By Oliver Dawnay
15th August 2019,
John Terry was cunning. Very cunning, Peter Crouch claims.
In fact, the former Tottenham and Liverpool striker called the former Chelsea captain’s tactics to try and manipulate referees ‘disgusting’.
Crouch, who retired from football in July after more than two decades in the game, explained Terry would call officials by their first name and enquire about their families.
Speaking in the first episode of the Back of the Net show on Amazon Prime, Crouch said: “What I saw creeping into the game, during my time, was when the captains would go in before the game and speak to the ref.
“To me, they would always be ‘ref’. I have grown up with just ‘ref’. Now it’s like Mike and James. They are all called by their first names. It’s all to get them onside.
“I remember Darren Fletcher was good at it. But John Terry was amazing at it. Just getting around the ref. ‘Ah, Mike, you alright? How is the family?’ All this.
“Unreal. I thought: ‘This is disgusting.’ He was crawling around the ref.
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“And it meant [the ref] would think twice. If he clattered someone in the first minute, he’d get up and say: ‘Sorry, Mike.’ He would then think twice about booking him. It’s little things like that.”
In the Premier League, Terry only played for Chelsea, a team he played 717 times for, including 492 top flight matches.
It could be argued his mind games worked as he picked up just 69 yellow cards and was sent off six times.
He joined Aston Villa when he left in 2017 and when he retired from playing a year later, he was appointed Dean Smith’s assistant head coach and was part of the team that masterminded Villa’s return to the Premier League.