James Wade is a true master of his trade....a darting craftsman.
He continues to rewrite the darting history books. He is one of the very best players of the modern era and is surely destined to become a World Champion.
A new long term deal with Unicorn will take the partnership between 'The Machine' and the world's leading darts company to close on 15 years.
Happy, healthy, married and continuing to throw top quality darts. He is ready to add to his list of big titles and will continue to chase "the one that really matters" - the World Championship.
He has won SEVEN ‘Majors” as well as winning the hearts of darts fans around the world.
His triumph in winning the 2014 Masters in Edinburgh has gone down as one of the greatest comebacks in PDC history to win a TV Final.
Wade has earned huge respect by turning both his life and his career round. He has courageously battled depression, spent time in the Priory Clinic and has got his bipolar condition under control.
And he has also sought help and advice from darting legend Eric Bristow, who will now be in Wade's corner at all the big TV events. You have the feeling that the link-up with 'The Crafty Cockney' will see 'The Machine' reap the rewards.
The last couple of years have seen many successes on the Pro Tour, plus 9 darters on the circuit, but it is the big trophies that Wade will chase. He lost the final of the 2015 World Matchplay to Michael van Gerwen - the 5th time he has suffered defeat in the Blackpool final, but the venue still holds special memories. It was the scene of his first ever 'Major' title back in 2007.
Losing to Gary Anderson 5-1 in the quarter-finals of the 2016 World Championship will be used as a major motivation. "One of my worst ever performances', was the honest Wade assessment. Expect it to spur him on!
The victory at The Masters in Scotland epitomised the Wade spirit, fight and determination. His first 'Major' title since the 2011 UK Open and what a story! It looked all over. He trailed King 0-5 and 2-9, but somehow found a way. Wade grew in confidence as his opponent visibly buckled under the pressure and the Unicorn star won superbly 11-10.
"I just got a sniff that Mervyn was hitting a wall. I started to hit everything. It was a memorable night, that's for sure," Wade said.
‘The Machine’ made more history in October 2014 when he hit a 9 darter at the World Grand Prix in Dublin…..the feat had only ever been achieved once before at the tournament which of course, features the unique double-to-start. But Wade and opponent Robert Thornton hit history-making 9 darters in the same match! Sadly Wade lost the WGP Final to Van Gerwen that year but his stock was growing once more.
A former Premier League champion, he was left out of the 2014 event - a controversial decision, but a decision which also helped to turn his career round and shape the future.....a bright future where more big titles are surely guaranteed and one day he will be crowned World Champion.
He couldn't be happier!
Marriage to long-time girlfriend Sammi Marsh in 2015 and it completes the circle for the Unicorn star. Sammi now also looks after and guides James' career. It is the perfect partnership.
“Sammi has been a massively positive influence on my life. There is no doubt that without her I wouldn't be where I am now.” Wade admitted.
Back in the Premier League in 2015 and 2016 and very much part of the hugely successful World Series, James Wade can surely achieve anything he wants to in what is now the most competitive era in the history of professional darts.
He has won the World Matchplay, the Premier League, the World Grand Prix twice, the UK Open twice and The Masters. Add to that Championship League Darts in 2010 and a host of titles on the PDC Pro Tour, and you can see why Wade is so highly regarded.
June 2014 was also a significant moment because Wade won his first title for nearly three years when he came from 1-4 down to beat Steve Beaton 6-4 to win the Gibraltar Darts Trophy. It set him course to win the Masters a few months later.
But his fight against depression has won him a lot of respect and support. That's why it was extra special when in the summer of 2011, he was rewarded with a 6th ‘Major’ PDC title, when he won the UK Open Finals at Bolton for a second time.
The tears of joy and relief that came with his victory in the final over Wes Newton at the Reebok told their own story….a story of a brave struggle against illness, a stint in The Priory Clinic, but a steely determination to come out the other side as a better person and a better darts player.
