Phil 'The Power'' Taylor threw his last dart, watched Rob Cross close out a comfortable 7-2 victory, shook his hand and then went over and kissed the trophy. As he left the stage, the baritone voice of Chris Martin played him out.
I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
He reigned as the greatest for nearly three decades but that era was unquestionably over on Monday night. Rob Cross, at just 27, signals a new generation for darts. Taylor was obviously aware of this, as he revealed to the Guardian he requested the Coldplay track that saw him off.
I’m nearly 58. I’ve outlived my dad, believe it or not. I asked to go off the stage to Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, because I used to rule the world and I don’t anymore. I’m just going to pass it over, let them do it. I don’t think Rob Cross will dominate but I do I think he and Michael van Gerwen are going to rule it for the next five years.
Taylor is a controversial figure who polarises dart fans. It was an approach similar to Mike Tyson's, the opponent often seemed beat before he stepped into the ring. Even in the aftermath, he was unforgiving. He recently criticized Derry's Daryl Gurney, who he beat in a game last month, for not pouring him a glass of water:
He's a youngster. You know what he did wrong? He poured a glass of water and left me out. I thought, 'you cheeky young so-and-so.
Respect. It's called respect. Without me, there would be no PDC. So have some respect. Come on.
He doubled down on his claim in an interview later with Dutch TV:
I thought, 'you disrespectful little shit'. That's my exact thought. I'll get you, I'll get you for that.
Taylor is as aware as anyone of his brand. His unpopularity has been over-arching throughout his career. He has endured despite indecent assault convictions, numerous in-game controversies and a prolonged legal case against the British Darts Organisation.
After Monday's final Taylor was asked about the up-and-comers and had mixed feelings about their ability. He responded in his usual provocative style.
The game’s going to change, of course it is. It’s like every football team, every Formula One team. If the change is good, fair play. There’s a few players in the future where I’d sit down and watch them. Then there’s a few players where, would I go to the back garden and watch them? No. I wouldn’t.
Taylor famously rebuked Michael Van Gerwan earlier this year after he beat the Dutchman 16-6 at Blackpool's Winter Gardens and felt Van Gerwan was disrespectful of his ability. “I'll say it now and I'll say it to his face: Come on, Michael – this is professional sport. Grow up."
In fairness to Taylor, he praised Rob Cross after the final and tipped him and Van Gerwan to share the top crown for the next five years.
Despite the criticism, Taylor was a part of what makes the darts what it is. The Englishman was always entertaining, his ability was peerless, his demeanour and confidence part of what allowed him to dominate. As he recently revealed in an interview with the Independent, that's the way you had to be in order to be the greatest.
You had to do your apprenticeship. Learn your trade. You had to be selfish, cocky, dedicated.
Taylor has done as much for the growth for the game as Sky Sports have. The man is greater than any savvy PR marketer. More box office than any heavily-produced promo. A man who simultaneously courted a cult-following and widespread resentment. The Alex Ferguson effect.
You can argue about the figure he was, but within darts, there is no doubt his departure leaves a void in the game.