Peter Crouch jokes hed prefer playing football on Christmas Day over family time

As we’ve seen when they’ve appeared giggling up a storm on Celebrity Gogglebox, Peter Crouch and wife Abbey Clancy are game for a laugh.

But even she may be miffed when Peter admits that he’d rather spend Christmas Day on the pitch than in the company of his wife and kids!

“I’ll be honest, I would actually rather play football,” laughs the former England footballer, 40, who hasn’t played a game on Boxing Day since he retired in 2019.

Now Peter gets to indulge on Christmas Day with his family – his wife of 10 years Abbey, 35, and their four children: Sophia, 10, Liberty, six, Johnny, three, and Jack, two.

For the rest of the year, he’s been as busy as ever doing punditry work, hosting Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer last year and his popular podcast, That Peter Crouch Podcast.

He’s also found time to return to one of his first football teams, Dulwich Hamlet FC, to bring it back from the brink, with a documentary following his progress.

Here, Peter tells us what Christmas is like in their household and what his plans are now he’s fulfilled all his ambitions as a footballer…

What was it like having your first Christmas at home in 2019 when you retired?

I probably got in the first team when I was about 18 and I had no real Christmases up until 38 when I retired. Obviously we did celebrate and I had a nice Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day we’d be training and I’d often be in a hotel Christmas night because we’d play Boxing Day, as well as December 28.

So I couldn’t really have a drink. New Year’s Eve I’d often be in a hotel too and go to bed at 10pm for a New Year’s Day match. It was quite an intense period football-wise.

But as soon as I retired, I did everything that everyone else does. I got drunk, ate a lot and went to the football.

Did it feel special?

It was good but I’ll be honest, after one year I would actually rather play football! There’s something special about not being hungover when everyone else is, and about training on Christmas Day.

It felt quite festive so I enjoyed it in a weird way. I suppose it’s all I’ve ever been used to. It was nice spending time with my family, but it was nice playing football and all your family coming to watch you.

Is Abbey a football widow on Boxing Day still?

I do like to try and watch it on the TV. I’ll go to a game if I’m working but it’s hard to get away with it if I’m not. I think if I was on my own it might be difficult, but it helps that I have the back-up of Abbey’s dad and brother, who enjoy watching it as well.

What’s Christmas like in your house? It must be chaotic…

Yeah, obviously Christmas is for the kids and we’re lucky we’ve got four – they absolutely love it. So our thing is just trying to make sure they have the best time ever. Then obviously there’s a lot of us family-wise, so usually everyone comes to us if they can.

Who tends to cook?

Abbey, her mum and her brother are very good. They all muck in and do it.

Do you have lots of traditions?

Abbey always likes to get all of us in the same pyjamas. Whoever is staying with us on Christmas Eve has to get the same pyjamas with their name on, too. There’s usually a picture of all of us flying around on Instagram.

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Are you any good at buying presents for Abbey?

Oh, I’m useless. To be honest, Abbey does everything with regards to presents – her and Father Christmas obviously. All I have to do is buy presents for her and quite often I get that wrong.

Does she pretend she’s happy with it?

Oh no. She tells me straight away. I think one year she said to me, “You don’t even know who I am!”

That was my favourite year! I got her a maroon baby bag because we’d just had our first baby, so I thought that’d be helpful.

She said, “It’s maroon, Pete!” I said, “Yeah, but it’s got little pockets for bottles and dummies and stuff.” She was like, “It’s ridiculous.”

She’s had the same Burberry mac for the last three years. I forgot I’d bought it for her the year before and I got her the same one but it was the slightly newer version. She didn’t wear it last year that’s why I forgot!

Abbey was on Strictly Come Dancing. Is that something you’d do?

I don’t think so. Never say never but the thing is, Abbey won it and I’m quite competitive, and there are only so many robots you can do!

After I’d done that, I’d be out I reckon [laughs].

Was it weird watching her on Strictly?

Yeah, it’s a bit of a mad thing for both sides. I just don’t think I would do it, but purely because of the fact that Abbey won it and I probably wouldn’t.

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Any hopes and ambitions for the future?

Since I retired I’ve had no long-term plans. I’ve got a job on my hands with Dulwich Hamlets FC.

I feel like I’ve got to make sure I get that right. But everything else I’m just going to enjoy and hopefully people enjoy it along with me.

Interview: Rachel Corcoran

Peter Crouch: Save Our Beautiful Game, available to stream on discovery+ from Tuesday 28 December

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