At the beginning
of the 2003/04 season, Norwich faced a striking crisis. Attempts
to sign new "20-goal per season" strikers over the summer
fell short, David Nielsen
quit to return
to Denmark and Zema Abbey
was injured at
Sheffield United and would miss the remainder of the season. Injuries
to Iwan Roberts
and then leading scorer
, forced Norwich manager Nigel
into the loan transfer market.
On Thursday 4th September 2003, Worthington unveiled Aston Villa
striker Peter Crouch on a three month loan. The beanpole striker
said "I am really excited to get the chance to start playing
first team football again. I know Norwich are an ambitious club
looking to improve on last season and I obviously hope to help
them do that. Nigel is doing a good job and it was definitely
the right decision for me to join the club. After I had spoken
to him my mind was made up as what he said about the club sounded
exactly what I was after. I have obviously watched Norwich on
the TV and I liked the way they play, it's very similar to the
way I play football." Peter made his debut for the Canaries
on the 13th September 2003 scoring the first goal in the 2-0 home
defeat of Burnley.
Peter's career began as a YTS trainee at Tottenham, alongside
the likes of Paul McVeigh. He never
made the Spurs' first team and after loans at Dulwich Hamlet and IFK Hassleholm in Sweden, he dropped down a division in July
2000 joining QPR. Weighing in at less than 12 stone the towering
striker may have looked ungainly but he quickly proved he had
a good touch and an eye for a goal to go with his obvious ability
in the air and after scoring 12 times in 47 appearances he was
on his way to Portsmouth in a £1.5m deal. He continued his
goalscoring form on the South Coast netting 19 goals in 39 matches.
This prompted Villa manager Graham Taylor to splash out £5million
to bring Crouch to the Premiership in March 2002. Premiership
goals have been sparse with just 2 goals in 26 appearances. Under
new Villa manager David O'Leary, the frustration continued. Crouch
made a brief appearance from the bench at Portsmouth on the opening
day of the season but hasn't featured in a first-team squad since,
with O'Leary having the likes of Juan Pablo Angel, Darius Vassell,
Marcus Allback, Dion Dublin and Bosko
Balaban at his disposal.
Crouch returned to Villa Park on 7th December 2003. Whilst sad
words were said by Crouch about how he wished he could stay at
Carrow Road, days later he was expressing his desire to break
into the Villa first-team.
At the beginning of June 2004, it was widely reported that Norwich
had agreed a £400,000 fee with Villa for Crouch and that
Norwich were hoping to make it a double-swoop by also adding Crouch's
teammate Rob Edwards.
However Worthington stated that nothing was happening on the Crouch
front. In the end, Peter returned to the South Coast joining Southampton
for £2million on 9th July 2004.
Peter's form for Southampton could not prevent them being elegated,
along with Norwich at the end of the 2004/5 season, but it was
recognised by England manager Sven Goran Eriksson who selected
Crouch for England's tour of the USA in May 2005. Newspaper speculation
claimed that Liverpool were preparing a £6million swoop
for Crouch but he was also linked with Wigan and Blackburn. It
is alleged that Portsmouth have bid £5m and offered £25k
per week for him to return to Fratton Park. Peter made his England
debut in the 3-2 victory over Colombia on 31st May 2005 in New
Jersey. Man City were the next club to be linked supposedly increasing
their bid to £6m after Liverpool's £5m offer was rejected.
West Ham allegedly made a cash bid in early July 2005 but were
rebuffed with the player keen to join Liverpool. Despite late
interest from Charlton and Middlesborough, he eventually signed
for Liverpool on 20th July 2005 for £7million, signing a
four year contract.
A good season on Merseyside followed with Crouch becoming a regular
in the England squad, often coming on from the bench. On May 9th
2006, he was named by Sven Goran Eriksson in the England squad
for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany. Crouch won his first
major honour on 13th May 2006 when Liverpool won the FA Cup on
penalties against West Ham after a 3-3 draw. Crouch had started
for the Reds but was substituted having had a mediocre performance.
Doubts by England fans were partially laid to rest when he scored
in England's 3-1 win over Hungary at Old Trafford on 30th May
2006. He followed this up with a hat-trick against Jamaica in
a 6-0 win at Old Trafford on 3rd June 2006, and even missed a
penalty as well. He scored England's opener in their second world
cup game, a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago. England reached
the quarter-finals of the World Cup but lost on penalties to Portugal
on 1st July 2006.
