes to Bruce Spendley.