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31st Jan 2019

Peter Crouch joins Burnley 18 years after town’s race riots scuppered his move to Turf Moor

Wayne Farry

peter crouch

Crouch has joined the Clarets almost two decades after nearly signing a deal with the club

Burnley have completed the signing of Peter Crouch from Stoke City, it has been confirmed.

The former England international moves to Turf Moor until the end of the season as part of a deal which sees Sam Vokes join Stoke.

Crouch’s arrival at Burnley comes 18 years after he first came close to joining the Clarets. While at QPR in 2001, Crouch was in discussions to join Burnley in a £1m deal, even travelling to the town to speak to then manager Stan Ternent.

While unsubstantiated, an excerpt from the larger-than-life manager’s autobiography, Stan The Man – A Hard Life In Football – suggests that were it not for forces outside of football, Crouch may well have ended up at the club a lot sooner.

“Peter Crouch is sensational in the air and not too bad with his feet. He played against us for QPR and I rated him. If you put pegs on his legs they’d look like a washing line but he could withstand a tackle. He was rated at £1m but I was due to spend a bit of cash,” said Ternent.

“Crouch would cost us a packet but, as a talisman, he was worth every penny. I persuaded him to come north and we say in my kitchen to discuss his move. He liked the look of the place. So did his agent.

“Then, the next night, 300 white blokes and 300 Asians restaged the Battle of Stalingrad in Burnley town centre and the deal was off. Days after a race riot had portrayed nearby Oldham as a backward hick town torn apart by primitive hatreds, it happened in Burnley. Thank you very much, lads.”

The events mentioned by Ternent were the 2001 Burnley race riots, in which violent clashes brought the town to a standstill.

In 2011, Burnley’s Liberal Democrat council leader Charlie Briggs said the town had “moved on” from the episode, telling the BBC: “We’re not all cloth caps and whippets and we don’t have riots. The reputation of Burnley is going higher up the ladder.”

It has been the same for the football club who, after a seventh-place finish in the Premier League last season, finally look set to land Crouch, their longest of long-term targets.

As for Vokes, the Welsh international has left Burnley after five years at the club, with Stoke hoping he can help them finish a disappointing first season back in the Championship strongly.

“Sam is a player of real pedigree, he has been promoted from this level and he’s an experienced international and Premier League player,” said Stoke manager Nathan Jones.

“To get it done is something totally different to anything we have and we think he’s a marquee player for this level.”