Through Gritted Teeth #15: Peter Crouch

by James Shaw

Interior. Court room. Day.

The room is filled with a garish fringe of suits lined up in rows. Each and every face is devoid of glee, while their brains eagerly tick over their weekly schedule despite it having no direct coloration to their current situation. The scene is unnerving.


Fraud is a crime, and the defendant Peter Crouch stands accused of having deceived a whole generation of football followers for years into thinking that he is half decent. I now proceed to the prosecution. Will Mr Crouch please take the stand.

Contained within a freakishly conceived 6ft 7″ frame, Peter Crouch picks himself and proceeds to the stand. A forty-year old man sniggers because he realises that Mr Crouch has ankle swingers.


Mr Crouch, you are also being charged for fraudulent claims that you are a world class international footballer, how do you plead?


Well, you know … Not Guilty. At the end of the day.

The Counsel for the Prosecution rises


Judge I would like to call James Shaw to the stand…

Mr Shaw takes the stand


… Oh that’s me … Yes, it’s hard to believe the defendant has lasted this long in the English game. Undeniably talented, but deeply flawed, Crouch’s legacy will boast a Champions League Runners up and FA Cup winners medal, and spells at historic clubs such as Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

Mr Shaw gestures animatedly toward the jury

Peter Crouch has also enjoyed a long and flourishing England career. As an international footballer Peter has realised a talent for scoring against weaker opposition in non important games has certainly helped to maintain his place in the squad while other perhaps more talented individuals have fail to materialise at this level.

Although from a different era, the gifted trio of Matt Le Tissier, Ian Wright, and Andy Cole stand out as players who have remained prolific week-in-week-out for their club but couldn’t seem to replicate this success in an England shirt. This has never been a problem for Crouch, who has scored an unbelievable 22 goals in 42 international appearances. Yes, he may thrive against the feeble — but someone has got to, unless England fans enjoy drawing against Andorra?

Laughter in the court

Anyway, back to criticisms, and a quick look at Peter Crouch’s goal scoring record at club level. Figures show that it is a rare to see a total of over 12 goals in a footballing year, but his most successful bout came during his third season at Liverpool with a return of 18 goals in 49 games. Nine of which came in the premiership — three against Arsenal, when Mr Crouch scored a perfect hat-trick — and 8 came from a rather prolific season in the Champions League. He was outscored only by Kaká that season, who he went on to play against in the final.

A woman in the gallery faints

Erratic goal scoring aside Crouch, as a point man, has helped Rafael van der Vaart flourish in his first season. He is the glass, where others around him are the champagne. But as the footballing season drew to a close he certainly petered out (Laughter). An outlandish red-card in the Champions League against Real Madrid and a foolish own goal against their Premier League fourth-sort rivals Manchester City help to ground the fraudulent claims I make against him.

In fact, I think the Spanish media have Peter Crouch sussed by nicknaming him as the Pink Panther, because his antics are worryingly comparable. Peter turned villain for foolishly jumping into two challenges against Real Madrid. Then against Stoke a four days later Mr. Crouch redeemed himself, like Inspector Clouseau, in truly maladroit fashion. Then, he scored an own-goal against City. What next?

I guess you can’t help but laugh. Maybe within the exoskeleton of a daddy long-legs lays a comic genius. Comedians take note: Metro readers even voted his classic one liner as the ‘funniest ever’. When asked: “What would you be if not a footballer?”, he answered: “A virgin.”

A woman in the gallery, having recovered her poise, faints again

The problem is that, after saying this I have lost all contempt I had for Peter Crouch. He cheated on his wife, he has very little heading ability — despite being 6ft 7” tall — and he once created a celebration that turned the whole nation into a tribe of robotic buffoons. But it’s Peter Crouch.

Mr Shaw pauses

Saying that short sentence wins you the argument in the pub. It’s just Peter Crouch.

Court adjourned


James Shaw writes for the EPL Talk award-nominated In The Stands, and can be found on Twitter @In_The_Stands.

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