Crouch continued his goal-scoring vein of form under new England
manager Steve McLaren scoring twice in England's 4-0 demolition
of Greece on 16th August 2006. He scored twice in the 5-0 defeat
on Andorra on 2nd September 2006 and got the only goal of the
game in England's win in Macedonia on 6th September. However Crouch
had not had a regular place in Liverpool's starting eleven during
the first half of 2006/7 and the rumour mill linked him with a
January 2007 switch to Newcastle United. Although Crouch remained
at Anfield, the People speculated on 4th March 2007 that
Crouch would be one of Martin Jol's summer targets for Spurs,
along with West Brom defender Curtis Davies.
Crouch was included in Fabo Capello's first international squad
as England manager for the clash with Switzerland on 6th February
On 13th April 2008 the News of the World claimed that
" Portsmouth are winning a three-way fight ahead of Newcastle
and Aston Villa to secure the services of Liverpool striker Peter
Crouch in a £6m deal this summer." The Portsmouth rumour
resurfaced in May 2008 but Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez said
that it would require £15m for any suitors to acquire Crouch.
The People reported on 11th May 2008 linked Crouch with
a move overseas to Villareal; with the player buying out his contract.
On 11th July 2008, Crouch re-signed for Portsmouth in a deal
that could be worth to £11m. Liverpool are expected to initially
receive in the region of £9m for Crouch, who joined the
club from Southampton in July 2005 but only started nine Premier
League games in 2007/8. The England striker has signed a four-year
contract at Fratton Park. Crouch said: "It's fantastic
to be back. I believe Harry gets the best out of me and think
the best years of my career can be here. This club is going places
and they can match my ambitions. The chance of regular first team
football was part of the appeal. I know I'll have to work hard
to prove myself in training, but I believe my best years are in
front of me. I had a fantastic three years at Liverpool and I
would not change it for the world. I am privileged to have played
for such a top club. Towards the end I did not get as many games
as I would have liked but I will only take good memories away.
In no way am I stepping down, I feel I am joining a club that
is going places with a new stadium, a new training ground and
some very good players." Crouch scored 40 goals in 135
appearances for Liverpool
On 31st May 2009, The People claimed that Crouch would
be Steve Bruce's first signing as Sunderland
manager using Ellis Short's finances for a £12m bid. He
was also linked with a £11million pound move to spearhead
Fulham's Europa League challenge (with the Cottagers said to be
selling Bobby Zamora to Hull to part-fund
Crouch's purchase.). In the end, Crouch returned to his first
club Tottenham, reuniting with Harry Redknapp his manager at Portsmouth.
The deal was completed on 27th July 2009 for an undisclosed fee
rumoured to be around £9m. If so then this would take his
total transfer fees to £35m, making him the most expensive
English striker of all time. Crouch proved good value for money
when he scored the only goal in the clash with Manchester City
on 5th May 2010 with Tottenham winning the race with City for
fourth place in the Premier League and a place in the Champions'
Crouch was included in England's squad for the 2010 World Cup
in South Africa and given the number 9 shirt, but only played
in the draws with USA and Algeria - both as substitute
On 8th August 2010, the News of the World speculated that
new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson would attempt to bring Crouch
back to Anfield. The same paper reported on the same day that
Crouch had romped with a teenage Spanish prositute whilst on a
On 10th August 2011, Crouch was the subject of a bid, along with
teammate Wilson Palacios, from Stoke City. Both players finally
joined Stoke on 31st August 2011 with the Potters also signing
Birmingham striker Cameron Jerome. Crouch cost an initial £10million,
a club record, which could rise to £12million and signed
a four year deal.
At the end of the January 2013 transfer window, it was reported
that QPR manager Harry Redknapp had made enquiries about signing
Crouch for the fifth time.
In July and August 2014, Crouch was repeatedly linked with a
move to West Ham as cover for the injured Andy Caroll. Following
Tony Pulis' appointment as manager of West Brom at the end of
December 2014, it was speculated that Pulis would sign Crouch
from Pulis' former club Stoke.
At the beginning of July 2017, Crouch was linked with a return to Aston Villa who had signed his former England teammate John Terry.
Crouch was in the starting eleven for Stoke that lost 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace on 5th May 2018 which saw Stoke relegated to the Championship. it was his 33rd game of the season (in which he scored five goals)
On 31st January 2019 Crouch returned to the Premiership signing for Burnley as part of the deal that saw Sam Vokes head to Stoke. Crouch had played 202 games for Stoke, scoring 45 goals.
Crouch announched his retirement on 12th July 2019 at the age of 38. He played for a total of 11 clubs and earned 42 England caps. He scored 108 goals - a Premier League record of 53 with his head - in 468 top-flight appearances