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Peter Crouch: The former Tottenham and Liverpool star tells FFT about Liam Gallagher, Hollywood encounters and Gareth Bale's beans

Peter Crouch, formerly of Liverpool, Tottenham, Stoke, Portsmouth, England
(Image credit: Future)

Peter Crouch has played for Liverpool, Tottenham, Aston Villa, Southampton, Portsmouth and Stoke City – but he's loved by almost everyone in the game.

With a hit podcast, punditry spots and even his own festival – really – Crouchy is one of the most adored footballers of the past couple of decades. FourFourTwo caught up with the legend himself to ask him about some of those tall tales…

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Peter Crouch, formerly of Tottenham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Stoke and Southampton chats to FFT

Peter Crouch

(Image credit: Getty)

What happened with Gareth Bale’s magic beans?

[Laughs] The magic beans! I actually spoke to Paul Scholes recently and asked him what his pre-match meal was. He said, “Baked beans on toast” – exactly the same as Gareth. I watched Bale flying up and down for Spurs and ripping Maicon to shreds against Inter with constant high-intensity running. I thought, ‘How does he do it?’ So I started watching him really closely.

He didn’t go to the gym and just ate beans on toast, so I started doing the same. I thought, ‘Well I can do the no gym stuff, no problem – and beans on toast, I like beans’. I went for it, but some beans have more magic than other beans, I suppose!

Why has your dad walked his dog wearing an England tracksuit since 2005?

[Laughs] My dad has all sorts of gear. Any kind of training kit, shirts, tracksuits and wet tops – I just give them to my dad. He’s got an Aston Villa bobble hat, an England wet top and a drill top underneath. He might have some England trousers and I probably gave him an old pair of trainers from when I was sponsored, so he’s fully loaded in all the gear whenever he goes out to walk the dog!

We read that you once met Mickey Rourke – how did that happen?

I was on holiday – it was after the 2006 World Cup and we met in a nightclub. I walked past him and he was like, “Hey, you’re robot boy!” I said, “Yeah, I am!” We’ve got a photograph of me and him doing the robot, then he said he wanted to go out with us again. We went out the next night, then we went out another night, then the third night he actually knocked on the door of our hotel room. I looked through the peephole and said to the lads, “Mickey Rourke’s back,” and they were like, “Just get rid of him – we can’t do another night out with him. He’s an absolute lunatic!” [Laughs]

Peter Crouch

(Image credit: Getty)

You held your own event at the O2 in London called Crouchfest and 3,000 people turned up. Was that surreal?

I absolutely loved it, and it was so much fun. The best thing I do these days is probably my podcast. We just go to a pub, the three of us and our producer, have a laugh and everyone seems to love it. It’s gone nuts. We were there for Crouchfest with Liam Gallagher. Katherine Jenkins, Tom Grennan and You Me At Six were all singing, and I was thinking, ‘This festival is in my name – how has this happened?’ It was great, though. I loved it.

What did Liam Gallagher say to you?

He was great. I said, “I know this Crouchfest is a bit weird. What’s it like for you?” But he said, “This isn’t weird, this is f**king what it’s about. There’s too much s**t in the world, everyone’s talking about bad stuff and we’ve come here. It’s full of good people all having a good time.” The crowd went nuts!

You’re a universally loved footballer, by and large, which is quite a rare thing. How does that make you feel?

Yeah, it’s nice, but there must be a few people out there who think I’m a d**khead! Wherever I go, I seem to be quite well received. It’s good. Hopefully I’ll continue not to piss everyone off! 

Has your podcast and the other media work you do made it a lot easier to deal with that transition into retirement?

Yeah, that’s it – I wanted to be really busy once I’d retired. I’m probably a little too busy now if I’m being honest. I need to rein it in a bit. But you just never know what will happen. I didn’t want to be at home watching Loose Women. As much as I enjoy the show, I didn’t want to do that every day, so I tried to get myself out there. I need to find what I love the most, and thankfully I’m not short of offers.

Zinedine Zidane

(Image credit: Getty)

Could you ever become a manager?

I’m not sure. I like having a bit of free time and I know being a manager is a 24/7 job. Unless you’re completely up for it and throw yourself into it, then you can’t do it. I’m just having too much fun at the moment.

We read that you've got a GNVQ in leisure and tourism. Should we look forward to you opening a leisure centre?

[Laughs] You should yeah – I thought I could buy a swimming pool and start running it. I'm not a lifeguard, but I'd just manage the pool.

We're getting a mental image of some sort of Brittas Empire situation…

Yeah, so am I!

Finally, we asked Rafa Benitez about the time you mischievously gave him Jose Mourinho's book as a Secret Santa gift and he didn't remember it. Are you disappointed?

Did he not remember it!? He does… [Laughs]

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Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's national team. Key FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.