Words | Anna Pointer
20 February 1940 | 19 September 2021
‘Football will not see the likes of him again,’ were the words of Tottenham Hotspur as the sporting world paid tribute to legendary striker Jimmy Greaves following his death in September, aged 81.
Netting a peerless 357 goals in top-flight football, Greaves was a record goal-scorer for both Spurs and Chelsea and regarded by many as England’s finest marksman. Born in East London, Greaves also played for AC Milan and West Ham and was a key player in England’s World Cup-winning squad in 1966. He narrowly missed playing in the Final following a group-stage injury, which affected him deeply. ‘I had missed out on the match of a lifetime and it hurt,’ he said.
‘Born in East London, Greaves also played for AC Milan and West Ham and was a key player in England’s World Cup-winning squad in 1966’
Overcoming a struggle with alcohol addiction when his football career ended in 1971, he reinvented himself as a TV pundit alongside Liverpool FC and Scotland legend, Ian St John for hit show Saint and Greavsie which became an unmissable prelude to Saturday fixtures.
The power of Greaves’ eloquence and honour were diminished by the strokes he suffered in 2012 and 2015, but recognition of his immense influence on the game came an MBE in 2020. Among those paying their respects after his death was Gary Lineker, who tweeted: ‘Terribly sad news… A truly magnificent footballer at home in the box and on the box. A giant of the sport’. So true, Gary…
Photos | Alamy, Twitter @jimmy_greaves