Peter Crouch speaks more on saving our beautiful game that is football and life at Dulwich Hamlet, a club he once played for.
Crouchy is a much loved former footballer turned pundit and podcast presenter, but in the meantime, he has also returned to Champion Hill, home of Dulwich, to help the fan owned-and-operated club.
He explores the struggles that non league faces in a Amazon Prime Show named “Save Our Beautiful Game” and in it’s first episode, it sees Crouch arrive at Dulwich Hamlet to discover the club is in crisis. He faces an uphill struggle to bring back fans and sign some players.
Crouch: As I say I was at Tottenham and I was struggling to sort of make the first team I went on loan to Dulwich and it was a very different level to what I was used to but it really sort of toughened me up and I learned how to win and how important it was to to so many and uh yeah so it was nice to be able to go back and sort of give a bit back and help help the club that helped me.
PS: There’s a there’s more than a touch of Ted Lasso about this isn’t there really because it was in you come you get a phone call from from Ben the boss um asking you for help you have zero knowledge of that side of football.
New episode out today on @discoveryplusUK
Peter Crouch: Save Our Beautiful Game
— Peter Crouch (@petercrouch) June 27, 2022
Crouch: Yeah completely new experience and I think so the first three episodes you can see that I’m sort of finding my way and it really sort of like hit home hit me hard really like i’ve been at sort of a certain level for a long long time and then to go down there especially after Covid had hit and you know the only source of revenue really at the football club is the match day experience like people buying drinks, food, tickets so when that was taken away from them like the club was decimated like so many grassroots level clubs really so um yeah going back there was a real eye-opener and I was doing things that obviously I’d not been used to doing and helping out in all areas you’ve all got to muck in
HW: So there was I mean you sort of look at a club like that and you saw those chaps there talking about it and this is this is more than just going to watch a game of football this is sort of an identity this is a community this brings so much so if you were to take that away there would be so many people that would would struggle
Crouch: Yeah and that’s what we you know over the course of the series it became about it was at Dulwich at first and then it became about the wider picture of football in general really yeah and the struggles you know we saw it recently i think Tracy Crouch has got an independent review into football as a whole from premier league down and and grassroots is the level we’re looking at but i went up to Bury, but you know it’s been it finished I mean it ceased to exist you know players people are coming in or owners are coming in and being able to do what they like with football clubs and then that rips the local community apart rips the fans apart they haven’t got a hundred year old grandparents has taken their kids and their kids generally said that and it was really quite emotional it was emotional yeah you know as a as a football person you know I can only imagine being a fan your whole life and um generations have gone to that particular stadium and that you know as we walked in there there was a girl who was the club photographer and she’s burst out crying and it was quite emotional sort of seeing how upset she was and you know to think about football fans up and down the land if their club was gone yeah imagine how how you’d feel it was horrendous
HW: One thing you did which you’ve never done before is a bit of stand up uh how was that well
Crouch: Yeah that was I mean listen you know I was trying to raise some money for the for the women’s team and then i was asked to do a little bit and I it wasn’t really stand up they told me a few gags and I read them out but um it was good fun and it raised a lot of money so that was the main thing.
PS: So what is the what is going to be maybe not just for your club but for all of these clubs that are struggling now um there isn’t a silver bullet i’m assuming there’s only a certain amount of of money around not everyone has a figurehead like you to get in there and raise the profile what do they do what are you going to do.
Crouch: That’s it I mean like even when I was creating awareness of it now it’s like no club like Dulwich for instance nobody wants to hand outs obviously there’s a lot of money in the Premier League we’re not asking for any money it’s just not not to be hampered if they progress so for instance if we get um a promotion it might cripple the club because you then have to improve your stadium you have to rip up the pitch you can’t sell alcohol on a match day um so all the revenue is ripped away and it it so for progressing you then struggle and like for me as as a football person going in there I could I was like so you get punished for promotion and like that just doesn’t seem fair it and it doesn’t seem right so there’s little things like that if we can address and just give the you know the smaller clubs a chance to progress on the ladder to get where they want to be then you know that’s what we’re asking not not for handouts or anything like that just to be self-sufficient
HW: Prince William also is interested in this obviously he’s a big football fan he’s chairman of the fa and so he came down and spoke to you about it
Crouch: Yeah it was amazing obviously he’s the president of the FA and Tracy Crouch and Prince William came down and it was amazing to have them have them down there and sort of just to explain and even away from the cameras it was nice to be able to just like chat and about what we think should happen and because obviously this is a big bill that could potentially pass through the government have recognized it now so i think something somehow we are creating a change for the better which is which yeah i was hoping to help one particular club but if we can along the way help help the rest and i think with with my help and Prince William got on board and Tracy Crouch i think we are making inroads.
PS: And do you think um the Prince William holding that position um that he personally is a across it enough sympathetic enough to make changes for you or on your behalf.
Crouch: Well that’s it I think like just having him involved obviously weighs awareness goes so much bigger um but he’s a football fan and obviously I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with him with when I’ve played for England at world cups and you know various bits and pieces that I’ve done and I know he’s a real football fan and he enjoys it and he wants to see it be better