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8

Jimmy Greaves

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Position: Striker

Born: 10 February 1940 (London, England)

Jimmy Greaves

1961-1970
Appearances: 379. Goals: 266.
FA Cup winner 1962, 1967
European CWC winner 1963
The Club's all-time record goalscorer

Arguably the greatest striker ever to grace the game, ‘Greavsie’ set countless records during an incredible playing career, many of which still stand to this day.

Born in East Ham on 20 February, 1940, Jimmy was a goalscoring phenomenon from his early days. He signed professional forms at Chelsea aged 17 in 1957 and scored on his debut against us at White Hart Lane in August, 1957. A star was born. Jimmy scored 132 goals in 169 appearances for the Blues before a transfer to Italy and AC Milan in 1960.

His stay in Serie A was brief and after nine goals in 14 appearances, Bill Nicholson brought him back to England, joining our double-winning squad for a famous £99,999 fee in December, 1961. He hit a hat-trick on his debut against Blackpool and went on to score 266 goals for us in 379 appearances (all competitions). He scored in the FA Cup Final as we defended the trophy in 1962, twice in the Cup Winners’ Cup Final against Atletico Madrid as we became the first British team to triumph in Europe in 1963 and lifted the FA Cup again in 1967.

But that’s only half the story...

Jimmy scored 44 goals in 57 games for England. In 1965, the year before England’s home World Cup, he contracted hepatitis, an illness that took him out of the game for three months. He recovered to make the England squad and played in the first three games of the tournament, but injury then ruled him out of the quarter-final. Geoff Hurst took over – and the rest is history.

Jimmy retired at the end of the 1970/71 season and lost without football, spent much of the 1970s battling alcoholism, but having got himself sober, he got a newspaper column with The Sun and wrote a book with friend Norman Giller called This One’s on Me. His searingly honest documentary Just For Today, based on This One’s On Me, propelled him back into the public spotlight with a wave of support.

After spells on ATV in the Midlands and on the panel for the 1982 World Cup, ITV executives paired Jimmy up with former Liverpool footballer Ian St John - Saint and Greavsie was born. It was a colossal hit, awards were won and Greavsie was a major public figure again.

Sadly, Jimmy suffered a severe stroke in 2015. He survived, but is now wheelchair-bound.

What they said about Greavsie...

"Jim was a terrific lad, when you're talking about goalscorers he’s the greatest goalscorer there ever was and ever will be, all he wanted to do was score goals and he did that better than anybody I’ve ever seen and a fantastic, terrific character."
Cliff Jones, team-mate 1961-68

"He was a genius, a master goalscorer. I only had the pleasure of playing with him for six months but when we visited away grounds, it was like the top gunslinger coming to town. He was pure class, a great man."
Steve Perryman, team-mate 1969-70

"For me, Jimmy was the greatest, the best goalscorer ever. No-one put the ball in the net like him. Not only did he score goals, he made them as well, from all angles. Jim just passed the ball into the net, never lashed it. He was brilliant to me in the early days. I probably cost him his bonus money in games no end of times but he’d come into the dressing room and say ‘keep going son, you’re going to be the best’ and I appreciated that when I needed it most.”
Pat Jennings, team-mate 1964-70

“I wanted to sign him from the moment I saw him score his first goal in League football on his Chelsea debut at White Hart Lane. What a tremendous goal it was! He beat three defenders before stroking the ball in the back of the net. It had all the hallmarks of his game - improvisation and genius.”
Bill Nicholson, manager 1961-70, in his autobiography 'Glory, Glory - My Life with Spurs', 1984

Greavsie - the numbers...

17 - Jimmy's age on his debut - he scored against us for Chelsea in August, 1957
266 - Jimmy's goals for Spurs in 379 competitive appearances, 1961-70
3 - Jimmy won the FA Cup twice and the Cup Winners' Cup at Spurs
357 - Jimmy's top-flight goals between 1957-71 - still a record
6 - Jimmy was top-scorer in Division One six times - still a record
37 - Jimmy scored 37 league goals in 1962/63 - still a Club record
44 - Jimmy's goals in 57 England caps