Jimmy Greaves was the greatest goalscorer England has ever produced.
He was one of football’s first superstars way back in the 1960s when he would score goals and play the game with his own unique, remarkable style. Not only a great goalscorer but a scorer of great goals.
But there are many other facets to one of English football’s all time greats and one of the most loveable characters to ever grace the game.
Arguably his greatest achievement was the way he battled alcoholism and overcame his demons to save his own life and that of his family. We should never forget that millions in this country see footballers as role models.
Last year, BT Sport made a brilliant documentary, Greavsie, which charted his rise, fall from grace as booze blighted the end of his career and rebirth as a national icon. You could not fail to have been moved by his life.
If he didn’t save thousands of lives, then at the very least he’s certainly given hope to many. A true every day hero. An inspiration not just for alcoholics but for families of alcoholics. He was a hero on and off the pitch.
And for that reason, Greaves will be remembered as a national treasure whose achievements transcended sport. He was a humble man. Genuinely funny, nice and generous.
Greaves was a genius and his goalscoring record was phenomenal. He remains the leading scorer in English top flight football history with 357 goals in 516 games. He was a natural finisher. Fourth in England's all time list even if injury meant he lost his place in the 1966 World Cup and was not recalled for the final.
It is also a measure of the man that he was held in such affection not just by the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and West Ham but all fans.
He was not just a poacher, but a scorer of spectacular goals at a time when English football was packed with characters and stars. Even in that era, Greaves stood out.
Greaves also had a two way relationship with the crowd, they loved him as much as he loved them and he enjoyed nothing more than playing up to it.
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He scored incredible goals when the TV cameras were not always in the ground. One against Leicester when he dribbled from his own half, beat four defenders and then a young Peter Shilton is the stuff of legend. The greatest goal you never saw.
For a whole younger generation, Greaves was also a TV star alongside Ian St John in football’s most popular show of the 1980s and early 90s
Saint and Greavsie was essential viewing, Greaves was as quick with his wisecracks and quips on the show as he was when it came to taking chances on the pitch.
They had whacky ideas. They were trailblazers. During a TV blackout, they took West Ham striker Frank McAvennie, the top scorer of the First Division at the time. on a tour of London to see if anyone recognised him. Few did. Point made: football needs TV. A deal was brokered soon after.
And without doubt the most bizarre slot was when they somehow got Donald Trump to do the fifth round of the Rumbelows Cup from Trump Towers in the US.
“This is some pad you’ve got here, isn’t it?” Greaves said to Trump. “I haven’t seen a boardroom like this since I was at Doug Ellis’s at Aston Villa.”Read More Read More