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'Jesus lookalike' darts fan ejected for 'distracting players' at Butlins Minehead

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: December 13, 2012

  • Nathan Grindal, who was ejected from the match between Phil Taylor and loser Kim Huybrechts

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Top darts players can’t normally get enough of ‘doubles’ – but a fan who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jesus was kicked out of a major tournament as he was putting off the players.

Bearded darts fan Nathan Grindal was kicked out of a live televised final after the 4,500-strong crowd interrupted play by chanting about him.

Mr Grindal was enjoying the clash between Phil Taylor and Kim Huybrechts when some of the audience spotted his likeness to the traditional portrayal of Jesus.

Chants of “Jesus” quickly spread through the rowdy crowd packed into the venue on the Butlin’s resort at Minehead on the Somerset coast.

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Security staff were called amid fears that Mr Grindal’s presence was upsetting the concentration of ex-world champion Taylor and his Belgian rival.

The labourer was close to tears as six bouncers removed him from the Cash Converters Players’ Championship, which was being broadcast on ITV4.

As he left, a chant of “Stand up if you love Jesus” broke out, with many of the crowd getting to their feet.

Mr Grindal, 33, was escorted to a nearby bar where the security staff bought him a pint and told him to watch the rest of the final on television.

He saw the legendary Taylor win – and then found himself being asked to pose for signed photos with fans as they left the arena.

Mr Grindal, who emigrated from his native Australia to live in Oxford six years ago, said yesterday: “I didn’t go to the darts dressed as Jesus – I went as me.

“It was all very weird and distressing. I didn’t break down crying but I did get emotionally distraught.

“They were bullying me and picking on me, saying that I was someone else. It would have been okay if the security hadn’t made a fuss getting me out of the arena.

“I was evicted for something I have no control over. I felt discriminated against.”

Mr Grindal, who began growing his beard four months ago, had booked a three-day stay with five friends at Butlin’s earlier this month to watch the darts.

He added: “After the tournament ended, I must admit a lot of people went to get autographs and signed photos from me. I signed a few pieces of paper – but in my real name, not Jesus.

“In his post-match interview, Phil Taylor said something like ‘if I ever see Jesus again, I’ll crucify him myself.’ Now that’s just hurtful.

“I love darts, but I’m worried about ever going to see it live again, just in case the crowd turns on me like they did last time.”

Dave Allen, spokesman for the Professional Darts Corporation, said Mr Grindal was ejected as a precaution to prevent his presence becoming a nuisance to the players. He said: “There was a lot of chanting and I think to avoid it becoming too much of a distraction for the players, he was taken by security to another part of the complex.

“We want everyone who comes to have a good time and we do not want one fan to become a problem for the players and to possibly affect play.”

He added: “There is plenty of audience participation. They are encouraged to support the players within certain boundaries. The fact they can buy four-pint pitchers certainly helps.”


Photos: Cash Converters Players Championship - day three

Photos: Cash Converters Players Championship - day two

Photos: Cash Converters Players Championship - day one

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  • SummatFishy  |  December 14 2012, 9:58PM

    He wasn't putting the players off, the crowd was. Appropriately reminiscent of Easter.

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  • nigant  |  December 14 2012, 8:34PM

    As in most portraits of the 'supposed' Jesus, he had dark hair and a dark beard, as he was supposed to be middle eastern. Not many blonde haired, ginger bearded men in that part of the world. Just Google 'Jesus Pictures' and have a look! As Eyeopener says, Butlins failed badly on this one and the crowd are also culpable for their behaviour, very poor indeed.

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  • 2ladybugs  |  December 13 2012, 6:10PM

    Flipping heck, I actually agree with you for once eyeopener, this doesn't bode well :(( What a stupid turn of events. Jesus in all probability would have been sallow skinned if he was from North Africa, and beige blonde hair!!?? I thought Christianity was dying so why this outburst of faith. Talk about discrimination.

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  • eyeopener  |  December 13 2012, 2:57PM

    If Nathan Grindal had turned up like the Naked Rambler who is infamous in the press and on tv for his exploits one could understand this, but someone with long hair and moustache and beard turns up to view a tournament and gets ejected for apparently looking like Jesus. Form the crowds behaviour who would have thought that they had any familiarity with Jesus? It is claimed that he resembles the traditional portrayal of Jesus. Overlooking the fact that he was wearing an open necked shirt, and jeans or trousers, then so does everyone else with long hair, a moustache and a beard. Are they all to be denied entry? The real story here is about the failure of the Butlin's resort at Minehead on the Somerset coast to organise a darts competion with sufficient security staff complete with the requisite crowd control skills. Somerset hosts many large events successfully, not least Glastonbury. Imagine them ejecting all the visitors who arrived with long hair, a moustache and a beard! If this is the standard of security that Butlins at Minehead provide, would you really want to take your family there?

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