NEW darts world champion Michael Smith has credited the key role his mum and dad’s social club in Sutton played in helping propel him to the top of the sport and the global recognition that goes with it.

If last Tuesday’s final is anything to go by, the treble 20 segment of dartboard at the St Anne’s and Blessed Dominic Social Club in Monastery Lane will have been peppered by Smith this last few months.

Daily visits there, combined with the school run for his two boys Michael Jnr and Kasper, have helped the 32-year-old remained focused but grounded.

Both of those factors helped him beat Dutch ace Michael van Gerwen to win the prestigious Sid Waddell trophy and the £500,000 in prize money at Alexandra Palace.

World champion or not, Smith was still back on the school run this morning – but he will be leaving off the darts until he travels off to Germany and then Bahrain next week.

But when his does get back on the practice board – it will be a familiar routine that has stood him in good stead, with first November’s Grand Slam and then now the World Championship.

Smith said: “My mum and dad have had the club for about 13 years and it has been a good base to practice.

“I do the school run in the morning, then go to the club, open up and lock it behind me so I am on my own, I can practise away and then close up and pick the kids up from school.

“It has always got me away from the house. I have not got a dartboard in the house because it is not going to be like work then, it’d feel like a hobby.

“So, for me getting out to the pub and having my own space and my own practice room has been great for me. That has allowed me to do my own work without distractions.”

Michael Smith never gave up despite defeats

Smith had lost last year at Ally Pally - and in 2019 - and plenty more majors in between.

But he has never given up striving to take out this prize – and had something within him to keep coming back and never giving up.

“I have always told my kids that you get out of sport what you put in. What type of role model would I be if I just quit and not fought as hard as I have to keep coming back,” Smith said.

“Every time the door was shut in my face I just persisted and never walked away – I kept working.

“As long as you keep believing it will finally come true.”

Michael Smith: I am just a kid from Parr

The win has propelled Smith massively into the limelight - nationally and globally - and yet he remains totally grounded.

“It is surreal at times, I am just a kid from Parr – Cherry Tree Drive, where I grew up – so it feels a bit weird.

“You have to remember where you have come from. I have worked hard for it though, but I have to keep on doing what I have been doing and always thinking what got me here instead of what I have achieved. 

"I am still humble. If people ask me for a picture, I never say no, and I always talk to people and sign autographs.

“I think this is why people are starting to like me and chant my name at the tournaments. They can see I am not arrogant with it - I am still a humble person."