Ask Crouchie! Our resident columnist is back to answer YOUR questions

Ask Crouchie! Our resident columnist is back to answer YOUR questions… how John Terry used to get on the good side of referees, Sol Campbell skipping sessions at Portsmouth and the time a Stoke team-mate was late to training thanks to his electric gates!

  • Peter Crouch has answered more of your questions in his weekly column
  • Crouchie discusses best and worst trainers and why no players become referees
  • The big man also reveals how John Terry used to get on the good side of referees 
  • He also explains the time a Stoke colleague was late because of his electric gates

There’s still no sign of when football will be returning, but there’s still plenty of interesting 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.

From food to bands, find out what’s on Crouchie’s mind this week, and who the big man opts to name as his best and worst trainers and the ground he found the toughest to play at. 

Peter Crouch answers your questions as part of a new weekly series here on Sportsmail

What’s your favourite pub in the world?

Kai Sureshot via Twitter

Oh, Kai, where do I begin with this one? It would have been easier to ask who I wanted behind me in midfield – Xavi, Ronaldinho or Zidane! We are going to have to start with a shortlist that is headed by The Duke of Kent on Pitsinger Lane in Ealing and Duffy’s, also in Ealing.

They were the first pubs I ventured into when I turned 18 (honestly) and they have a lot of history and memories. You always remember your first ones. The list is completed by The Stag in Hampstead (fantastic beer garden) and The Washington on England’s Lane in Belsize Park.

If I have to make my ultimate choice, I’m going for The Washington. There are nice, cosy areas, the Guinness is always good on a winter’s evening and it’s just a fantastic place – everything a British pub should be. You should be able to tell from this answer that I’d do anything for a pint there.

Hi champ. How many Easter Eggs have you eaten so far, what is your favourite Easter Egg and have you taken advantage of the discounted ones in recent days?

Tim Crooks via Twitter

Well, Tim, I haven’t restocked the cupboard but I can tell you we went through the card in our house: there were Dairy Milks, Caramels, Wispas, Ripples and they were cracked open from first light on Easter Sunday. I don’t think it would be wise to give you a precise figure on how many were eaten.

I do love a Caramel but too many of them can be quite sickly. My favourite has to be the Dairy Milk – an all-time classic that never loses its appeal. 

Why is it we don’t see many ex-professional footballers become referees? Would you have considered the role?

Mike Lytheer via email

It’s a good question, Mike. I think one of the issues would be the process you have to go through to become a match official. I spoke to Mike Dean recently and he told me how he had been refereeing for 30 years; the experience he has built up is vast and should be respected.

You couldn’t just finish playing and go straight into running a Premier League game, you would have to start at the bottom and work your way up. It has never appealed to me, in all honesty, but after chatting to Mike – and Andre Marriner – I have a new respect for the jobs they do.

I have a new respect for Premier League referees after speaking to Mike Dean recently

What club’s fans would you say gave you the most stick and did it ever wind you up or spur you on?

Martin Pelosi via email

One of my worst memories, Martin, was the day Gillingham fans targeted me when I was starting out at QPR. I looked quite awkward back then and they hounded me throughout this one particular game. It was a horrible experience.

Chelsea was another place that I would get dreadful stick, when playing there for Liverpool and Tottenham. The affections I had for them as a kid disappeared after the way they treated me. The stick that spurred me on most, though, came from England fans.

I will never forget being booed on at Old Trafford in 2005 against Austria. That was a dreadful feeling but it made me determined to show everyone I could play for England and do well. I’d like to think I made my point over the next five years.

Chelsea was a place I got enormous stick when playing there for Liverpool and Tottenham

Who was the best – and who was the worst – trainer you played with in your career and why?

Gemgems via Twitter

I’d find it hard to separate Gareth Bale at Tottenham and Frank Lampard at England for being the best. They did everything to squeeze every last drop out of themselves and you could guarantee they were always first out and last in from a session.

The worst has to be Sol Campbell at Portsmouth. He had reached the end of his career by then and he’d probably lost some of his enthusiasm. You’d see him in the masseurs room of a morning, getting his legs rubbed, and Harry Redknapp would shout to him: ‘You out today, Sol?’

‘Not today,’ would come the reply. He’d get plenty of stick for it but he felt he’d earned the right to do that and his performances at the weekend were never below par. I should add that I was a kid at Spurs with Sol and he was a brilliant trainer then.

Sol Campbell got some stick for his training at Portsmouth but his performances never slipped

What is the best/ funniest excuse you or a team mate has used for being late?

Paul Donnelly via email

I will keep this player’s identity anonymous, Paul, but there was a magnificent one at Stoke. We had to be in for 9am and this guy had a real problem with timekeeping. We heard the full range of reasons, from blown out tyres to traffic jams on the motorway.

One morning he was late again and called in to say the electric gates on the front of his house had broken and he couldn’t get his car out; 45 minutes later, he turned up in the car he said was stuck at our base in Clayton Woods, as if nothing had gone wrong.

‘Did you get your gates fixed?’ he was asked.

‘No, I’m waiting on someone to come out,’ he said.

‘Well, how did you get your car out the driveway then?’ came the incredulous reply.

Our hero – not for the first time – was lost for words, while we were roaring with laughter. It was the equivalent of a schoolboy saying the dog had eaten his homework.

A former player at Stoke claims he was late to training once because of his electric gates

Why do some managers make the goalkeeper their captain when play can hardly be influenced from that position?

Nigel Fortnam, Lyme Regis

You have got me thinking with this, Nigel. You see a lot of international captains as goalkeepers – Dino Zoff, Iker Casillas and Hugo Lloris all lifted the World Cup – and there is an argument to say that they are best placed to be skipper as they can see the whole game in front of them.

Personally, though, it wouldn’t be my choice. I prefer a central midfielder or a central defender to have the armband. They are in a position to speak to referees and contest the contentious decisions and if they have the chance to alter the game by one or two per cent so much the better.

John Terry was an absolute master of doing that – he used to ask referees how their families were doing when they were in the tunnel and call them by their first name. You might not think it is the case but those little elements make a difference.

John Terry knew all the tricks to try and get a referee on his side before a game got underway

What is the most ridiculous thing you have had to do in front of your team-mates – be it a forfeit or a new boy initiation?

Ian Stanton via email

I could probably fill this page with the daft things that I have done, Ian. You will know that singing is a big part of a footballer’s initiation at a new club and I have destroyed a number of old classics in my time. There have also been some rather questionable fancy dress outfits.

Ridiculous is a good word and it fits my last initiation at Burnley. Using a fork as an impromptu microphone, I took on the words to ‘Informer’ by Snow, the 1990s rapper. 

Yes, it was as bad as it sounds but the lads joined in, so it wasn’t too bad.

Pete, as there is no sport on TV or gigs to go to what are you watching on TV? And what music are you currently listening to?

Jim M via email

I’m going through the Britpop back catalogue, Jim, and have had plenty of old stuff from Oasis on. With the weather being so nice, I’ve also had CDs from Café Mambo in Ibiza on in the back garden to create a summer vibe.

We’ve been watching plenty of TV and Abbey and I’s favourite at the minute is The Nest, which was a five-part thriller on BBC One. It’s the best we have seen in a long time. If you have any recommendations for the lockdown, send them my way. 

Until next week, stay safe and well.

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