Richard Stanway, 33, is a darts enthusiast, originally from the West Midlands. Now, Richard is well-known across the darting universe for his ridicously-impressive collection of darts memorabilia, which ranges from match-worn shirts, to signed darts sets, replica shirts, with over 700 items at his disposal.
Now, Richard is a massive Michael van Gerwen supporter, and his admiration and obsession with the green machine is there for everyone to see, with a magnanimous array of MVG items, which is recognised even by the world no.1 himself.
I managed to catch up with the darts fanatic, talking through his collection, his obsession with the sport and in particular, the world no.1, Michael van Gerwen.
So where did this obsession all begin for Richard, you ask?
“My love of darts all stemmed from when I was very young, really, watching the BDO World Championships every year from the Lakeside. Also, on a Sunday evening watching the legendary Bullseye on television.”
Now, as previously mentioned, Richard is a massive Michael Van Gerwen supporter, arguably his no.1 fan, so where did his admiration for the Dutchman all begin?
“Yes, I’m a huge fan of Michael [van Gerwen]. I’ve followed his career for a long time and I’ve just always loved his passion and appetite for winning. He’s such a great ambassador for the sport and he’s very good with the fans.”
Now, Richard had the privilege of not only meeting the world no.1, but he had the opportunity to play the world no.1 at an exhibition, it was a very special moment for the 33-year old, as you’d expect. But what Richard probably didn’t expect was to be given Michael’s personal 9-dart pin badge that he given by the PDC for hitting a nine-darter.
“To play Michael at an exhibition was a real ‘bucket list’ moment for me, personally.”
Now just moving through Richard’s collection, using the link provided here, just where did his collection all begin?
“My collection all started with a signed John Lowe shirt, which he gave me after I played him in an exhibition at the age of 14. But, my collection didn’t really begin until around eight years ago.
“I wanted to start building a complete MVG collection (pictured above) from the beginning. But, my love for darts led me to keep purchasing anything that ‘caught my eye’. I certainly didn’t think that I would’ve accumulated as many items as I have to-date. It’s a hobby and I’m extremely proud.”
So away from Richard’s obsession with van Gerwen and the hundreds of items that he’s collected involving the green machine, collecting darts items has helped bring ‘Stanners’ closer to the darting world, making new friends in the process and building relationships with not only players, but their supporters and friends, also.
“I own over 700 items, now and my collection is still growing. The best thing about collecting is that it’s brought me closer to the sport I love. I’ve met lots of great people from the darting world, making plenty of new friends. Even a lot of the ‘top players’ know who I am, through my collection, and it’s so surreal, for me.”
Being from the West Midlands, originally, quite a hotbed of darting prowess with the likes of Jamie Hughes, Wayne Jones and Luke Woodhouse to name a few. Now, Luke Woodhouse is a player that really has a lot of time for Richard, and recently paid a home visit to surprise Richard with some memorabilia of his own.
“Although, I live in Worcestershire now, I’m originally from Tipton in the Black Country. Yes, Luke is very local to me, he’s a great player and we have mutual friends, so I’ve been able to chat with him at local knockouts etc.
“Occasionally, I like to do ‘good deeds’ for people, and Luke was one of those. He was really grateful for what I did, so he decided to surprise me in return, with a signed shirt, prototype darts and a case. That’s what I like about the darts world, people like to do nice things for one another.”
With the darts world generating, generally a very friendly atmosphere, Richard came up with a fantastic new initiative, creating the ‘Darts Museum’ – a group on Facebook, bringing darts collectors like Richard closer together, sharing their collections worldwide.
“Obviously, 2020 has been a very challenging year for us all,” said Stanway. “Whilst in lockdown, I decided to create a group on social media for people to interact and share their love for darts and collecting etc.
“I decided to name it ‘Darts Museum’ because it can be a place for people to use as a reference point for all things old and new. There are so many people that share the same passion I have and they all seem to love the group. We even have little bits of ‘Darts Museum’ merchandise avaiable.”
With owning so many memorabilia items, Richard has built up quite a realtionship with darts management companies. The vast majority are easy to contact and always happy to help.
“I’ve dealt with players directly, but also had to go through their respective management companies. Jason Thame, Mac Elkin and Stephanie Gilmour, to name a few, have been amazing to deal with. It’s all about building up a level of respect.
“Memorabilia is a big business these days and you have to be willing to pay the going rate for these items. Also, you must remain patient as they’re, generally extremely busy people. Usually managing many players at events.”
Now, with Richard having over 700 items to choose from, I put him on the spot and asked him to name his top five items and the reason behind the selection.
5. Match-used Devon Petersen darts
“These were given to me after working with Devon at a day-long bus tour exhibition.”
4. Original match-worn Rob Cross shirt
“An original Target match-worn Rob Cross shirt, prior to his nickname ‘Voltage’ being used.”
3. Adrian Lewis match-used items
“Match-worn shirt, match-used darts and personal darts case that belonged to Adrian Lewis.”
2. 2019 Premier League Final used match-board
“The match-board used from the 2019 Premier League Final at the o2, London. Signed by the winner.”
1. Michael van Gerwen nine-dart pin badge
“Nine-dart pin badge given to me personally from Michael van Gerwen’s personal collection.”
Make sure to follow Richard on Twitter