The wait is over, Peter Crouch has finally told his legion of followers and listeners that the mystery “****-licker” teammate up until now known only as Parched is…
Well, we’ll not give it away at the top of the story and we should issue a spoiler alert here and now if you have not yet heard the latest edition of That Peter Crouch Podcast, the final one for series three.
The identity of Parched has been a guessing game since episode one, broadcast back in early January.
Crouch, the Stoke City and England striker, revealed that one of his old teammates had the nickname Parched because of his tendency to sidle over during any training drinks breaks to get in a manager’s ear.
“There’s a couple of instances (where a player will constantly talk to a manager),” he said.
“There’s one player that will remain nameless – I’m not saying the club, when I say remain nameless they always try to get it out me – we decided to call him Parched.
“When we were doing pre-season training it was intense, really intense, and after you’ve done your running or training everyone would go over for a drink, knackered, and drink loads of water. It was roasting hot, you’d done a load of work.
“We’d look over and Parched would be sitting with the coaching staff. He’s not had a drink. Every drinks break we’ve had he’d be around the manager, chatting to him about tactics or just getting him on side.
“So the nickname Parched really suited him. Everyone knows it. I think Parched knows who Parched is. You could trust him. He was a great lad, a top man and the only real reason he got away with it was because he was a good lad and everyone liked him.”
Jermaine Jenas and Jon Walters ruled themselves out and Crouch has previously confirmed it is not Joe Allen, James Milner, Glenn Whelan nor Steve Sidwell.
He added this week: “I’ve had voicemail after voicemail from people constantly asking me who Parched is and having a guess – and this is footballers included.
“There are a select few who know, probably three, four or five players – and the rest of the Premier League has just been all over it, it’s like Who Shot Phil?
“I just need to get it off my chest now.”
Plenty more names were thrown at Crouch before the big reveal, including Jonathan Woodgate, Jermain Defoe, Stephen Ireland, Dean Whitehead, Jamie Carragher, Matty Etherington, Michael Dawson, Glen Johnson, Steve Finnan, Jack Butland, Gareth Barry, Robert Prosinecki, Tom Huddlestone, Dirk Kuyt, Craig Bellamy and Ryan Shawcross.
Special guests making guesses included Sean Dyche, Pepe Reina, Lucy Benjamin – who shot Phil Mitchell in an EastEnders whodunnit – and Rio Ferdinand.
“Darren Fletcher is a strong shout and Rio has been in the dressing room with him at Old Trafford and thinks he has Parched-like tendencies,” said Crouch.
“I completely get the guess… but it’s just not right.”
He added: “I know people in various dressing rooms and I’m at the age where I know various managers too. People talk in the Premier League – and 100 per cent, Parched is a marmite character. He’s happy with that.
“He would tell you straight, now, if he was here, he’d say, ‘You either love me or you don’t’.”
As for Butland, he wasn’t quite off the hook.
Crouch said: “Jack Butland is Parched in the making. There’s potential.”
But who was it?
So, in the end, Parched appeared on the phone.
“It’s me, Charlie Adam,” said Parched. “What do you mean it’s so obvious?
“The only reason I found out because some guy at Reading, some groundsman or something, came up to me and asked, ‘Who’s Parched?’
“I said, ‘What?’ and said I didn’t have a clue… He said he thought it was me and I said it definitely wasn’t. Then my mate text me saying I was even money to be Parched on Crouchy’s podcast and I said, ‘What? Let me text Crouchy!’
“So I got on my phone and said, ‘What is this Parched, big man? People keep asking me.’
“And he said, ‘Well, there’s good and bad news…’
“I never knew. In the seven or eight years I was at Stoke and you’s were caning me behind my back. I didn’t have a clue and now I’m paranoid in my head about it.
“I was just learning the game and when I become a manager I’ll understand what it’s all about.”
Crouch looked back to how it all started that pre-season.
He said: “We were sitting there having a drink and someone said, ‘Has anyone seen Charl have a drink yet?’ And then it happened on more than one occasion.”
For now, Adam, playing under former Stoke coach Mark Bowen at Reading, is feeling a little paranoid.
He said: “I was asking questions about training – but now I know this I’m paranoid and I’m having a drink as often as I can. I’m staying away from the gaffer!
“Basically it’s ****-licker, isn’t it? I’ve still got half a season to go and another season after this. I could be getting slaughtered!
“It’s an honour I’ve been invited onto this. It’s a disappointment I’ve been called Parched by ex-teammates… but that will probably stick with me for the rest of my career.”