He has suffered from the condition all his life – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – and it will always be with him, but it is now under control and it is onward and upward for James Wade who has had the courage to talk about his problems away from the sport and the bravery to forge a successful career.
In the final, Wade secured an 11-8 win over Wes Newton…..it was an emotional win.
Those seven ‘Major’ titles are all well and good – but that isn’t close to being enough for THE best left-hander in the world of darts….he wants to be No.1 and he wants to be crowned World Champion.
Remember after months of struggles in 2010, he put some of the bad times behind him, to win two big titles in less than a week, against the backdrop of his health issues – problems that nobody really knew the extent of.
First, Wade won the 2010 World Grand Prix in Dublin, then five days later, he switched off ‘The Power’ to win Championship League Darts.
His achievements were even more remarkable when you consider the problems that he was suffering away from darts.
‘The Machine’ came back from 1-3 and 4-5 to beat Taylor 6-5 in a brilliant final, where both players averaged around 112….and this victory came hot on the heels of a 5th ‘Major’, when Wade beat Adrian Lewis to claim the World Grand Prix title for a second time.
It wasn’t the most spectacular of finals, but Wade got the job done – hitting key doubles at crucial times to win by six sets to three.
And he showed once again that form may be temporary but class is permanent.
Wade though, was to suffer one of the low points of his career at the Grand Slam of Darts.
In November 2010, he looked on course to win the tournament in Wolverhampton but collapsed in the final…..he was 8-0 in front against Scott Waites, but his game went to pieces and he ended up losing the final 16-12.
The health issues certainly didn’t help and little was he to know it at the time, but the World Championship defeat to Mensur Suljovic that followed, turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Wade got the help, support and treatment that he needed.
He won TV ‘Major’ No.4 at the 2009 Premier League, but couldn’t repeat the dose 12 months later, despite a rollercoaster PL ride!
Wade was going through some problems away from darts at the start of 2010 and that reflected in his performances….in the start PL, he really struggled and didn’t win a match until week six…..but once he got his game head on, Wade showed what he can do.
Wade managed to finish in third place in the table….he then beat Simon Whitlock 8-6 in a tense semi-final, to set up another meeting with Taylor…..it is a final that he lost at Wembley, but he was involved in one of the most astonishing games in the history of the sport.
Of course, Taylor hit two 9-darters and nearly hit a third, but Wade nearly won! Taylor just won by 10 legs to 8....only the 9 dart legs were the difference!
He had also been involved in some epics at the World Championship….losing one of the best matches in the history of the tournament in 2010 to Simon Whitlock in the quarter-finals.
It was a match that featured 24 x 180s, countless ton plus check-outs and some thrilling drama. But from three sets apiece, Whitlock reeled off six consecutive legs to win the game.
It meant more Alexandra Palace disappointment, because three times, he has got to the semi-finals and been halted.
The defeat that hurt most of all came at the 2012 World Championship. In fact Wade was involved in two of the most dramatic games in WC history. First he managed to beat John Part in an incredible quarter-final which was decided in a final set sudden-death leg.
But when many were tipping him to win the big one, he suffered a huge blow in the semi-finals as he lost to Adrian Lewis 6-5 after the Unicorn ace led 5 sets to 1. It hurt. It really hurt Wade.
A year later, Wade lost in the Ally Pally semi-finals for a third time when he went down 6-4 to Van Gerwen. The first S/Final World Championship defeat came in 2009 at the hands of Van Barneveld, by the same 6-4 scoreline.
But everyone firmly believes that his moment at the Ally Pally will come. "I do, otherwise what's the point! said Wade.
He won his 4th ‘Major’ title – the PL crown at Wembley in 2009, to add to those victories at the World Grand Prix, World Matchplay and UK Open.
He beat Mervyn King in the PL Final by 13 legs to 8, after a brilliant 10-8 triumph over Raymond van Barneveld in the semi-finals.
And was it really back in June 2008 that Wade’s win over Gary Mawson to win the UK Open for the first time, completed that fabulous hat-trick of ‘Major’ crowns inside just 10 months?
