Height : - .m (5' 8")
Weight : - - kgs (10st 8lbs)
One of the foremost goal-scorers of his generation, Jimmy Greaves' name became synonymous with hitting the back of the net on a very regular basis.
Noted for scoring on every debut he made for each club, Jimmy Greaves was the premier striker of his day and scored goals from every conceivable angle and with every part of his body. It didn't matter to Greavsie, as long as the ball crossed the white line between the posts and under the crossbar.
And his time in football could have been so different, as he was originally due to sign for Tottenham in 1955, but when manager Arthur Rowe was ill as Greaves left school, Chelsea's representatives stole the young prodigy away and made him a Chelsea player.
Raised in the football breeding ground of Dagenham, he attended Southwood Lane Primary School and came from the same area as Terry Venables and Alf Ramsey.
Started his career in 1957 at Stamford Bridge and his first game was against Spurs at White Hart Lane in a 1-1 draw and inevitably, it was Greaves' name against the Chelsea goal on the score-sheet. He scored regularly in the Blues side and his prolific goal-scoring (including a record six hat-tricks in the top flight during season 1960-61 which got him 41 goals - a club record for goals in a single league season to this day) came to the attention of the Italians, who wanted someone to unlock the rigid defensive systems in their own league. Suffering under the maximum wage, the money offered to him by AC Milan was hugely tempting and with his four month old son Jimmy Junior having died with pneumonia, Greaves saw this as an escape from the pain of his son's death too. Already signed by the Italian club, there was a ban on importing foreign players, but when this was lifted in 1961, Greaves moved to Milan. However, while he was waiting for the ban to be lifted, the maximum wage was abolished in England and he was suddenly playing for more money in a country he didn't particularly want to be in. He had tried desperately to get out of the move to Italy, but couldn't and Milan had thrown even more money at him to make him join them.
In truth, it was the worst move he could have made, with him being punished for breaking club rules and lacking the freedom he had been used to in England. He was told what to eat by the manager and was watched while he ate it. He was not allowed more than two cigarettes a day and he was fined for going outside the city limits. While there, he enjoyed his time on the pitch, despite hating the defensive Italian style, but his nine goals contributed to AC Milan winning the Serie A title, although Jimmy did not play enough games to merit a medal. Jimmy was not happy and desperately wanted to return to England, so began a campaign of disobedience, which lead to him paying more than his salary in fines !! Having been invited back to London to attend a function at the Cafe Royal, Bill Nicholson bumped into him in the gents toilets and asked how he was.
Chelsea had been interested in taking him back, but his six month spell was ended when Bill Nicholson brought Jimmy back to London for a fee of £99,999, as he didn't want him to be burdened with the tag of being the first £100,000 footballer. His first appearance in a Spurs shirt was not in the first team, but in a reserve match at Home Park, when 13,500 turned out to see him play against Plymouth Argyle reserves. His first team debut saw the relief in returning to football that he knew and his hat-trick against Blackpool started repaying the fee and the belief Bill Nick had in him.
At the end of the first season with the club, he had hit 21 league goals, scored the first goal in the FA Cup Final win over Burnley, winning his first medal and the following year a double in the Final of the European Cup Winners Cup set the team on to a 5-1 win over Atletico Madrid.
With a poise when bearing down on goal rarely seen in football, whether he had one player to beat or several, his balance and striking power was complemented with a calmness that allowed him sometimes to pass the ball into the net, making the whole business look easy. Ever alert to tap-ins after a keeper had made a save, his most memorable goals are those from long mazy runs, like the ones at White Hart Lane against Leicester City (October 1968), Manchester United (October 1965) and Newcastle United (December 1966). But other goals came from his head and whichever foot was to hand. He topped the Spurs goal-scoring charts for eight consecutive seasons from 1961-62 to 1968-69, with six of them also topping the First Division scorers chart (being the first player to top the scorers in the top division for three consecutive seasons from 1962-63 to 1964-65). His 37 goals in the 1962-63 season is still a league record for Spurs.
The most gifted goal-scorer of his generation, Jimmy was never one for partaking of the sordid side of the game ... chasing back after defenders or helping out in defence. His job was to stick the ball in the back of the net and he did that with frightening regularity. Never one to thunder a shot home when he could side-foot it with great precision past the goalkeeper, Greaves scored goals from everywhere in almost every conceivable way and in his Spurs career ended up with 220 league goals and 266 goals in all competitive games - surely, totals which will never be exceeded.
There was a regular place in the England side, many of the games he played were alongside Spurs team-mate and striking partner Bobby Smith and Jimmy hit 44 goals in 57 matches. He played in the first game of the 1966 World Cup against France, but an injury and the fact that he had been recovering from a bout of Hepatitis ruled him out for the rest of the competition, with Geoff Hurst successfully replacing him.
With a career record of 366 league goals in 527 games and 44 goals in 57 international matches, Greavsie's total of 410 in 584 matches stands comparison with any goal-scorer of the 20th century, considering the standard of much of the opposition he faced.
NICKNAME : Greavsie
|Chelsea (professional)||May 1957||-||24th August 1957 v Tottenham Hotspur (League) (away) drew 1-1||157||124|
|AC Milan (Italy)||June 1961||£80,000||??||10||9|
|TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||December 1961||£99,999||16th December 1961 v Blackpool (Division 1) (home) won 5-2||420||360|
|West Ham United||1970||??||??||??||??|
57 full caps; 44 goals
?? Under-23 caps; ?? goals
European Cup Winners Cup winners medal 1962-1963 (THFC)
FA Cup Winners medal 1962, 1967 (both with THFC)
Top league goal-scorer in the First Division 1958-59, 1960-61 (Chelsea)
Top league goal-scorer scorer in the First Division 1962-63, 1963-64, 1964-65, 1968-69 (THFC)
Was once voted Pipeman of the Year.
In his career, Jimmy scored 35 goals in London derbies for Chelsea, Spurs and West Ham United.
07.12.1963 - Bolton Wanderers (away) (First Division) - scored 200th career goal