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The Life and Times of the Great Peter Crouch

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Peter Crouch is one player many can find hard to criticiseIn the last few months, I’ve regularly found myself waking in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, wondering why Peter Crouch isn’t loved anymore. Because he was. He really was. Liverpool fans still loved him when he passed up more scoring opportunities than a celibate priest during his first 19 games for the club; England fans still loved him when he missed a seemingly unmissable chance against Trinidad and Tobago in the 2006 World Cup when the game was still goalless, attempting a frankly ludicrous scissor-kick instead of just kicking the ball into the goal; and Abbey Clancy still loved him after he was alleged by several newspapers to have had an affair with a Spanish prostitute. The thing is, after all these events Crouchy had the luck to be able to redeem himself. Unfortunately for the big striker, his luck seems to be running out.

After slogging away at his career for seven years, Crouch hit the big time. After impressing at Southampton during their desperate relegation dogfight, he moved to the most successful club in England, Liverpool FC, for 7 million pounds. This sort of opportunity would be a dream come true for any footballer, and Crouch hoped to grasp his chance with both hands and make a big impact at his new club. It didn’t work out quite like that: Crouch failed to score in his first 19 games for Liverpool, which equated to over 24 hours of football. For a man whose primary role in life is to kick balls into a net past a solitary gentleman and get paid grotesque amounts of money for doing so, this ‘goal-drought’ should have been disastrous.

Do you know what happens if a drought lasts for too long? Everyone dies of thirst. However, Crouch managed to crawl on through the desert, apparently squeezing every last drop of moisture from all the metaphorical camel dung that he could find, and eventually he came to an oasis in the form of a fluky goal against Wigan. This was then followed by a pretty nice goal later in the same match, but that doesn’t really fit into the drought/desert metaphor so let’s overlook that for now. Anyway, the point is that Crouch’s career was saved by that fluky goal that won back the affections of Liverpool faithful, despite the fact that for four months he couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo. I don’t know why commentators use that metaphor but it seems pretty appropriate here; I doubt Crouch can even play the banjo.

I won’t go into detail about the ridiculous miss against Trinidad and Tobago because Crouch did go on to score a clinical yet dubious goal later in that match, which involved the enormous Englishman yanking on the dreadlocks of Brent Sancho, the Trinidadian defender. And I’ll say even less about his alleged affair in order to avoid any possible libel infringements. However, it’s safe to say that on both occasions Crouchy recovered both professionally and socially. Again, he had the luck to bounce back and regain the affections of affected parties.

But as the 2011-2012 season fast approaches, Crouch’s professional future looks bleak. He’s miles from the Tottenham Hotspur starting 11 and even when he does play he has to deal with the lacklustre service that is provided diligently yet often embarrassingly inadequately from deliverers such as Aaron Lennon and Benoît Assou-Ekotto. You can probably see the dilema.

His situation certainly wasn’t helped when his red card against Real Madrid away was deemed by many as the single greatest reason why Tottenham failed to defeat the Castilian giants and progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League… which isn’t hyperbolic in the slightest. And Peter Crouch’s luck seemed to finally run out when the last goal he scored this season was past his own goalkeeper against Manchester City, to all but hand the Mancunian fiscal heavyweights the final Champions League place. His ultimate demise was perhaps best manifested in the fact that Fabio Capello dropped him for Darren Bent and Bobby ‘The Goal Machine’ Zamora literally just before England’s game against Switzerland at Wembley, which England drew and in which Bent missed a sitter that caused half of the viewing public to be physically sick. You need a lot of luck to bounce back from that one.

It’s hard to overlook Crouch’s age when analysing his fall from grace and his ostensible inability to bounce back from this current batch of misfortune: he’s nearly 31 and for an already almost-immobile striker, it looks like that may have serious physical implications. Also, Crouchy is looking thinner and lankier than ever and the lankier he gets, the more angular his body and limbs become. And as any physicist will tell you, angular objects do not bounce well.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. William

    July 28, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    A fantastic article! This writer has a true gift!

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