They say the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Last season, Tottenham's biggest of the big, Peter Crouch, fell, and he fell hard. In fact, he fell right into a Ballon D'Oh nomination.
2011 started with such promise for Peter Crouch. In February, he guided home an Aaron Lennon cut-back to give Spurs a historic 1-0 victory in the Champions League second round at Serie A leaders AC Milan, his 7th goal in 8 games of the competition. A stoic rearguard action in the return leg saw his side through to an unprecedented debut quarter-final against the most successful club in the competition's history, Spanish giants Real Madrid, and they were well placed to push on and retain the top 4 spot in the league that would see them return to the Glory Glory nights the following season.
But after just fourteen minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu, everything went wrong. Crouch, supposedly one of the more experienced members of the squad, lost his head and was dismissed for a second rash and totally unnecessary challenge, leaving his side a goal and a man down. The game finished 4-0, leaving an insurmountable deficit for the return leg, and the dream tie that had kept Spurs fans awake at nights had become a nightmare, largely because of Peter.
And in an astonishing twist of fate, it was the same man on the same spot that scored the game's solitary goal again; Peter Crouch. Except this year, he scored it for City
Spurs quest to requalify for the competition through the league also tailed off spectacularly after the tie, with the side taking just 3 points from home games against Arsenal, West Brom and Blackpool as well as a trip to Stamford Bridge. This left them needing a win at the City of Manchester Stadium, where they had clinched 4th position the previous season, to have any hope of stopping Manchester City from usurping the prized spot. And in an astonishing twist of fate, it was the same man on the same spot that scored the game's solitary goal again; Peter Crouch. Except this year, he scored it for City and finished what he had begun at the Bernabeu; the act of completely obliterating Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League hopes.
The summer saw him sold to Stoke City as soon as Spurs secured his replacement Emmanuel Adebayor, ironically the man who did so much damage for Real Madrid in the game that so defined Crouch's season, leaving him free to answer the question so attributed to modern-day footballers; whether or not he is capable of doing the business on a wet Tuesday in Stoke. One thing's for sure, he couldn't do it on a sunny one in Madrid.
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