Peter Crouch: ‘I first did my robot dance at David Beckham’s house party’

The footballer, 40, on playing for Dulwich Hamlet, worrying about dementia, fans teasing him for being so tall and writing poems for his wife

My first love was Italian football. It was so flamboyant. Gianluca Vialli was my idol; he had this effortless style. I was also transfixed by the Football Italia show on Channel 4, James Richardson sitting by a swimming pool with his pink Gazzetta dello Sport and his tiny little cup. I said to Dad, “Why is his cup so small?” He had to explain it was an espresso, not a tiny cup of bog-standard tea.

I can be romantic. When I proposed to Ab [Abbey Clancy, Crouch’s wife] in a villa in Ibiza I set up candles all the way downstairs so she could follow them to me. I once whisked her away for a weekend in Paris and surprised her with a new outfit each night. Not all of it was perfect, but I tried my best. When I played football I used to write little poems for her and leave them around the house. I should still do that really.

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