James Peter 'Jimmy' Greaves (born 20 February 1940) is an English
former football player, and more recently a television pundit.
Chelsea, AC Milan, and Spurs
Greaves was a phenomenal striker, scoring on his debut for Chelsea in 1957.
He finished as top League goal scorer twice whilst at Chelsea in 1959 and 1961
and his 41 league goals in the 1960-61 season remains a club record.
In 1960 he became the youngest ever player to score 100 league goals in
English football at the age of 20 years 290 days (and at 23 was the same age as
Dixie Dean when he scored his 200th).
He briefly joined the Italian side A.C. Milan in 1961 and scored 9 goals in
12 games but failure to settle led to a quick departure. Bill Nicholson then
signed him for Tottenham Hotspur for ú99,999. The unusual fee was intended to
relieve Greaves of the pressure of being the first ú100,000 player.
He played at Spurs from 1961 to 1970, scoring a club record of 266 goals in
379 matches, including 220 goals in the First Division. Greaves finished as top
League goal scorer in four seasons (1963, 1964, 1965 and 1969), an achievement
that established Greaves as arguably the most consistent striker in English
football history. His record of finishing top goal scorer in six seasons has
never been matched.
With Spurs, Greaves won the FA Cup in 1962 and 1967, scoring against Burnley
in the former. He also won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1963 - scoring twice
in the famous 5-1 defeat of Atletico Madrid, ensuring that Spurs became the
first British club to win a European trophy.
Greaves won his first England cap in 1959, and went on to play 57 times and
score 44 goals, five less than Bobby Charlton but at a much higher rate. He
remains third in the all-time list of England goalscorers, behind Charlton and
Gary Lineker. Greaves also holds the record for most hat-tricks for England -
six in all.
In the 1962 World Cup finals match against Brazil in Chile, a stray dog ran
on to the pitch and evaded all of the players' efforts to catch it until Greaves
got down on all fours to beckon the animal. Though successful in catching the
dog, it managed to urinate all over Greaves' England shirt. The Brazilian player
Garrincha thought the incident was so amusing that he took the dog home as a
||James Peter Greaves
|Date of birth
||February 20, 1940
|Place of birth
||East Ham, London, England
West Ham United
Greaves was the first-choice striker for the England team during the 1966
World Cup but suffered a leg injury during a game against France and had to be
replaced. That replacement, Geoff Hurst, scored the winner in the quarter final
against Argentina and kept his place all the way to the final, famously scoring
a hat-trick as England won the tournament.
One of football's most famous photographs shows the elation on the England
bench as the final whistle was blown, except for Greaves, in his suit and tie,
looking astonished at what had happened. Greaves has always maintained that he
felt nothing but delight at England's win and celebrated as much as the other
non-playing members of the squad. He also maintains that he never felt he had a
divine right to be in the side once he regained his fitness.
West Ham and Barnet
In 1970, Greaves joined West Ham United. He scored on his debut, (as he had
for every team he played for, including England at full and under 21 level),
with two goals against Manchester City on March 21. Two months later, on May 28,
he finished sixth in the London-to-Mexico World Cup Rally with co-driver Tony
Fall. He retired in 1971 having played 516 Football League games and netted 357
Greaves made a comeback at the age of 38, playing for Barnet F.C. in the then
Southern League, playing from midfield he netted 25 goals and was their player
of the season.
Post playing career
In the mid-1970s Greaves battled a well-documented alcohol problem, finally
quitting drinking in 1978. He became a popular television presenter and football
pundit, striking up a memorable partnership with Ian St. John. Together they
hosted a popular Saturday lunchtime football show called Saint & Greavsie.
Greaves also worked frequently for TV-am as a TV critic and was a resident
team captain on ITV sports quiz Sporting Triangles as well as co-hosting
the popular Saturday morning kids TV show, The Saturday Show. He briefly had his
own talk show and has been a columnist for The Sun newspaper for many
years. In 2002 Greaves was made an Inaugural Inductee to the English Football
Hall of Fame. He released his autobiography, Greavsie, in 2003 and is in
demand as an after-dinner speaker.
Married since 1958, he is now a grandfather.