- Peter Crouch has answered more of your questions in his Sportsmail column
- This week he talks about how TV show Harry’s Heroes struck a chord with him
- He admits his love for scoring a volley bettered any other goal he has netted
- Find out why Crouch would be concerned about returning to training currently
Peter Crouch answers your questions as part of a new weekly series here for Sportsmail
You would have thought it was dangerous but I loved playing at Colchester’s Layer Road
Hermann Hreidarsson was a character and would greet you with a firm handshake or fight you
Harry’s Heroes was an enjoyable programme but there was also a serious element involved
Martin Tyler has been a big influence and was always fair with me when assessing my game
People associate me with heading the ball but I loved nothing better than scoring a volley
I would have concerns over returning to training at the moment during the coronavirus crisis
Football is finally back underway in Germany, although there’s still at least a month’s wait until the Premier League returns.
But despite the lack of domestic action on our TV screens, there’s still plenty of interesting and quirky football chat to be had.
Sportsmail‘s resident columnist Peter Crouch has been answering some of your questions that have got him thinking most this week.
What was your first car and how much did it cost? James Collins via email
Well, James, the pea green Volkswagen Polo I bought immediately after passing my test was my pride and joy. I was 17, playing for Tottenham’s youth team and I paid £6000 for it. I went for pea green as a ‘normal’ colour would have cost me an extra £1500!
As I was the first one to start driving, I had to pick three other big lads up at varying points on the North Circular out to the training ground in Essex from West London. I can imagine we were quite a sight. When I moved to QPR and was a paid a little more, I ‘upgraded’ to… a Renault Megane.
I was going to get a Megane convertible but I can still hear my Dad’s words: ‘son, just get the hard top!’ I followed his advice but when I won Player of the Year later that season, I went back and got the soft top. What on earth was I thinking…
I saw you play for QPR at Layer Road, Colchester in your early career. You got sent flying into the brick wall that surrounded the pitch, only four foot from the playing surface. Do you remember Layer Road and how dangerous a venue it was? Tim Davies via email
I don’t recall the specific incident, Tim, but I remember Layer Road really well. You might have thought it was dangerous but I loved playing there. I enjoyed the small venues, like Layer Road, Griffin Park and Craven Cottage, where you are so close to the stands. It’s proper football.
What’s your best memory of my shy old mate Hermann Hreidarsson? Steven Ives via email
I love Hermann, Steve. I absolutely love him. You will know what I mean when I say he is ‘a character’ and I wonder if he ever greeted you in the same way that he used to greet us – with a handshake that almost ripped your arm off or by fighting with you.
Honestly, Hermann had a handshake that cut off your blood supply. Another one of his party tricks was putting you into a headlock but it was all a sign of affection. One incident sticks in my mind was with Glenn Little, after he’d just signed for Portsmouth in 2008.
Glenn was sitting in a chair, unaware that Hermann was crawling up behind him to ‘greet’ him. Suddenly, Glenn found himself wrapped in a chokehold and unable to move. Hermann, however, lost his balance and the pair of them tumbled over, leaving Glenn with a broken toe. When I call Hermann a nutcase, I mean it in the nicest possible way!
Being one of Harry Redknapp’s ‘golden boys’, were you disappointed not to be called up for Harry’s Heroes, the show which was on TV this week? On a serious point, were you surprised by the various health issues revealed in the show? Tim Crooks via Twitter
Having looked at some of the frames of the players who were involved, Tim – and their respective dates of birth – I think I need a few more pints, a few more years and a few more stone to put on before I can make that team!
What I will say is that Jermain Defoe and I are in our own WhatsApp group and we are just waiting for the message from Harry to come and join him. We will see what we can do with Niko Kranjcar and make him an honorary Englishman!
It was a really enjoyable programme but you are right – there was a serious element. Neil Ruddock’s health issues were addressed in the first programme and others spoke candidly about the battles they have faced.
Lee Hendrie’s situation really struck a chord with me. Lee is a mate, someone I had great times with at Aston Villa but he’s been affected severely by depression. He will know that people who care about him are there for him. Life away from football is not as straightforward as you would think.
I remember you used to finish your columns with section titled: ‘What I’m listening to…’ Having seen you at many a Kasabian concert, I valued your choices. So what are you listening to at the moment? Mike Byrne via email
A big tune for me right now, Mike is Wonderland by a band called Lona. If you haven’t heard any of their stuff yet, I really recommend them. I’m also big into The 1975 and we have had that on whenever the kids let us listen to something other than Baby Shark.
You might remember that I flagged Gerry Cinnamon up a couple of years ago before he made it big and his new stuff is quality. I see he released potential dates for going on tour in 2021 and I would be hoping to see him live when we get out of this situation.
Of all of the TV commentators and pundits you have met and worked with, who are your favourites and have they influenced, for good or bad, the way you played? Paul Bartlett via email
John Motson was the voice from my childhood, Paul. He’s a legend in his field and he or Barry Davies provided the words to all those games I watched when I was dreaming of becoming a footballer, so I always think fondly of them.
I’d have to say, though, that Martin Tyler has been a big influence. I have got to know him over the years and he lives close to me. Before that, however, he always used to speak well of me in his commentaries and I always appreciated what he said.
It’s funny how things change. I’ve moved over into the world of punditry now and while I know a lot of players from coming up against them, some of the younger ones simply associate me with the media and they can be a little more aloof when you speak to them.
Martin was always fair with me when assessing my game and I’d like think that is something I am in my verdicts.
What’s your favourite type of goal, Crouchie? You scored all kinds, but what ones make you look back and say: ‘That was special’? Nigel Coady via Twitter
People associate me with heading the ball, Nigel, but I loved nothing better than scoring a volley. You couldn’t beat the feeling of connecting flush with a cross and seeing it fly into the net, there was no better goal to score.
Before every game, in the warm up, I would always flick a ball into the air and finish it with a volley, just to have the picture in my mind of the ball hitting the net. I practiced and practiced the skill when I was a kid and, happily, it came off a few times in my career.
The most spoken about one was against Manchester City, for Stoke, in March 2012 but others were just as satisfying, such as two for Liverpool (against Galatasaray and Bolton) or one for Portsmouth (v Stoke). If you catch a volley properly, you know it’s going in as soon as it leaves your foot.
If you were playing now, would you have concerns over going back on the pitch during this Covid outbreak? Gary McNaughton via Twitter
I’ll be honest, Gary, and say yes. I see Troy Deeney has been spoken about a lot this week, for not returning to training, but I put myself in his position and think what would I do? It isn’t the fact Troy is worried about himself, it’s the impact it could have on his baby son, who has breathing issues.
Would Troy forgive himself if he caught anything and passed it on? No. We all want football to come back, we all want to watch it for the joy it brings us and the debate it creates, but we only want it back when it is safe.
On that note, keep looking after yourselves. See you again next week.