Why laughing former Portsmouth, Liverpool and Spurs striker Peter Crouch is forced to defend himself live on TV after light-hearted Blues 'sack' dig from Tony Adams
‘He’s not bitter about it at all’ – joked Peter Crouch as he tried to wrap up the somewhat awkward but amusing conversation he’d just had with former boss Tony Adams live on his Year-late Euros TV show.
The ex-Pompey front man – who is fronting his very own late-night programme on the BBC throughout the 2020 European Championships – had just been accused of playing a key role in Adams’ sacking as Blues boss in 2009.
But it’s not as if he wasn’t expecting the satirical charge put to him in from of the viewing nation.
It’s clearly something he and Adams, who was appearing as a guest on Friday night’s show, have spoken about before.
Indeed, as soon as the former Arsenal and England ace brought up the touchy subject, without provocation, by saying ‘you got me the sack, didn’t you’, the all-smiling Crouch quickly replied: ‘I knew you would bring that up!’
The banter which then proceeded, with both backing up their respective stances, relates to Adams’ dismissal as Pompey manager back in February 2009.
It came less than two days after the Blues’ 3-2 Premier League defeat at the hands of Liverpool at Fratton Park.
Pompey went into the game on the back of three defeats and without a league win in eight matches.
That put Adams, who had only replaced Harry Redknapp three-and-a-half months earlier, under immense pressure, with fears growing over the Blues’ top-flight safety.
Crouch played a key role in giving Pompey a crucial lead, setting up David Nugent for the home side’s opener on 62 minutes.
Yet it was a mistake by the striker which presented his former club with an all-important equaliser just seven minutes later.
His suicidal backpass to goalkeeper David James, with Yossi Benayoun bearing down on goal, forced the keeper to handle the ball.
And Fabio Aurelio capitalised by firing home the subsequent free-kick from inside the penalty area.
The Blues restored their lead through Hermann Hreidarsson on 78 minutes.
Yet Liverpool hit back through Dirk Kuyt on 85 minutes, before substitute Fernando Torres claimed victory for the visitors with a header on the final whistle.
The defeat left Pompey sitting 16th in the table and Adams ultimately waving goodbye to Fratton Park after nearly three years of service, after arriving in 2006 as Redknapp’s assistance.
Since then, Adams has taken charge of Azerbaijani side Gabala and Spanish side Granada, without much success.
Is it any wonder then that he still holds a grudge!
Asked to elaborate on the ‘sacking’ by his Year-late Euros co-host Maya Jama, Crouch did attempt to put some context on the situation by saying ‘Hold on, hold on – he was my manager at Portsmouth, and he did unfortunately get the sack and I was playing, but I don’t know about getting you the sack!’
Yet Adams light-heartedly replied: ‘Hold on a minute, we’re 2-0 up and you go like that (moving his arm as if Crouch has presented Liverpool with a goal), or was it 2-2, and you go “here you go, Liverpool”. Playing against his old club. He goes “Go and score”.’
That’s when a laughing Crouch comes back to say ‘He’s not bitter about it at all’ as he attempts to restore order amid giggles from fellow quest Rob Beckett.
Following Adams’ sacking, Pompey – led by Paul Hart – finished the 2008-09 Premier League season in 14th position.
And Crouch wasn’t long following his ex-boss through the Fratton Park exit, after he joined Spurs for £10m that summer.