Ally Pally has always been a spiritual home for darts. Despite the claims of the Lakeside, The Circus Tavern, or The Winter Gardens. The People’s Palace was staging darts events when even Bob Potter was ‘a strip of a lad’. In 1974 Darts World reported on the triumph of Peter Chapman in The News of The World.
Incredibly there were more than twelve thousand people packed in to witness the climax of a best-of-three Open event played from ‘Pub to Palace’. Leighton Rees was an early casualty and Chapman survived match darts to claim the title.
Those who think the standard was ‘different in those days should think again. Chapman had a dart for a fourteen dart leg to get his first on the board (taken out next visit) and was out in sixteen to claim the title. Not bad with massive darts, fat wires and 12, 000 screaming fans behind you.
The small box story shows how popular and important the event was getting. Chapman won a colour TV and a two weeks holiday. The 1975 Champion would receive a fully taxed and registered family car!