Wednesday, 6 April 2011
The madness of Peter Crouch
In a pub packed with passionate and biased Spurs fans, only one pissed idiot gave the ref some stick for sending off Peter Crouch.
The rest of us knew exactly where the blame lay and accepted his/our fate with a mixture of bafflement and frustration. And swearing, absolutely top drawer swearing.
But why, Peter? Why? You cunt.
Well, let's rule a couple of things out. Firstly, Crouch isn't an aggressive player. He doesn't charge about like Rooney, nostrils flared, fists clenched, brain empty and cheeks crimson, picking bits of defender out of his unbrushed teeth.
He gives away free kicks by being awkward, angular or just plain tall, sure, but not through malice.
Secondly, he hadn't been wronged or wound up. He wasn't exacting revenge or feeling aggrieved. Besides, he was constantly provoked in the away leg at Milan and didn't react.
Nevertheless, he committed two stupid, reckless and, most annoyingly of all, pointless challenges that both warranted a yellow card. Why, Peter? Why?
Well maybe, just maybe, the problem lies in this season's performances and subsequent insecurities.
He knows he's not been playing well, he knows he hasn't been scoring and he knows his relationship with the crowd is iffy.
He knows that some wouldn't have been pleased to see him start yesterday. He knows but (like many of us) probably doesn't know why Pav enjoys a weird and indulgent cult status amongst the more vocal element of the crowd.
So he was desperate to impress and prove himself. And the earliest and easiest way to do that was to go flying into challenges. The crowd like that, right? They want to see commitment, right? So, have some of that.
Truly confident players, players like Dimitar Berbatov, once of this parish, don't resort to that. They 'know' the crowd is actually wrong and, when the time comes, they'll show them how wrong they are by doing what they're supposed to do - being brilliant and scoring goals.
Crouch was unlikely to do either of those things, so he went for option C) Kick someone.
A good analogy is a batsmen who is pinned down by a spell of accurate bowling: starved of runs, playing and missing, getting a bit of chirrup from fielders and spectators.
Eventually, he's had enough, he takes an agricultural swing and is clean bowled. He's out because of the build of pressure as much as the ball.
Crouch was under pressure yesterday, he took two big swings and knocked our Champions League chances for six.