Add to that his first ever televised 9 darter at the Grand Slam of Darts and you can see why he is one of the best in the business.
That magical moment for Wade came at the Grand Slam of Darts II in Wolverhampton in his 2nd Round match against Gary Anderson. It was an historic achievement for Wade but back then, there was no cash prize for a 9-darter and he lost the match 10-8 after being 7-5 in front.
Wade has now thrown SIX 9 darters in competition.....the last coming on the Pro Tour in 2015.
Clearly though, it isn’t good enough for the perfectionist that is ‘The Machine’.
Remember, Wade also became the first man to beat Phil Taylor in the history of the Premier League – with victory on the opening night of the 2008 event in Glasgow – to end Taylor’s 44-match unbeaten run.
His triumphs in Blackpool and Dublin were just rewards for the best left-hander in world darts. He was outstanding at The Winter Gardens and the City West Hotel – proving once and for all that he is a major player in the darts world.
He beat fellow Team Unicorn star Terry Jenkins in both finals – demolishing ‘The Bull’ 18 legs to 7 in Blackpool, with a 97 average…..then winning the World Grand Prix by 6 sets to 3.
It was at the Winter Gardens in 2007 that he claimed his first big title…..he beat Wayne Jones and was then involved in a mini-classic. After missing 11 darts for victory, he finally overcame Dennis Priestley 16-14 in a tie-break. ‘The Menace’ actually bent the wire on double top with his only dart to win – but Wade rode his luck and got better and better.
A surprisingly easy victory over Mervyn King was followed by that win against Adrian Lewis in the semi-finals and Wade then raced to a 17-7 win, boasting one of the best check-out rates in the 14-year history of the tournament. From 9-7 in front, he won eight consecutive legs, averaged 102, hit five ton plus finishes (and three more in the 90s!) and that 68 per cent check-out success was simply amazing!
In fact, it was in 2006 that Wade gave a hint of what was to come, when he reached the quarter-finals of the International Darts League in Holland, where he was beaten by Gary Anderson, despite a brilliant 106 average.
And in the summer of 2006, we all witnessed first hand what James Wade is really all about, when he reached his first final at the World Matchplay in Blackpool.
He lost the final to Phil Taylor but gave Taylor a real run for his money – missing darts to take a 10-5 lead - and his achievement of going one step further in 2007 at The Winter Gardens spoke volumes for his temperament and talent.
It is fair to say that one of the most significant events in Wade’s career can be traced back to that summer of 2006. After failing to qualify for the 2006 Las Vegas Desert Classic, he quit his job as a full-time mechanic to become a darts professional. More than a decade on, it has been a heck of a journey. Nowadays, working on cars is his hobby! It takes his mind off darts and is the perfect way to relax for 'The Machine'.
It is difficult to believe that he only started to play competitive darts some 15 years ago. Wade explains: “I went to play for my dad’s team Ash Royal British Legion in a local league and amazingly checked out 109 in my first match. That was it. I was hooked!”
And it is a career which has seen him win around £2.5 million in prize money alone. Wade really is one of the best players in the modern era.
In all, Wade has lost in 10 'Major' finals, so his record in such a short space of time is astonishing. And in 2013 he was unlucky to lose in the semi-finals of five TV 'Majors'.
It was way back in 2005 – yes, he really has been around that long - that Wade won his first big PDC title. He lifted the Irish Masters crown in Rosslare, beating Steve Maish convincingly in the final.
It has been some journey since then hasn't it!
“Without darts, I hate to think where my life would be and which path I would have gone down,” he said. “But this sport is now a passion….a passion with huge rewards and thanks to Sammi the future looks so good. I am very happy, very positive and very optimistic for the years ahead."
James Wade is one of the very best in the world. He has nothing to prove, but still plenty to achieve and he will add to his count of 'Majors' that's for sure. Hopefully the one that's so far got away - the Sid Waddell World Championship trophy - will be part of the James Wade darting legacy sooner rather than later!