Former Norwich City trainee becomes darts pro after horror knee injury
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Jack Main had dreams of being a professional footballer – but a career-ending knee injury dashed those hopes.
But it hasn't stopped him making a name for himself in professional sport. Less than four years after first picking up a set of darts, the 24-year-old has been handed his first tour card by the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC).
"I played for Norwich as a young lad," he said. "When I got released I went to Lowestoft – I was on the verge of signing for their first team when I got injured.
"I snapped my kneecap in three places. I've got three screws in my knee now and they took my cartilage out. My knee was an absolute goner."
After being forced to retire aged 20, he took up darts and soon figured out he was a natural. He made a five-year plan to turn professional – a goal he has now reached after just three and a half years.
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Mr Main, who still lives in Norwich, qualified through a superb performance in the PDC's Q-School Order of Merit, which he won despite only taking part in three out of the four days of play.
He qualifies alongside some famous faces of the sport. Former BDO world champion Scott Mitchell also joins the PDC tour for the first time, while legend Raymond van Barneveld makes his return 14 months after retiring.
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And he doesn't have long to prepare for his professional bow, set for next Thursday as he gets his maiden Players Championship season under way.
That will be followed by the UK Open, dubbed 'the FA Cup of Darts', which will be broadcast live on ITV Sport in March.
Mr Main said he's "pretty happy" with himself, and also expressed his gratitude to fellow Norwich pro Darren Webster who had acted as a mentor to him for two years.
He said: "It was great to be able to not only practice with him, but also to be there when he won one of the pro tours. I was there for quite a few moments in his journey and it was great to learn from him in the practice room.
"You can never say never – it's a random draw – but it would be good to come up against him sooner or later."