Jocky Wilson, actually John Thomas Wilson, was born in ordinary circumstances on 22. March 1950 in Kirkcaldy in Scotland. Two days and 62 years later he died in the same social apartment house in which he was born, in a one room flat. His wife and a grandson were with him.
The Scottish darting legend had a hard and not always smooth boyhood. With fourteen he left school and then worked often interrupted by joblessness as a chef, in the army, in a mine, for a coal dealer and at a machine to scale fish in a fish factory.
In 1970 - when once again he was without a job his life took a decisive turn. In his local pub, in which today one can find a store, the pub teamed lacked a man and Jocky was persuaded to play. At this time he had no idea about darts and never had held a dart in his hand. So it was not really a surprise that his opponent ended the match while Jocky not even had hit the board. Jocky Wilson was peeved and felt humiliated. He went and bought himself a board and practiced every day. He found out he had a natural talent for the sport. Wilson played local and later national tournaments. His first noteworthy price money was confiscated by the dole office but this incident didn't influence his career.
1979 Wilson turned professional and played for the first time the BDO World Championship. From 1979 to 1991 he took part every year and reached at least the quarter finals. 1982 he for the first time became World Champion against John Lowe. 1989 he won the title a second time - this time against his eternal rival but good friend as well Eric Bristow. He won numerous other tournaments and two times, 1982 and 1990, he was runner-up of the World Masters.
Jocky Wilson who's manager from 1988 - 1996 was Tommy Cox was one of the founding members of the WDC - today PDC, but he was not really successful any longer in those years he played in the PDC. Only in 1994 he once reached the quarter final of a major tournament - the World Matchplay.
But somehow in those last active years he had lost his fun and his drive, might be due to his diabetes. 1996 he stopped playing darts for good. Two years later he was bankrupt. Two years ago he was diagnosed with chronicle obstructive pulmonary disease due to his 50 years of severe smoking. He needed a machine to breathe and almost couldn't speak any longer. His Argentine wife Malvine tended him supported by a grandson.
After the end of his career Wilson had lived very secluded, rarely he received visitors or even friends and never gave interviews. Rarely did he leave his flat. But till the end he followed darts on TV.
Jocky Wilson was very popular with the fans and with his colleagues. He was a strong personality and - as one hears - there was a lot to laugh about when he was around. He was honest und outspoken, however he was banned one time for three months for using obscene language. Wilson was shy; he drank a lot of alcohol, mostly beer and vodka, once he ended in hospital for alcohol intoxication. Often he was drunk at the end of a darts evening which led to several incidents so he once fell from stage after a match. Wilson was a severe smoker which caused his pulmonary disease. Beside he loved sweets. As he never brushed his teeth he had not a single tooth left when he was 28. He never enjoyed wearing his dentures he got made with his price money. As is told the dentures sometimes dropped out off his mouth when he jubilated after a win and sometimes he used them as mark playing snooker.
He was a dart player who never gave in even when the task looked hopeless and he always was a convinced Scott. He personified - not too tall and plump - the antithesis of the modern athlete but nevertheless was the sporting hero of the Scottish working-class.
The dart in one hand and the fag in the other - that's how he felt most at ease and that's how we will treasure his memory for ever.