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Former Tottenham striker Peter Crouch retires from football

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Pretty good career for a big man!

AFP/Getty Images

It’s the end of an era. After a career that spanned 21 years and saw him play for no fewer than 11 clubs, Peter Crouch is hanging up his boots. The 6’7” striker, who personified the phrase “pretty good feet for a big man” announced his retirement on social media today, bringing to a close a career that saw him play just over 42,000 minutes of professional football.

It’s kind of hard to fathom, but Crouchy was once a youngster who came through Tottenham Hotspur’s academy in 1998. After a couple of loan stints the gangly striker was sold to QPR in 2000. His early career took him to Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Southampton, and especially Liverpool, where he enjoyed his longest stay, scoring 42 goals in 135 matches.

Crouch returned to Pompey in 2008 where he formed a fruitful strike partnership with the 5’7” striker Jermain Defoe, one that would continue after both of them were purchased by Tottenham. Ironically, despite coming through Spurs academy, Crouchy didn’t make his first team debut for the club until 2009, when he came off the bench against his former club Liverpool.

A natural terror with his head due to his height, Crouch also showed a deftness of touch and a speed that belied his tall stature, and he scored some important goals for the club. None were greater than his 81’ headed goal away to Manchester City on May 5, 2010, a goal that clinched Champions League qualification for the first time in Spurs’ history.

Crouchy’s biggest impact at Spurs came in the Champions League — he scored a hat trick against Young Boys to help the club progress to the group stages, and his most important goal came in the Round of 16 against AC Milan — Crouchy cooly slotted home a deflected cross from Aaron Lennon in the 80th minute that gave Spurs an historic 1-0 away win against the the Italian giants. Spurs would go on to make the quarterfinals that year before falling to Real Madrid. They would not return to the Champions League until Mauricio Pochettino took charge.

Through it all he interacted with fans and the media with a sense of humor that became one of his trademarks. His relationship and marriage to model Abbey Clancy was noteworthy in the media due to the supposed large gap in both their height and relative attractiveness. When asked in an interview what he would be if he hadn’t been a professional footballer, Crouchy famously replied “a virgin.” The quintessential and most infamous Crouch story was recounted by Guardian journalist Sean Ingle and involved Peter and a plate full of nachos, a story that Crouch later denied ever happened. He never took himself seriously and he frequently made light of himself with self-deprecating humor.

Crouch was sold by Spurs to Stoke City in 2011 and finished his career at Burnley, retiring at the age of 38. He leaves a career that was undoubtedly a success — 677 appearances, 135 goals, 69 assists. Pretty good career for a big man. And while he was a Spurs player for only part of it, he leaves, if you’ll pardon the expression, a very big void. Football may not see his like again for a good while.

Happy retirement, Crouchy!