Dave Clark: Stepping away from role as presenter of Sky Sports darts coverage

10 July 2020, 09:47 | Updated: 13 July 2020, 10:17

It's been an amazing journey, 22 years performing on Sky Sports, nearly 10 years with a chronic degenerative neurological condition. Quite an innings, doing the best job in the world.

When I was diagnosed with Parkinson's a 'specialist' said I'd only be able to present live sport for two or three more years. Nearly a decade after that diagnosis, I can still present live television, on stage, in front of 10,000 people.

I've decided I want to stop now, still in control, still able to do the job, still able to enjoy it.

I recently watched a Muhammad Ali documentary on Sky and was reminded of the great man's 1980 clash with Larry Holmes. Ali was a shell of his former self.

Early onset Parkinson's meant he had no reflexes, no speed, no punch.

Nothing, except his pride and the crowd chanting, 'Ali! Ali!'. Finally, after 10 rounds, Angelo Dundee, Ali's trainer, stopped the carnage, waving the towel. I don't want that to be me.

The last thing I want is for someone to throw in the towel for me or for darts fans to feel uncomfortable or sorry for me as my Parkinson's progresses.

Lockdown has given us all a lot of time to think, on occasions too much time, but it's given me time to sort out my priorities.

Family comes first. I'm keen to spend more days with my wife and two sons. Time is a real luxury that so many have been denied during this difficult period.

I'm NOT giving up on life, just stopping doing the darts. I intend to keep busy, writing a book "Stand Up If You Love The Darts" about my time presenting during some of the sport's greatest years.

I'm hoping to stay involved in broadcasting in some capacity and will continue to raise awareness of Parkinson's and fundraising to find a cure through my chosen charity Parkinson's UK.

Despite the support of a great team, the last few years haven't been easy. At times it's been extremely stressful presenting whilst having Parkinson's.

Parkinson's is a one-way street, the day won't be far away when I'd struggle on air. I'm a proud man and have decided that I'd like to go with my dignity intact, rather than continuing until something goes wrong.

Sky have been very supportive over the years, it's 100 per cent my decision to check out of the darts.

I'm really proud to have launched Sky Sports News, anchored the darts throughout its meteoric rise and presented the boxing, including Ricky Hatton's biggest fights, some of Carl Froch's memorable nights and Anthony Joshua's pro debut.

It's been a fabulous journey with some incredible people. It's not the end, just the start of the next chapter in my life.

Thanks for your support over the years. Let's have a beer sometime.