Mervyn King left in tears as PDC darts crowd stop booing him after 10 years
Mervyn King was overcome with emotion at Alexandra Palace on Thursday afternoon – and not just because he guaranteed himself at least £50,000 in prize money after reaching the last eight.
The veteran marksman took on Aussie Raymond Smith for a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament, and was a huge favourite following a whitewash win over Steve Lennon.
The 55-year-old had a poor start and slipped 2-0 behind in sets to his less experienced foe, but the crowd got behind the Englishman which caused Smith to lash out at spectators.
King then regrouped to level the tie at three sets a piece, taking the plaudits with a fine final set that included a bumper three dart finish of 124.
Following his victory, and after taking out his ear plugs, King had tears in his eyes when reflecting on the support from the crowd – having been the pantomime villain for over a decade.
King has often been booed by darting crowds, having blamed air conditioning for a 2003 defeat to Raymond van Barneveld, and once incorrectly asking for the oche to be measured after insisting it was wrong.
And then in 2010, King accused John Henderson of gaining an unfair advantage by stepping close to the oche, but that was all forgotten about on Thursday afternoon.
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King told Sky Sports after his victory as the crowd again sung his name: "No (I don't usually get this support) but I'll take it!
"It's unbelievable, it's unreal. It has brought tears to my eyes.
"I could hear it throughout the game and it was building and building."
Adding: "It's absolutely unbelievable."
With presenter Laura Woods saying that she had never seen The King so smiley, he will go into a clash with either James Wade or Martijn Kleermaker in an attempt to match his career best result at the World Championships.
King reached the semi-finals back in 2009 and lost to the legendary Phil Taylor, and is feeling confident of glory despite losing in all seven of his major PDC finals.
The darts icon is already a long way from the part time work he was doing just 14 months ago – earning £120 a day delivering up to 200 packages a day as an Amazon driver.
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