What football teams do the pros support?

What football teams do the pros support?

Alex Moss |

What Football Teams Do Pro Darts Players Support?

Darts and football are two sports that have crossed paths over the years, with many of the top footballers being spotted in the crowd at the big PDC tournaments. The rise in popularity of darts has also spilled over onto the football pitch too, with England and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder James Maddison just one high-profile player to have imitated throwing a dart as his goal celebration.

The two sports crossover too when it comes to their fans, with many football supporters having an interest in darts. Although club colors are not always allowed to be worn at darts events, you will often find a carnival atmosphere and chanting in the crowd when watching darts on television, similar to what you would come across at a football game.

But what football teams do darts players support? In this blog, we will delve into the football fandom of several top darts stars, including which team they follow, their background on why they support that team and how closely they follow them.

Luke Littler’s Football Team

What football team does Luke Littler support? Luke Littler is a keen football fan and supports Manchester United. ‘The Nuke’ rose to fame with his run to the final of the 2024 PDC World Darts Championship, and his newfound stardom saw him get the chance to meet some of his football heroes.

Shortly after his life-changing run at Alexandra Palace, the teenage star was seen at Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, and met one of the club’s legendary managers Sir Alex Ferguson, along with the team’s current captain Bruno Fernandes.

During the World Championship, the ‘Luke Littler favourite football team’ topic was heavily discussed, with a few different teams being reported as his favourite. Just days apart in December, Littler had a surprise meeting with Arsenal and England duo Declan Rice and Aaron Ramsdale, before being invited to a Tottenham Hotspur match as a guest of player James Maddison. But Littler’s loyalties are firmly with the Red Devils, and after taking a tour of Old Trafford he was then invited to the club’s training ground at Carrington to meet the first-team squad.

His avid support of United was on show during the 2024 Premier League Darts season, with the team’s defeat to Chelsea spurring him on to win on the same night in Manchester. After finding out United had conceded two late goals in their 4-3 defeat to Chelsea, Littler returned to the AO Arena stage for the night’s final and beat Gerwyn Price. In an interview with Sky Sports after: “I’m glad I won, but I’ve just witnessed United concede two in two minutes!”

‘L.U.K.E’ Humphries

What football team does Luke Humphries support? The Luke Humphries football team of choice is Leeds United, with the 2024 PDC world champion a lifelong fan of the club. Whilst Humphries’ opponent in the final of the World Darts Championship, Luke Littler, supports Manchester United, he follows one of their rival teams in Leeds.

In late 2023, Humphries visited the club’s training ground for the day, where he played darts against some of the Leeds players as part of a shoot for Sky Sports. After his memorable victory at Alexandra Palace a few months later, ‘Cool Hand’ then got to parade his World Championship trophy around the pitch at Elland Road, in front of a packed-out crowd of his fellow Leeds supporters.

Humphries was also given the name Luke by his dad, with the initials a nod to his devotion to the club. In an interview with the Leeds United website, he said: “I think everyone knows I am named after the club. My dad named me Luke, which stands for (L)eeds (U)nited (K)ings of (E)urope. I am not from Leeds, but the club really was in me from birth. Following the club has been a massive part of my life and will continue to be.”

His world title success, and rise to world number one in the rankings, saw Humphries earn a spot in the Premier League Darts line up for 2024. Humphries enjoyed lots of home support on the Leeds leg of the season, at the First Direct Arena, and wore a specially-designed shirt in Leeds' white, blue and yellow colours on the night. He told the PDC: "My shirt supplier is a Leeds fan and I let him have a tinker around on something a bit retro, from the 1980s. I didn't want to go too much into looking like a football shirt, I wanted to have a vibe of Leeds and be a darts shirt as well."

Luke Humphries Leeds

Nathan Aspinall – Manchester United

What football team does Nathan Aspinall support? Stockport-born Nathan Aspinall is a lifelong Manchester United fan, but has a history within football long before his pursuits in the world of darts.

‘The Asp’ told Sky Sports in 2019: “I got scouted to play at the Manchester United goalkeeping academy, it was a feeder club for Manchester United and other clubs. I got offered contracts for Rangers when I was nine, I played for Stockport County and had trials with them. It didn’t work out for me, but I played at a semi-pro level and I’m now a professional darts player.”

Aspinall’s competitive edge on the oche comes from his early years as a footballer, as he swapped his career as an accountant to become a full-time pro in the PDC. He is an avid fan of many sports, including football, and in March 2024 took part in a crossbar challenge with players from his hometown football team Stockport County.

