The name Peter Crouch is not a name many football fans around the world will recognise. Crouch is no Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, or Lionel Messi, to be sure. But for the Stoke City faithful, especially after his performances for the Potters this season given his advancing age, Crouch is an icon.
At 36 years old, Crouch is certainly no spring chicken. Many footballers his age would have already retired, or are close to retiring, at this point. And yet the former QPR striker is proving his many doubters wrong, as he has done time and time again with his stellar form playing for Stoke this season.
Two weeks ago, the lanky forward joined the Premier League 100 club – the Englishman becoming the 26th player to have scored 100 goals in the Premier League. When he scored the goal to put his team ahead against Everton on the 1st of February, he celebrated in his trademark style, doing the robot.
As he has claimed on his Twitter page post-match, the robot is getting rusty, but this will not stop his fans from heaping on him the praise he thoroughly deserves.
It appears the robotic celebration has a few years still left it. Indeed, he Couchy featured in 17 league appearances for Stoke this season. As a matter of fact, he has started and played the full ninety in all but one of Stoke’s last seven games, scoring four goals during that period.
While his commendable showing this season has certainly made him a fan favourite, Crouch certainly did not have the best of starts in his professional career.
The Macclesfield-born forward is a product of the academy at Tottenham Hotspur, but he wouldn’t play a single game for the London-based club. After two seasons on loan, Spurs deemed Crouch surplus to requirements and sold him to then First Division side Queens Park Rangers in July 2000 for a measly £72,000.
It would take six years and five clubs, Portsmouth and Southampton, to name a few, before Crouch would get a taste of the spotlight. At the age of 24, he signed for Merseyside heavyweights Liverpool. Even then, the critics still hounded him, failing to score four months into his stay at Anfield. He scored 42 goals during his three-year stint with Liverpool, and yet the best praise he received was that “he had good touch for a big man”.
Crouch would eventually return to Spurs in 2009, nine years after the club sold him to QPR. Spurs paid nearly £9m to land Crouch, a stark contrast to the fee they agreed to let him go for back in 2000. He had a good spell there until he signed for Stoke in 2011.
He would go on to score 51 goals for the Potters since, including his 100th league goal against Everton two weeks ago, celebrating as always in his signature bust-a-move that earned him the name “Mr. Roboto”.
Sure, his career may not be glittered with silverware, having a lone FA Cup win with Liverpool to show for his 19 years in football. But for Stoke fans, and for the neutrals who have grown to love him over the years, he is no less than a legend of English football.