If someone asked you to name an iconic British sportsman, darts player Ted 'The Count' Hankey probably wouldn't be top of your list. You'll never see him in an advert for pants, aftershave, scotch or some random Japanese products a la David Beckham... but you might see him down the graveyard.
I hope one day I end up as a talking head on a Channel 5 programme called 'Best British Sports Icons of All Time part 6' so I can preach my love for darts player Ted Hankey to the whole country.
Until that glorious moment in TV history/my life, I will reveal here why I have always been a bit obsessed with the vampire-loving Midlander.
It all began circa-2000 when I saw the 'Prince of Dartness' being interviewed after a match. The interviewer asked if he was going to "celebrate in a graveyard", to which he replied totally deadpan, "don't joke about what I get up to in graveyards."
If all sportspeople were this cool I probably wouldn't have faked having a broken wrist for the entirety of years 10 and 11 so I didn't have to run about. Maybe darts should be on the curriculum instead of shit sports like tennis.
Hell on wheels
Ted Hankey drives a HEARSE. And why would he drive anything else? He is a living vampire FFS.
It was reported in 2009 that he had splashed out £2,000 on a hearse from the seaside town of Rhyl, North Wales. He was planning to put oche-enemy Phil Taylor in the back of it. "He's dead scared," he sneered.
Obviously as a teenage goth I thought a hearse would be an incredible car to scoot around High Wycombe in. In hindsight, I can barely park a shopping trolley so fuck knows how I would have manoeuvred a multi-storey car park in a second-hand stiff-mobile.
Ted Hankey has TWELVE tattoos, and they are all Dracula/vampire inspired. We can only see a few of these when he is in match-mode, but according to his tattoo artist, he has ones on his chest and back, too.
Cool AF jewellery
Better bling than Liz Taylor
Another of my heroes is Liz Taylor, but despite her arsenal of outrageous baubles and gaudy jewellery sets there was one piece missing from her collection... a solid gold BAT.
Enter Ted Hankey, who like any darts superstar worth his salt is no stranger to a bit of bling -including mandatory fistful of gold rings and chunky flying mammal pendant.
As part of his intro, he also throws rubber bats in to the crowd, it's as much a part of his on-stage persona as his slicked back hair and scowl.
Obviously silver would kill him so it's a cool AND clever choice for him to opt for Egyptian royalty and chav's metal hue of choice.
I like to think that Ted Hankey is always wearing a cape, whether he's playing darts or not. Maybe he has a terry toweling one he can use as a Transylvannian dressing gown? Or a waterproof one for when it rains.
There is something so 'extra' about wearing a cape, and I actually think that it's about time blokes ditched their Peaky Blinders/Tommy Shelby flatcaps and got themselves a Ted-inspired poncho.
Ted Hankey has often been described as a "pantomime villain" of darts, and it's not hard to see why.
Fans love to heckle him, and if they push it too far, this is one vampire that bites back.
It's not surprising he sometimes got a bit lairy. Apparently he also used to sink THIRTEEN pints before a tournament. Now he just has three. Sadly this is one vampire who hasn't got eternal life - or a renewable liver.
Likes heavy metal
There aren't many interviews with Ted Hankey out there, but in this chat he did with a Dutch blog, he revealed he has a passion for heavy metal.
He said: "I love music - I'm a bit of a metal head!"
That doesn't explain why his intro music is gabber (Be On Your Way by DJ Zany), but I guess as a genre it could be described as thrash for pillheads.
Lifelong dedication to the dark side
Ted Hankey doesn't just dress up like a vampire for the enjoyment of darts fans, emulating the Dark Prince has been a lifelong passion.
For him, it began when he was cast as a vampire in a school play. He was born in 1968, so for him to still be playing that part, it's truly the role of a lifetime.
Darts and crafts
While he doesn't pose in his pants like David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo or Freddie Ljunberg, Ted has put his name to something - his own dart case.
The coffin-shaped case is designed "to reflect his love of the vampire". Not 'vampires', but 'the vampire', 'his love of the vampire'.
That description alone is enough to make me want to throw a few arrows.