He remains a keen follower of the Red Devils and appeared as a guest on ‘Manchester Is RED’ – one of the Manchester United podcasts to discuss his life in darts and his thoughts on the current United team.

Gary Anderson – Hibernian

What football team does Gary Anderson support? The Gary Anderson football team of choice is Hibernian. Whilst these days the two-time PDC world champion does not keep a close eye on football, he remains associated with the Scottish club.

Hibs wished ‘The Flying Scotsman’ good luck in a post on Twitter ahead of his match with Phil Taylor in the final of the 2015 PDC World Darts Championship. The club wrote: ‘Good luck to #Hibs supporter Gary Anderson in the final of the World Darts Championships tonight. He supports us, we support him.’

Anderson beat Taylor 7-6 in the final to win the first of his two world titles at Alexandra Palace. A month on from that success, he was invited to help make the draw for the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup, which included his team Hibernian as one of the eight clubs still left in the competition. In 2018, Anderson made a guest appearance at the Paul Hanlon Testimonial Darts Day – an event for the defender who has racked up more than 550 appearances for Hibs during his 15+ years at the Easter Road club.

Chris Dobey – Newcastle United

What football team does Chris Dobey support? Chris Dobey is a lifelong Newcastle United supporter and his affinity for the club can be seen with his darts shirt including black and white stripes, like the team’s home strip.

In an interview with the club’s website, Dobey said: “I’m Newcastle through and through, supporting them all my life. My grandad took me to St. James’ Park when I was eight years old. I love Newcastle. I had a season ticket for around 12 or 13 years. We used to sit three or four seats from the away fans and it was brilliant.”

The 2023 Masters champion is often spotted at Newcastle games, home and away, and giving his thoughts on the Magpies’ fortunes on social media. Dobey also switched his walk-on song to ‘Local Hero’ – the team’s anthem – when he played in the Premier League Darts nights in Newcastle in 2019 and 2023.

Wayne Mardle – Tottenham Hotspur

What football team does Wayne Mardle support? Wayne Mardle is now the ‘unofficial’ voice of darts with his role as a pundit and commentator on Sky Sports. A five-time World Championship semi-finalist during his career as a player, Mardle has been a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur since the age of six.

‘Hawaii 501’ told the club’s website: “My dad was a Gooner (Arsenal fan). So I thought to myself ‘I’m not supporting them!’ And I started following the Spurs. I went to my first match at the Lane when I was 15, a 0-0 draw against Norwich. It took me about seven games to see a victory!”

In 2020, Mardle appeared as a guest on the VAR Side Spurs Podcast to discuss his love for Tottenham. He was also previously a season ticket holder at the club’s old ground White Hart Lane, before his career as a darts player saw him travelling all over the world to play in tournaments during the weekends.

Adrian Lewis – Stoke City

What football team does Adrian Lewis support? Adrian Lewis is a lifelong Stoke City fan. A two-time PDC world champion in both 2011 and 2012, the man nicknamed ‘Jackpot’ hails from Stoke-on-Trent and is a long-time follower of his local football team in the Potteries.

As a youngster, Lewis wanted to follow in the footsteps of Gordon Banks, the England World Cup winning goalkeeper who also spent six years playing for Stoke. In an interview with the Daily Mirror, he said: “Coming from Stoke, I wanted to be the next Gordon Banks, and I was a promising goalkeeper as a teenager. I was on the books at Crewe Alexandra and Dean Greygoose, the goalkeeping coach, was going to give me a trial with the first-team squad, even though I was only 16, when I seriously injured my hand.”

Lewis has been spotted several times watching Stoke at the Bet365 Stadium, and has been a regular visitor at the club taking part in darts exhibitions along with other professional players. After winning the first of his two world titles, he was introduced on the pitch as a guest at the Bet365 Stadium at half-time during their FA Cup third round game against Cardiff City. That season the Potters made it all the way to the final, beating Bolton Wanderers 5-0 in the semi-finals at Wembley, before losing 1-0 to Manchester City in the final.

Lewis decided to take a break from playing on the PDC circuit in March 2023, but still remains active on the exhibition scene. In February 2024, Lewis partnered up with Bobby George for a ‘Championship Darts Evening’ at Stoke’s ground, which saw the pair face off against City players and supporters on the oche.

