It would be easier to be English for Germany's darts champ
Germany's darts champion Andy Kroeckel admits fame and fortune would have been easier to come by if he was English, as the engineer struggles for recognition on the oche (throw line) here.
While world number one Phil "The Power" Taylor is a millionaire back in his native England, Kroeckel, who has been crowned German champion 27 times, is a modest 46-year-old electrical engineer by day and a darts champion at night.
While 15-time world champion Taylor received the MBE honour from the Queen in 2002, Kroeckel is unheard of in Germany, despite having represented his country 53 times on the oche.
While Taylor plays for big money, Kroeckel tends to play mainly for applause in Germany's pubs.
"Then people sit around here and ask themselves why I am not an Englishman," he joked
England's world champion Phil Taylor competes during his final match at the Professional Darts Corporation world championship in 2010. Germany's darts champion Andy Kroeckel admits fame and fortune would have been easier to come by if he was English as the engineer struggles for recognition, and while Taylor plays for big money, Kroeckel tends to play for applause in Germany's pubs
With big prize money available at Britain's top darts tournaments, Kroeckel admits he sometimes looks across the North Sea with envy.
"There are some tournaments with 500,000 pounds in prize money. And that's for just throwing a few arrows at a wall," he said with a smile.
But Kroeckel admits he prefers playing in the quiet pubs of Germany rather than packed halls in England.
"I think it should still be the sport at the fore and not the event," he said.
"There is always a good atmosphere here, but things get tense over there and beer glasses get thrown.
"Things are a bit calmer here when you are on the oche. Darts is a sport of concentration."
While darts originated in British pubs, Kroeckel says he strictly limits the amount of alcohol he drinks when playing -- only two beers.
"But too much is not good, then you don't throw properly," he said.
"No one should ever play drunk, but there is nothing wrong with a quiet beer or two."
The German plays for at least half an hour every day and has a dartboard at his place of work, for the occasional throw during breaks.
He has played as far afield as Australia and Las Vegas, but he always returns to his home town of Gladbeck, West Germany.
"Darts for me is still a hobby," he said.
"You have to have had the right ambition, but you have to have fun."