‘I tiled Arsenal hero Dennis Bergkamp’s bathroom now I’m a rich darts champion’

Michael Van Gerwen previews World Darts Championship

When Michael van Gerwin returns to the Alexander Palace on December 15 he will do so in pursuit of a fourth darts world championship. The Dutchman is one of the biggest names in the sport and only just missed out on adding to his tally of world titles when he was defeated by Englishman Micheal Smith in an epic final last January.

The millionaire thrower is instantly recognisable these days but it hasn’t always been that way. Before he broke into the top ranks of the PDC Van Gerwen earned his trade as a tiler back in Holland.

But one particular job he worked on during his time sticks in his memory more than most. Van Gerwen was once tasked with tiling the bathroom of former Arsenal hero and legendary Dutch international Dennis Bergkamp.

And as the world No. 2 revealed, it was a job that he was determined not to mess up, unbeknown that he would soon become an iconic sportsman himself.

Speaking to the Mirror, Van Gerwen said: “I used to work as a tiler. The biggest job I ever had was putting up the tiles in Bergkamp’s bathroom.

“We had to make sure we did a really good job on it. You don’t want to mess up when you are working for a legend like Bergkamp. When I was fitting those tiles, I never thought I would be a millionaire by the time I was 24.

“But it proves that if you work hard and do well at the major tournaments, you can make a good living out of being a professional darts player. I don’t think I would have been this rich if I had worked as a tiler until I was 70.”

Van Gerwen’s previous profession might be considered modest when compared to the glamorous world he finds himself in now but he is not the only top darts player to do a decent graft before breaking into the big time.

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World champion Michael Smith worked with cattle before he rose to the top of the game and has since converted one of his properties into a farm. Peter Wright fitted windows on a holiday camp before he became one of England’s best throwers and Premier League player Jonny Clayton used to be a plasterer.

Welsh favourite Gerwyn Price always had a talent for sport, however, as he used to be a professional rugby player, competing in both codes before concentrating full on darts from 2014.

Van Gerwen won his first world championship in 2014 when he beat Wright 7-4 in the final. The Dutchman doubled his tally after defeating Scotland’s Gary Anderson in 2017 and completed his triple triumph with victory over Smith in 2019. The Bully Boy got his revenge last time out, however, setting up the tasty prospect of a potential rematch in the New Year.

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