A DARTS player was today (Monday, February 4) in a critical condition after being attacked outside a club following a match.

Father-of-four Paul Skelton has been treated in intensive care with serious head injuries after the assault outside the Whale Hill Social Club, Eston, Middlesbrough.

The 44-year-old from Middlesbrough, well known on the North-East darts scene, was found unconscious outside the club at about 8.30pm on Saturday, February 2.

Staff at the Whale Hill Club told The Northern Echo that the trouble happened outside and they were unaware of any problem inside the club.

On an online darts forum a message was left saying Mr Skelton has sustained a fractured skull and swelling to the brain, although those injuries have not been confirmed by the hospital.

One friend, left a message saying: “Absolute shock. Skello is a stand-up gent. Why anyone would do that is beyond me. All the best, legend.”

Another said: “Tragic news. Get well soon, Skello. Hope they get the guy who did this, but more importantly hope Paul recovers.”

Mr Skelton was taken to Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital and his condition was today described as critical but stable.

Anyone with information should call police on 101.