The ‘Man in Black’, is a traditional figure in sport and many other areas of pop culture. He is often the villain of the piece or the one who is difficult to like. Nothing could be less true of darts’ own ‘Man in Black’ Alan Glazier.
Glazier, who died on November 12th 2020, was hugely popular with fans and fellow players alike and was in the vanguard of those who made the game in Darts’ early professional days. In addition, he was an inspiration to many left handed players of the generation which followed.
Although Alan’s trophy cabinet was not as stocked as some of that era’s iconic figures he was a fine player in his own right and somewhat unfortunate to pay in the shadow of such luminaries as Bristow, Lowe , Lennard and Bobby George. He came to prominence in 1975 reaching the final of the British Open, losing out to Alan Evans.
Glazier reached the semi finals of the World Championships in 1986 as well as the final of The News of The World event, missing out to Bobby George, as early as 1979. Glazier triumphed in the Swedish and North American Opens during the late 1970s.
On his 1986 Lakeside run he had this to say:
“I had three hard games to get to the semi-finals,” Glazier recalls. “I was 3-0 up on Terry and won 4-3 in the end and it finished at 1 o’clock in the morning! The next day I played Eric and my arm was killing me. It gradually wore off, but I was 3-0 down and fought back (eventually losing 5-3). I thought that was going to be my year, but never mind.” (Weekly Dartscast 2020)
Along the way he picked up an additional moniker ‘The Ton Machine’, any watcher would soon see why. Glazier was hugely consisitent and did indeed appear to secure almost constant cries of “One Hundred” from the match scorers.
Alan had a very steady, calm throw with the darts tending to lean left on entry. He signature dart has been manufactured by both Winmau and later McKicks. The dart is an excellent starting point for many different styles of throw and the 21g example, used by the man himself, is perfectly balanced.
Glazier was also a fine team and international player who represented England twenty-seven times up until 1988. He retired from competitive BDO darts in 1989 but continued to play exhibitions and entertaining the darting public for many more years.
“The exhibitions went on for the rest of my career. I was doing more exhibitions than I was playing in tournaments! I was on the road six days a week. I was the first professional. I was doing exhibitions, which nobody else did…..” (Weekly Dartscast 2020)
As with many trailblazers, as new starts are born and new eras made, his career began to fade from the memory. Fortunately, for all darts fans Glazier, approaching 80, was spotted playing in a local open, simply for fun, a couple of years ago. Social media did its thing and within days reviews of Alan’s career, along with classic and modern photos, began to appear. An excellent appearance on The Weekly Dartscast during the first 2020 lockdown was perhaps the best of these.
Whether you remember him as ‘The Ton Machine’, ‘The Man in Black’ or as the best lefty of his generation, darts was the better for having Glazier in it and is poorer for his departure.