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Peter Crouch won’t be returning to Burnley next season; those last few months that saw him make just six substitute appearances have proved to be his last games in football with the 38 year old former Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Norwich City, Southampton, Liverpool, Stoke City and England striker deciding to call it a day.

It’s not often that I would feel compelled to write about a player on his retirement when he spent such a short time at Burnley and when there isn’t too much to write about his time in our claret and blue although he did help win that penalty in his first game against Southampton, the only Premier League penalty we’ve been given at home since the end of 2016.

1819 burnley peter crouch 02 500x500I remember the first time I saw him play and it is almost 19 years ago when we beat QPR 1-0 at Loftus Road with a John Mullin goal. He had Clarke Carlisle as a team mate that day but he stood out to us only because he was the tallest player on the pitch and also the thinnest, both by some considerable distance.

The general consensus at the time was there was nothing really to see but when he played in the return game at the Turf he looked a different proposition altogether and it led to Stan Ternent making a £1 million offer to sign him from Spurs, from where he’d been on loan at QPR.

He opted for Portsmouth instead and so began a career that saw him play for all those clubs listed above, probably peaking at Liverpool between 2005 and 2008, scoring the goal a year later that took Spurs into the Champions League for the first time, and having an England career that lasted for 42 games and saw him score 22 goals.

He played most often for his penultimate club Stoke where he enjoyed seven and a half years before moving to Burnley on the last transfer deadline way, waving to Sam Vokes on the M6 as they passed each other.

I don’t think today’s news has come as a shock, or even a surprise. With Burnley ending the second week of pre-season and him not having joined up made it somewhat inevitable that today’s news would be coming sooner rather than later.

It came in a tweet this morning when he wrote: “After a lot of deliberation this summer I have decided to retire from football! Our wonderful game has given me everything. I’m so thankful to everyone who helped me get there and to help me stay there for so long. X”

In an interview with the Daily Mail, he said: “If you had told me I would get 42 England caps, play in finals for Liverpool and score to fire Tottenham into the Champions League, I would have had you locked up … I’ve had the time of my life.”

The striker, who once said had he not been a footballer, he’d have been a virgin, had some words for us too today. “Burnley, really, was the ideal place to finish,” he said. “I didn’t make the biggest impact after I went there in January but I was so glad I went. Sean Dyche is a top manager and the boys are quality. They have a fantastic set-up and I loved going in every day. They are a great club.”

That’s a nice way to sign off, and we wish him all the very best in his retirement although I’m sure we will hear much more from Crouchy through his plentiful media work.

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