YOU would be forgiven for thinking Michael Smith’s “Bully Boy” nickname comes from his ability to hit the bullseye.
But the fantastic reason behind the monicker has absolutely nothing to do with darts at all – nor does it stem from his personality away from the oche.
Instead, Smith got his incredible nickname during his time working as a cattle farmer on the Greater Manchester-West Yorkshire border.
And the job included helping the baby calves’ safe arrivals – while absolutely caked in mess.
World No1 Smith, 33, told the Mirror: “I used to work on a cattle farm in Littleborough and I loved it, but it was hard graft and I wouldn’t do it for a living.
“That’s where I got my Bully Boy nickname – it was nothing to do with darts.
“When the cows gave birth, the farm owner – who used to be a bouncer at my auntie’s pub – got me to help with tagging the new-born calves.
“For 35 minutes, I got slammed in cowpats and cow’s muck. They didn’t always like it and I had one on its back, my fingers in its nose, legs in the air.
“He called me a bully, and that’s how the nickname stuck.
“For the record, I’m not a bully or an aggressive person by nature – far from it – but when I needed a nickname, that’s what came to mind.”
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Smith was born and raised in St Helens, meaning his first love was rugby league.
But after breaking his hip as a teenager, he focused on darts – throwing his first 180 while on crutches.
Smith then skipped his final joinery exam to compete in a darts tournament.
However, another injury almost curtailed his career after just a year when on Christmas Eve in 2009 he slipped on some ice on the way home and broke both wrists.
Thankfully, though, Smith recovered and continued his steady rise in the game throughout the 2010s.
He was crowned the 2014 PDC Young Player of the Year and broke into the top 16 and then the top eight in the world rankings the following year.
But after losing his first eight PDC major finals – including at the 2019 and 2022 World Darts Championships to Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright respectively – Smith landed the Grand Slam of Darts in 2022, beating Nathan Aspinall 16-5.
However, his greatest day at the oche came in January 2023 when Bully Boy defeated Van Gerwen at Ally Pally to be crowned world champion and pocket a cool £500,000 – helped on the way by the incredible nine-darter in the greatest leg of darts ever.
Smith, though, has not let the success or money go to his head and remains a grounded and popular figure on the darts circuit – and at home.
The darts star – awarded Freedom of the Borough by St Helens Borough Council – is married to Polish wife Dagmara and they have two sons together.
Smith regularly takes his boys fishing and to watch their beloved Manchester United when they are not at home relaxing at their very own farmyard which includes chickens, tortoises, black swans and a horse.
Clearly the cowpats didn’t quash his love of animals too much…
Source: The Sun
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