Raymond van Barneveld – ADO Den Haag

What football team does Raymond van Barneveld support? Raymond van Barneveld supports the Dutch football team ADO Den Haag. The Dutchman follows the fortunes of his local club who are based in The Hague, in the Netherlands, where ‘Barney’ resides from.

The five-time world champion’s association with Den Haag extends beyond being a supporter, with the club making him an ambassador and he has been invited onto the pitch at half-time during a home game to be introduced to the crowd. Van Barneveld has shown his club colors during tournaments in the past, either incorporating the green and yellow Den Haag colors into his darts shirt or wearing a club scarf during the walk on to the stage.

Van Barneveld became a household name in the Netherlands during the late 1990s, winning back-to-back BDO World Darts Championships in 1998 and 1999. The second of those victories was watched by more than 4 million people in his home country, and he was invited to the Zuiderpark Stadium, then the home ground of Den Haag, to celebrate his success.

Michael van Gerwen – PSV

What football team does Michael van Gerwen support? Michael van Gerwen follows the Dutch football team PSV Eindhoven. ‘The Green Machine’ is an avid supporter of PSV and has been a special guest at the club’s Philips Stadion ground multiple times in the past.

In 2017, the Dutchman paraded the PDC World Darts Championship trophy at the home of his favorite football team after winning the title for a second time. Van Gerwen walked onto the pitch holding the trophy, and swapped his trademark green darts shirt for the red and white stripes of the PSV home strip.

Two years later, van Gerwen was honored again by the club, as he was given another lap of honor after winning his third World Championship title in 2019.

PSV fans are also known to sing van Gerwen’s name to the tune of his walk-on song, in the same way he is greeted by the darts crowds at Alexandra Palace and at other tournaments.

Dave Chisnall – Liverpool

What football team does Dave Chisnall support? The Dave Chisnall football team of choice is Liverpool. The St Helens-born darts star has been a long-time follower of the Reds and is often spotted at Anfield cheering on the team.

In 2017, ‘Chizzy’ made a guest appearance on LFCTV, the club’s in-house media channel and was given a behind the scenes tour of Anfield. Chisnall has also named Steven Gerrard, the former Liverpool midfielder, as one of his sporting heroes.

Check out the entire range of officially licensed Liverpool FC darts equipment, including darts, dartboards, surrounds, cabinets and other accessories.

Stephen Bunting – Liverpool

What football team does Stephen Bunting support? Stephen Bunting is a big Liverpool fan and has a close connection with the club. In 2014, ‘The Bullet’ went onto the pitch at Anfield at half-time during a match with Aston Villa to parade his BDO World Darts Championship trophy he won at Lakeside.

Bunting met his Liverpool idol Steven Gerrard when he visited Anfield, and followed up his Lakeside win with his first major title in the PDC ranks at the 2024 Masters. He has said in an interview he would like to parade his latest big trophy on the pitch at Anfield.

He said: “I would have to speak to people at the club, but I would love to do something like that trophy parade again. I remember Steven Gerrard looking at me and thinking, ‘who’s he?’ but it was a special day.”

Phil Taylor – Port Vale

What football team does Phil Taylor support? Phil Taylor is a lifelong supporter of Port Vale – his hometown team. The 16-time world champion grew up about half a mile from the club’s home ground Vale Park and attended matches as a child.

In 1990, ‘The Power’ was invited to Vale Park to celebrate the first of his 16 world titles, parading the BDO World Darts Championship trophy on the pitch.

Taylor also revealed he also follows the fortunes of several other football teams in his local area, including Stoke City and Crewe Alexandra, but the Phil Taylor football team is Port Vale when asked.

“I am a Port Vale fan,” he told talkSPORT. “My dad was a fan, he used to take me down in them days, lift me over the turnstile because we couldn’t afford to pay and then I carried on being a fan of them.”

More Darts Fun

Many of the top professional darts players have a keen interest in football, and in all sports in general. As well as being a Manchester United fan, Luke Littler is also a supporter of the Warrington Wolves rugby league side, whilst Michael Smith follows the St Helens Saints team and paraded his 2023 PDC World Darts Championship trophy at the club’s stadium. The general atmosphere at darts and football events is similar, with both sports having a large crossover of fans who follow a football team and also enjoy watching the darts.

Check out the ‘Darts Fun’ section of the blog for more interesting content about the professional players. Are you a darts fan who is football mad? Take a look at our soccer darts range with officially licensed darts products for a growing list of football teams around the world.

Pictures: PDC

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