I’ve been asked if players read about transfer rumours and worry about losing their place in the team. Well, the simple answer is yes.
The manager would try to reassure you, but I remember going in to see the boss a few times and asking ‘are you signing him, or him?’ because of the speculation. On more than one occasion the reply would be ‘no’, but then come transfer deadline day I’d be sitting next to the person they told me they weren’t signing!
I guess it’s all part of the game, you’ve got to try and keep the squad happy. And then when they sign their man, that’s it – you’re out.
I always remember back at Tottenham how it ended for me there. Harry said ‘we’re signing Adebayor, and there’s no place for both of you’, so I had to move on.
It’s a cut-throat business, both ways. When a player is doing really well they say there is no loyalty when they want to move on, but the club are often as quick to get rid.
Sledging is a term often used in cricket, but there were bits and pieces of it on the football pitch during my career too.
When I was 19 I remember telling one of the older players that’d I’d ‘heard a rumour about him’. Once I’d spelled it out to him what it was, his eyes just changed.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) April 19, 2020
I thought ‘what have I done here?’ He just spent the rest of the game trying to hunt me down, trying to break my leg!
I learned very early to keep myself to myself as a young player. As I got older it was a lot easier to just have a laugh about the whole thing.
When I look back on my career, I always felt that when I played International or Champions League football I got a bit more joy.
I think those sort of players just didn’t really know what to do when playing against me – they just didn’t see that every week. It wasn’t something they grew up with. Unorthodox, let’s call it.
It was a weird thing, but the bigger the game and the bigger the team I felt I got more joy out of them. Internationally my record was very good, and in the Champions League I always seemed to score as well.
At times I felt it was harder playing against lower-end Premier League sides or in the Championship because you’d be up against some tough, tough defenders.
My goal drought during my early days at Liverpool was a nightmare.
The pressure was growing and growing, but I’ll never forget the support the fans gave me and the incredible atmosphere after my first goal at Anfield.
Read the full story of Crouchie’s worst career moment here: Peter Crouch: I’ll never forget Liverpool fans for support during nightmare goal drought
Anfield is probably the best home ground I played at, but away it would have to be the San Siro.
One year my nan came over to watch me play for Tottenham there – and ended up watching the game with the ultras!
Read the full story of Crouchie’s nan’s San Siro experience: Peter Crouch: I played for Tottenham at the San Siro while my nan was with the ultras!
More recommended reading:
- Premier League conference call HACKED: What every team would have said in crunch meeting
- Six footballers who turned their hand to another sport
- Five things Max Allegri needs to prepare for before move to Newcastle