‘I hope he doesn’t mind me mentioning this’ – Peter Crouch’s verdict on whether players should take a pay cut



Peter Crouch has been in enough changing rooms to get a good idea how players from all clubs react to different situations – even unprecedented ones like his pandemic.

So he must have been frustrated when footballers were singled out by high profile politicians over the last couple of weeks.

That shows in the former Stoke City striker’s answer to whether players should get a pay cut, in a Q&A for his Daily Mail column.

And he gives a previously unknown story about former England teammate Joe Cole which shows how many players try to go about major charitable business quietly.

“The players were always going to contribute,” he said.

“The initiative that was launched this week — #PlayersTogether — showed the depth of feeling in dressing rooms. There had been a huge outcry but I know a lot of players and I know how eager they were to help.

“This is something that, rightly, has attracted positive headlines but I think it is important to stress the amount of good work that goes on behind the scenes that doesn’t get spoken about. People, remember, don’t always do things just for publicity.

“Take Joe Cole. I hope he doesn’t mind me mentioning this but as soon as the crisis began, he and his wife Carly got into action to help the NHS by raising money through Help Them Help Us. They have raised £650,000 in just two weeks. A spin-off from that is Art For Heroes, where you can buy online art collections.

“I have been up and down the country in my career and I know the way dressing rooms think. If someone leaves or someone is having a bad time, the players always get together to make sure that nobody is suffering. The people around the place make the training ground what it is.

“I don’t believe for one minute that players would put themselves ahead of any of the non-playing staff who are having troubles. Southampton’s squad have taken a pay cut and I would expect many more to follow. It can’t be any other way.”

Stoke players, coaches and staff have been privately trying to play their own part over the last couple of weeks.

Captain Ryan Shawcross, Jack Butland, Sam Vokes and manager Michael O’Neill have been among those who have been ringing fans who are self-isolating.

James McClean, Joe Allen and Tom Edwards have all made significant donations to charities or hospitals or both.

And the Denise Coates Foundation has made a £10m donation to local hospitals to help those on the front line.





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