Seven years ago Arron Monk walked off the Alexandra Palace stage with the world at his feet having beaten Michael van Gerwen in a major final.
The contrast in their career paths since that World Youth title clash couldn’t be more spectacularly different. While MVG has gone on to dominant the oche world, Monk disappeared off the radar with alarming pace.
But Mad Monk, 27, is re-born and back in the big time having grabbed his Tour Card back in Q School and now signed to Red Dragon this week.
He admitted: “I took darts for granted. I thought I would just keep on winning without putting in the hard graft that I needed to.
“I was also a bad loser and when things went wrong I didn’t handle it like I should have. In the end I just didn’t get the results and disappeared.
“I carried on with my own life and jobs being a plumber and personal trainer and darts became secondary in my life.
“But then last year I looked at the rise of Daryl Gurney and Rob Cross and felt that I could be like that.
“There were guys that I had beaten regularly when I was a bit younger who were getting results and I felt I had the ability to do the same.
“Obviously I’d beaten all the top guys at one stage or other. I’m not saying that I could've done what Michael has because he’s been phenomenal, but I could have achieved more than I have thus far.
“Strangely enough I have a good record against Michael. We’ve met nine times and I’ve beaten him twice, but I’d rather not play him right now!
“I made the decision to have a crack at Q School in January and it paid off by getting my tour card back. Now I really am re-born, it’s a second coming for me.”
Mad Monk, from Andover, followed his father Colin’s footstep’s onto the oche and also reached the last 16 of the Grand Slam in 2012. He’s also racked up impressive wins over the likes of John Part, Dennis Priestley, Mark Webster and Robert Thornton.
But he also readily admits that his sore loser tag often haunted his game and that’s something that his break from the big time has helped him cure.
He added: “I’ve always been a bad loser and that didn’t help my game whatsoever. Now I approach each game with a different mental attitude.
“It’s not the end of the world if I get beaten, it’s a learning curve and then I focus on the next match the following week.
“I think I just need to have one good tournament to make it all click for me, to give me that extra boost of confidence and belief.
“It happened for Michael. He had some tough times where he didn’t get results then he won the Grand Prix in 2012 and he has never looked back.
“The plan is for me to keep progressing, work hard and get a few wins. I’ve got a great team behind me with Red Dragon and Modus management. I’ve been using Red Dragon darts for years so it was great to be part of their team.
“I’ve got the right backing, now it’s just up to me to get the results.”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)