Jimmy Greaves: Former England, Tottenham and Chelsea striker dies aged 81 | Football news
Former England, Tottenham and Chelsea striker Jimmy Greaves has died aged 81.
Greaves is Spurs’ top scorer with 266 goals in 379 games for the North London club. His 37 league goals in the 1962/63 season remain a club record.
He was also part of the England team that won the World Cup in 1966 and ended his international career with 44 goals in just 57 caps.
He died at his home in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Greaves started his career at Chelsea and scored on his debut – against Spurs – in 1957.
He spent four years as a professional with the Blues and scored 41 Premier League goals in 1960/61 – another club record.
Greaves then moved to AC Milan but struggled to settle in Italy – despite an impressive scoring record – and quickly returned to England with Tottenham in 1961, where he scored a hat-trick on his debut against Blackpool.
The striker also found his way to the net with Spurs ‘FA Cup final victory in 1962 and their victory in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final – the first European trophy won by an English club – in 1963. He won another FA Cup with the Spurs in 1967.
Greaves then joined West Ham in 1970 before ending his professional career, at age 31, a year later.
His 366 goals during his time in England and Italy made him the top scorer in Europe’s top five leagues until he was eclipsed by Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2016/17 season.
Greaves’ 44 goals in England make him the fourth top scorer in his country. Although he did not play in the 1966 final victory over West Germany, he eventually received a World Cup winner’s medal in 2009 after a long campaign.
He also obtained an MBE in 2020.
Greaves is survived by his wife Irene and four children, as well as their 10 grandchildren and great grandchildren.
We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the great Jimmy Greaves.
We offer our deepest condolences to Jimmy’s family and friends at this sad time.
Rest in peace, Jimmy.
– Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 19, 2021
The “genius” of the English scorers who missed his greatest triumph
By PA Media
For many, he will be remembered as the bewildered, dressed figure on the Wembley sideline as everything around him erupted with joy at the moment of England’s 1966 World Cup victory.
For others of a certain era, it is his jovial co-hosting of a Saturday noon television show that will be remembered the longest.
But for anyone inclined to peruse the record books, Jimmy Greaves will go down in history as one of the greatest goal scorers of his generation or any generation.
Sir Geoff Hurst, who replaced Greaves in the 1966 squad and scored a hat-trick in the final triumph over West Germany, said Greaves was simply the greatest English striker who ever existed.
“There have been some great players, but forwards are judged on goal, and no one could touch him,” Hurst told the PA News Agency in February 2020.
“I am asked if there is animosity between Jimmy and me, because I took his place? But not for a second.
“You hear the term genius, and that’s the only word that applies to Jimmy.”
“The best sniper the country has ever seen”
Tributes to Greaves poured in on Sunday morning after news of his death was announced, with Spurs describing him as “the best sniper this country has ever seen”.
The club added: “He was a natural goalscorer, always in the right place at the right time to add the finishing touches to another well-worked move, while he could also create his own goals, as he did at numerous times by sliding in front of defenders and passing the ball to the back of the net.
“He had impeccable ball control, good balance and such a composure in front of goal that he rarely missed an opportunity.
“Football will never see its equal again.”
Chelsea, where Greaves started his career, hailed him as the “top scorer” to play for the club.
“Chelsea Football Club mourns the loss of a truly remarkable player and one of us,” read a statement. âOur thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Jimmy Greaves at this time of their sad loss.
Everyone at Chelsea Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the great Jimmy Greaves.
Our hearts go out to his family and friends. ??
– Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 19, 2021
“Those who have seen Greaves effortlessly move through a defense with the ball at his feet, before passing it past the goalkeeper and into the net, have universally hailed him as the top scorer to play for Chelsea FC .
“They normally go further too and describe the East Londoner as the best finisher English football has ever seen.”
A statement from the England team on Twitter read: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jimmy Greaves at the age of 81.
“Jimmy was part of our World Cup winning squad and scored 44 remarkable goals in 57 games for the Three Lions. All our thoughts are with his family, friends and former clubs.”
England coach Gareth Southgate added: “Jimmy Greaves was someone who was admired by all who love football, regardless of their club allegiance.
âI had the privilege of being able to meet Jimmy’s family last year at Tottenham Hotspur as the club celebrated their 80th anniversary. My thoughts are with them and I know the whole game will mourn his passing.
“Jimmy certainly deserves to be included in any list of England’s top players, given his status as one of our greatest goalscorers and his role in our 1966 World Cup success.
“We will pay tribute to his memory in our home game against Hungary at Wembley Stadium next month. His place in our history will never be forgotten.”
England captain Harry Kane called Greaves “a true legend and one of the great scorers”. Jamie Carragher described him as “the best goalscorer we’ve ever seen”, while Rio Ferdinand said he was an “inspiration”.
What sad news this morning on the passing of Jimmy. A true legend of the game, love and thoughts to all of Jimmy’s family. RIP â½ï¸.
– Glenn Hoddle (@GlennHoddle) September 19, 2021
Big loss to the football world … I send my condolences to the Greaves family. First autobiography I have ever read! Inspiration â¤ï¸ https://t.co/E6R9MNSHXd
– Rio Ferdinand (@ rioferdy5) September 19, 2021
RIP Jimmy. Great player, great man. Very funny. Humble. Jimmy is what Spurs are: “Dare is to do” … “When you come to meet the big goalscorer in Heaven, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but how you played the game”. My prayers and thoughts with his family and friends. https://t.co/CgeVmWhtgM
– osvaldo ardiles (@osvaldooardiles) September 19, 2021