Wednesday, April 06, 2011
The night Peter Crouch-ed and Bern-ed.
Even with the best will in the world, I cannot find any ways to justify Peter Crouch’s two awful tackles. All I can do is examine them and attempt to delve into the black hole that is a footballer’s mind – and try to explain them. The first element, I think, is the psychological. Before the game, Peter Crouch had been talked up, down and all around by various members of the English and Spanish media, not to mention Real Madrid players themselves. Former Arsenal player Emmanuel Adebayor said of his fellow lanky striker, “When I was playing in England I always loved a lot of Tottenham players, especially Peter Crouch”. The much-maligned Togo striker completed an acrimonious move north of London to Manchester to play for Man City, and was in the side that lost to Spurs on the 5th May 2010 in what was dubbed as the “Fourth Place Showdown”, in which Crouch gave his counterpart Adebayor a masterclass in how to maintain possession, pass to teammates, and above all, score. Yet, yesterday, Adebayor hit the net twice, and played majestically, whereas Crouch walked after 15 minutes, so there is no question who came out the winner this time round.
With Tottenham staring at the bleak pit of Champions League exit and facing an uphill battle with Chelsea and Manchester City for the two remaining Champions League places in the premier league, the only way Peter Crouch can go from here is up. That’s the thing about football, it goes hand in hand with failure, with wrath, with moments of madness. But it is also ten-a-penny with redemption. As Stuart Pearce demonstrated with his penalty for England in Euro 96, the road to personal atonement lies in football. I began with a quote from one of my favourite shows, Glee, so I’ll end with another quote from another one of my favourite shows, Sex and the City. Our protagonist, Carrie, has just embarrassed herself hugely in tripping up on a catwalk, in front of hundreds of people. She has a choice, run away and hide, or get up, and proudly get on with it. She does the latter. Why? Because, as she reasons, “When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep walking.” In 1990, Stuart Pearce fell down. In 1996, he pulled himself back up. Now it is up to Peter Crouch, and Peter Crouch alone, to do the same.