Crouch signs for Saints !

Last updated : 11 July 2004 By Christian Kelly

Back in September 1997, Saints splashed out a cool one million pounds to bring in a man widely considered to be one of the biggest donkeys in English football. Criticised at both cub and especially so for international football, Carlton Plamer was no stranger to controversy. Looking for scapegoats in the England set up, the useless hacks centred on the ungainly Palmer and gave him a torrid time despite his impressive record at Sheffield Wednesday.

His last days as a Leeds player almost caused him to retire as George Graham questioned his ability at even the most basic level.

Yet at Saints, Palmer was a great addition to the first team. He controlled the midfield, was sterling in defence and was one of the highlights of the season.

So, when the hacks seem equally dismissive of Peter Crouch, I'd prefer to wait and see what he's like when he actually plays in a Saints shirt. The fact that the hacks seem to see Crouch as a direct replacemnt for a supposedly departing James Beattie, simply illustrates the lackof knowledge they have. Anyone who has seen crouch will know that he brings a different set of attributes to the club.

Obviously, the first thing that strikes people about Crouch is his ungainly height and seeming awkwardness. However, he has showed an excellent first touch with previous clubs. While any high ball will undoubtedly be met by Crouch's head, playing the ball to his feet will be Saints best option. Crouch has scored frequently for both Queen's Park Rangers and Portmouth, moving from Rangers for £1.5 million and from Portsmouth for £5 million.

While I think that £2 million is expensive for Crouch considering his lack of impact at Aston Villa, he's still young enough to warrant a second chance at proving himself in the Premiership.

On his move to Saints, Crouch said: "Paul Sturrock and Rupert Lowe are extremely ambitious for the club and I was very impressed with what they had to say,"

Crouch was keen to tell fans that they shouldn't judge him on his past with Portsmouth , but did want to remind us that he can put the ball into the net."I have scored goals - and I'm sure I can do the same here,"

"I hope the fans will judge me from now and on what I do for Southampton rather than on the past. "It was quite a while ago that I was at Portsmouth and I was not there for long so I won't be thinking about them at all."My future is at Southampton and there is not a part of me that looks back there.

I didn't come here just to sit on the bench or in the stand, I am here because I want to play. There are some great players at Southampton with international quality strikers like James Beattie, Kevin Phillips and Marian Pahars but I am looking forward to working with those players and playing alongside them. Any team in the Premiership will have four or five quality strikers so you have to compete for your place if you want to play football at the top. I am ambitious and I want to do that so it is not a problem.

Crouch has signed a four year deal with the Saints.