Jimmy Greaves 1940-2021: English football's greatest ever goalscorer

By Sports Desk September 19, 2021

Jimmy Greaves is among the finest players England has ever produced and remained one of the great entertainers long into retirement.

Tottenham, Chelsea and England icon Greaves died on September 19 at the age of 81.

A naturally clinical finisher with both feet, who terrorised defences throughout a record-breaking career, the inside forward is the leading goalscorer in the history of the English top flight.

The World Cup winner found the back of the net a staggering 357 times in 516 First Division games and ended six seasons as the highest scorer.

He is also Spurs' record goalscorer, having notched an incredible 266 goals from 379 appearances, and is fourth on the list of England's leading scorers, with 44 from 57 matches – including a record six hat-tricks.

His status as the highest scorer in the top five European leagues was only lost as recently as 2017, when Cristiano Ronaldo surpassed his haul.

Greaves glided past opponents with a sharp turn of pace and exhilarating skills, and would caress the ball beyond goalkeepers with ice-cool composure.

The prolific maestro pounced on opportunities in a flash, could conjure up chances for himself out of nothing and provide assists with moments of magic.

Born in Manor Park, East Ham, Greaves signed for Chelsea as a junior in 1956 and shattered a club record by bagging 114 goals for the youth team.

He got his first-team chance on the opening day of the 1957-58 season and grabbed it with both hands, scoring a brilliant solo goal in a 1-1 draw against Tottenham, aged 17.

Greaves helped himself to 13 hat-tricks for the Blues – within a stunning overall haul of 132 goals in 169 games – before making a switch to Milan, where he also demonstrated his goalscoring prowess but swiftly returned to London with Spurs after failing to settle in Italy.

The ruthless marksman and his wife, Irene, moved in with his in-laws after sealing a £99,999 transfer to White Hart Lane in December 1961, having headed back to his homeland out of pocket.

A modest superstar, Greaves would go for a pre-match meal of pie, eels and mash in Canning Town before showing he had not lost his appetite for scoring goals, establishing himself as a massive fans' favourite at Spurs.

His debut hat-trick against Blackpool was a sign of things to come in an astonishing nine years at White Hart Lane, where the crowds flocked in to see a master at work.

He won the FA Cup twice, netting in the 1962 final against Burnley and also lifting the famous trophy in 1967 after grabbing a double in the 5-1 1963 European Cup Winners' Cup final demolition of Atletico Madrid.

Greaves was out of the game for three months in 1965 after contracting hepatitis but recovered to make the England squad for the 1966 World Cup.

He played in the first three games of the tournament before picking up an injury and watched on as Geoff Hurst, his replacement, scored a hat-trick in a dramatic final victory over West Germany as the hosts were crowned world champions.

While Greaves was denied the opportunity to feature in what remains England's finest hour, Hurst described him as "the greatest goalscorer ever in the English game" and a "genius".

A battle with alcoholism followed his top-flight swansong at West Ham, but Greaves overcame his demons and shone brightly in the spotlight during a successful television career with his sharp wit and dry sense of humour.

He formed a brilliant double act with Ian St John for the must-watch Saint and Greavsie show, which was a national institution, and he was also great value as a newspaper columnist and public speaker.

Greaves survived a serious stroke in 2015 and declared he wanted to live until he was at least 90.

A class act on and off the field, Greaves was a phenomenon, hugely respected and one of a kind.

Related items

  • Diaz set for Milan return after testing negative for coronavirus Diaz set for Milan return after testing negative for coronavirus

    Milan playmaker Brahim Diaz is poised for a first-team return after testing negative for coronavirus.

    The Spaniard has missed the last three games for the Rossoneri after contracting COVID-19.

    Diaz, 22, was forced to isolate while Milan secured Serie A wins over Hellas Verona and Bologna either side of a Champions League defeat to Porto.

    Ahead of Milan's clash with Torino on Tuesday, the San Siro club said on their website: "AC Milan announces that Brahim Diaz has tested negative to the COVID-19 swab test."

    Diaz, on loan from Real Madrid, has scored three goals in Serie A this season and provided one assist.

    Stefano Pioli's side will go top of the table if they avoid defeat at home against Torino.

  • DeRozan and Bulls 'want to win now' after following in Michael Jordan's footsteps with 4-0 start DeRozan and Bulls 'want to win now' after following in Michael Jordan's footsteps with 4-0 start

    DeMar DeRozan insisted the Chicago Bulls "want to win now" after opening the season 4-0 for the first time since 1996-97.

    The red-hot Bulls preserved their perfect record with a 111-108 victory against the Toronto Raptors in the NBA on Monday.

    Chicago – the last remaining unbeaten team in the Eastern Conference – were busy in the offseason, having recruited four-time All-Star DeRozan, former second pick Lonzo Ball and 2020 NBA champion Alex Caruso.

    It came after the Bulls traded for two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic last season.

    The last time the Bulls opened with a 4-0 record, Hall of Famer and six-time champion Michael Jordan was on the team in Chicago.

    "Part of the reason why I even chose to come to Chicago was everyone was eager to be successful, to want to win," DeRozan said after scoring 26 points against his former team.

    "Everybody had that chip on their shoulder, from the city to the organisation to the players that I spoke to.

    "That was everybody's mindset, it's all about winning now. We're not in a development stage, we want to win now."

    DeRozan added: "We've got a long way to go. We've got a lot more to clean up, to learn. It's a long season, man. [The 4-0 start] is great, but we've got a lot more basketball to go.

    "We can't carry this record like it's some kind of badge of honour; we've got to understand that the next game is going to be even harder."

    The previous two times the Bulls started 4-0 (1995-96 and 1996-97), they went on to win the NBA championship.

    "I think we have a lot of high-character guys, we all want to win and we want to win together," Ball added. "I think when you have a bunch of guys on the same team with the same common goal and the same mindset it makes it easier for the chemistry to click. That's what's going on."

  • Rumour Has It: Man City plot move for Barcelona's De Jong Rumour Has It: Man City plot move for Barcelona's De Jong

    Manchester City had a relatively quiet off-season in the transfer market.

    City landed Jack Grealish from Aston Villa in a big-money move but failed in their efforts to sign Tottenham star Harry Kane following Sergio Aguero's exit.

    But the Premier League champions could be more active in the January transfer window.

     

    TOP STORY – CITY PLAN FOR DE JONG SWOOP

    Manchester City are plotting a move for Barcelona star midfielder Frenkie de Jong, according to Calciomercato.

    De Jong, who also has interest from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, signed a five-year deal with Barcelona effective from July 2019, tying him down to 2024.

    The 24-year-old Netherlands international has made 11 appearances in all competitions this season and is yet to score.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Fabrizio Romano claims Manchester United have made no official proposal for former Chelsea and Inter boss Antonio Conte yet amid doubts over the future of Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following Sunday's 5-0 rout at the hands of Liverpool. Zinedine Zidane and Ajax's Erik ten Hag are also possible options.

    - Manchester United's wantaway Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek is preparing to make a January move with Voetbal International claiming he has swapped agents. EvertonNewcastle United and Juventus are all interested in Van de Beek, per Metro.

    Paris Saint-Germain will switch their attention to Bayern midfielder Corentin Tolisso if they cannot secure a move for Manchester United's Paul Pogba, reports Calciomercato. Pogba has also been linked with Juve and Real Madrid.

    Newcastle and Juve are contending to sign Barca forward Ousmane Dembele, according to Sport. Dembele is set to exit Barca at the end of this season and his agent has reportedly been in touch with both clubs about a move, while Liverpool and United are also possible destinations.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.