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Peter Crouch cried himself to sleep over crowd abuse and songs aimed at him in his career

Peter Crouch recalls how he cried himself to sleep over crowd abuse and songs aimed at him in the early day of his playing career.

Crouchy, who stands at 6ft 7in, said he was often mocked by fans in the stands because of his height.

It got so bad that he contemplated quitting football altogether, but thankfully he fought back, proved doubters wrong and went to the very top.

He was capped 42 times by the England national team between 2005 and 2010, scored 22 goals for his country in that time, and appeared at two FIFA World Cup tournaments.

He is also one of 33 players to have scored 100 or more Premier League goals, and holds the record for the most headed goals in Premier League history.

Crouch explained in the Amazon Prime Video documentary That Peter Crouch Film: “Getting in the first team was one thing.

“Experiencing the level of abuse was something that was new to me and another eye-opener. It was my first season in professional football and we went away to West Brom.

“I came on and I could hear the crowd laughing at me, I could feel it, purely because of the way I looked like, none of them had ever seen me play.”

He talks about being abused by home supporters during a trip to face Gillingham.

He added: “There was another time away at Gillingham where I got absolutely abused, I think everyone in the crowd was singing songs about me.

“‘Freak’, ‘does the circus know you’re here?’, it was like I was a joke.”

Crouch also revealed on the Diary Of A CEO Podcast: “I found it difficult at times, really difficult.

“Especially football terraces as I got older and I was playing professionally, and then I started playing in the first-team.

“And all of a sudden it was one thing dealing with the odd person in the street saying ‘aren’t you tall’ and another thing dealing with 30,000 people screaming obscenities at you, taking the pi** out of the way you look, laughing at you. That was difficult.”

Steven Bartlett asks Crouch about crying himself to sleep as a teenager because of the abuse he received.

To which Crouch said: “Yeah, there was times when I thought to myself ‘Is it worth it? Is it worth going through this? Why am I putting myself through this?’

“‘It’s all I’ve ever loved, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do but if people are going to laugh at me and take the pi** out of me, what is the point? Do I want it that much?'”

Crouch again reflects on a game against Gillingham in his very first season as a professional that made him question whether the abuse he was constantly receiving was worth continuing playing, with his dad getting involved mid-game and clashing with members of the crowd.

Crouch said: “I’ll always remember it, I was walking out at half-time of the game and my dad was rolling down the aisle in the Gillingham end having a fight with someone.

“I thought ‘Oh my god this is my first season in professional football. My dad’s having a fight, I’m getting absolutely abused, my mum’s crying. What am I doing? Why am I putting myself through this?’

“Of course I love football and that’s what I want to be, but is it worth all this?”

Via the Guardian, Crouch also remembers making his way on to the pitch after signing for QPR and hearing the laughter in the stands, while at Dulwich Hamlet, fans called him the “20ft chicken”.


1991–1993 – Brentford
1994–1995 – Queens Park Rangers
1995–1998 – Tottenham Hotspur

1998–2000 – Tottenham Hotspur 
2000 → Dulwich Hamlet (loan) – 6 games (1 goal)
2000 → IFK Hässleholm (loan) – 8 games (3 goals)
2000–2001 – Queens Park Rangers – 47 games (12 goals)
2001–2002 – Portsmouth – 39 games (19 goals)
2002–2004 – Aston Villa – 43 games (6 goals)
2003 → Norwich City (loan) – 15 games (4 goals)
2004–2005 – Southampton – 33 games (16 goals)
2005–2008 – Liverpool – 134 games (42 goals)
2008–2009 – Portsmouth – 49 games (16 goals)
2009–2011 – Tottenham Hotspur – 93 games (24 goals)
2011–2019 – Stoke City – 261 games (62 goals)
2019 – Burnley – 6 games (0 goals)

Total – 735 games (205 goals)

International career
2002–2003 – England U21 – 6 games (1 goal)
2006 – England B – 1 game (0 goals)
2005–2010 – England – 42 games (22 goals)

Twitter users reacted as its revealed that Peter Crouch cried himself to sleep over crowd abuse and songs aimed at him in his career…

@DonUnderThePool: As a Norwich fan I remember your time with us with great fondness. Never has the cliché ‘good with his feet for a big man’ been more apt for you Peter. Good luck with the new series

@afanko: I remember watching the Reds go out of the League Cup at Selhurst in October ‘05. Felt like peak of abuse to me. Non-stop “Freeeaak” and “If Peter Crouch can play for England, so can I”. As someone of a similar age and not totally dissimilar build, I felt so bad for Crouchie.

@mattkj1992: Just finished #thatpetercrouchfilm and it was great. It really breaks down that barrier of person not player and shows what an amazing person he is. I hope I can inspire my kids to be great as much as his dad did.

@YorkieWend: Just watched #thatpetercrouchfilm. He had to put up with some shit early on but bloody brilliant to see him succeed and have a great career. What a lovely funny guy. Watch it, it’s really great! ❤️

@TRACEYBRO: Highly recommend #ThatPeterCrouchFilm He’s such a lovely guy n didnt deserve the abuse he got…..just wanted give him a hug!!! Took some guts to keep going but he showed em!! Great job @petercrouch

@JohnPer37948971: #ThatPeterCrouchFilm I loved every minute of seeing Peter (Quite literally) rise above all the critics and haters. And what a Beautiful family he has. Fair play Pete, you may not have been the greatest footballer, but you certainly are a Legendary Husband and Father. 😊 🙏 ❤️

@danjn71: You have to love @petercrouch come through some brutal stick from the terraces and journalists and proved them all wrong, great family man ok yeah he has been lucky with the old woman, he deserves everything that comes his way ❤️ #thatpetercrouchfilm

@LizzyFerret: Watching #ThatPeterCrouchFilm on Prime and I honestly can’t believe the straight up bullying @petercrouch had to deal with from day 1, purely because he looked different to his peers. The commentators, the fans, the everyone. Absolutely brutal in their taunts & descriptions 😟🤯

@R1cky_Rees: Just watched #ThatPeterCrouchFilm what a guy!! I was a critic when he first started playing in the national team but he proved everyone wrong. Such a nice guy and so funny. @OfficialClancy as well, you’d just love to be mates with them.

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