The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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Peter Crouch, Like a Gangly Blackbird, Flies

The mystery unveiled.

Three days ago, Portsmouth officially unveiled Peter Crouch as the newest member of their squad. I’m happy about this for any number of reasons—my new hobby is constructing little scenes around the logistical challenges of veiling him in the first place (Harry Redknapp: “You can still see his fffffucking knees, can’t you, Nigel? What’ve you got on him, a bedsheet from a five-year-old girl? Why’s it so bloody hard to find a king-size ffffffffffucking comforter, that’s what I wanna know”)—but mostly because seeing Harry Redknapp and Peter Crouch brought together is a satisfaction to the secret dreams of my heart. The girlish legs of the world’s sweetest contortionist plying their trade for the sheet-metal eyes of my favorite titan of banditry.

It’s a great piece of news both from the perspective of Peter Crouch fans (he’ll finally get to play! and for a club that might even appreciate him!) and from that of Harry Redknapp fans (if Harry goes to prison, Crouch, baked into a cake, could file through the bars). Further, am I right in thinking that Portsmouth are shaping up to be a worthwhile cause next season? All those castoffs and stylish misfits, all those £10 million bargains bought quietly with the left hand while their previous teams were busy chasing down the latest unsung tune out of the Benfica youth choir. I have no idea how it will work, but watching Crouch play alongside the increasingly mysterious and owl-like Jermain Defoe should at least offer a spectacle of clumsy loveliness, like a drawing in which a child builds a ladder to the moon. Add the frictionless motions of Niko Kranjčar and David James’s literary talent and you have the most intriguing FA Cup title defense since Dandy Clyde Thorncastle and Pepe Bulgar were running the box midfield for Burnley (a situation I just made up).

Harry Redknapp may be a short-tempered money launderer and the owner of a racehorse named after the most Yoko-influenced of John Lennon’s studio albums, but the man has an eye for style.

ADDENDUM: Peter James Crouch and Jermain Colin Defoe have two of the same letters in their initials. It signifies utterly nothing, but if I start selling a cryptic t-shirt with a PJCD design after Portsmouth open the season 3-0, I want you to know for what tenuous reason you’re buying it.

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Peter Crouch, Like a Gangly Blackbird, Flies

by Brian Phillips · July 14, 2008

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