Peter Crouch has revealed how he was in disbelief when told that Liverpool wanted to sign him from Southampton back in 2005.
Aged just 24 at the time, Crouchy joined the Reds for £7m after a season which saw him score 16 goals in 33 appearances across all competitions as Southampton suffered relegation from the Premier League.
Now a Paddy Power ambassador with a successful media career, the former England international made a guest appearance on our From The Horse’s Mouth podcast to recall his emotions around such a high-profile move.
“When Liverpool came in for me, I’d had a great season at Southampton,” he said. “We’d just got relegated, so I was gutted but I’d had a great season personally.
“I was down about the whole thing but I was at home and got a call from my agent out of the blue. Liverpool had just won the best European Cup final – 2005 in Istanbul – that anyone has ever seen and I get this call. My agent says ‘are you sitting down?’ He then says ‘Liverpool want you’, and I say ‘shut up!’.
“I thought ‘they’ve just won the Champions League, they’ll be going for the cream of the crop!’
“I’d played well but I’m watching that final on television but that seemed a million miles away.
“I get that call and the deal goes through and when I got to the club I realise they’re no different to anyone else. I felt comfortable as soon as I went there, and I felt like I was good enough to be there. Things went great at Liverpool and I’m so glad I did it.
“To play for a club that size, playing in those amazing Champions League nights, and we had such a good side when I look back it. Liverpool are flying at the moment and we had a great team as well. I had some of the best years of my life at that club and it was a real pleasure to play for them.”
It wasn’t all plain-sailing for Crouch, who endured a 19-match drought following the transfer before eventually scoring his first goal for Liverpool – a deflected strike against Wigan.
The former frontman played for 11 different clubs throughout his career, and admits the toughest time came during a two-year spell with Aston Villa.
“There was a story behind every single one of my clubs,” he said. “I’ve got regrets at a few, while others gave me a real chance.”
🔊CROUCH ON LIVERPOOL 🔊
Paddy and Ruby were joined by @petercrouch on the latest edition of FTHM and the great man opened on his reaction when Liverpool came knocking.
👇Listen to the full chat 👇
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) November 10, 2020
MORE FROM CROUCHIE: I’ll never forget Liverpool fans for support during nightmare goal drought
“I loved Aston Villa, honestly. As a football club, I loved it. Some of my best mates in football are from Aston Villa – Gareth Barry, Lee Hendrie, Dion Dublin. The only regret is because I didn’t make an impact. I wasn’t ready for the Premier League then.
“I was 21 when I signed and just didn’t feel ready. I had two years under Graham Taylor then he got sacked and David O’Leary came in – he just didn’t fancy me as a player and I had to move on. But I went to Southampton which kick-started my career and I went to Liverpool from there.
“Regrets at Villa wasn’t the fault of anyone else – it was because I wasn’t ready. I loved it as a football club and actually I feel gutted for all the people who believed in me that I didn’t quite do it there.”
- Peter Crouch: Players get nervous about transfer rumours – and managers will lie to you about it
- Subbuteo adds VAR and replica Stockley Park ahead of Christmas rush
- Get the latest football tips on all the big matches on Paddy Power News