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Obituary for Jimmy Greaves: A heart for goals


Nobody has scored more goals in England: some of Jimmy Greaves' records still exist today. He was the hero of the fans - but of all things he missed the greatest moment in English football.

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Jimmy Greaves in action (photo from 1968): He was the top scorer in England six times - a record to this day


Evening Standard / Getty Images

Oh, yes, of course the story with the dog.

As sad as the occasion is, it has to be told again now.

It's the 1962 World Cup, England and Brazil are facing each other in the quarter-finals, when suddenly a dog runs onto the field.

The animal simply cannot be driven away, several players try in vain until Jimmy Greaves gets down on all fours, approaches the dog at eye level and is able to catch it.

As he holds him in his arms, the dog pees on the English striker's jersey, so he has to finish the game.

England loses 1: 3 and is eliminated from the tournament against the eventual world champions, Greaves and his teammates literally leave the field like poodles.

Garrincha, Brazil's super striker of this tournament, is so enthusiastic about the story that he subsequently adopted the dog as his pet.

Not only in England everyone knows Jimmy Greaves to this day, also in Brazil.

So Greaves was proven to have a heart for animals, but much more demonstrably he had a heart for goals.

He scored 357 goals in the English premier league, none of whom had ever scored more.

He was the top scorer in England six times, and nobody before him or after him has achieved that either, in 1959, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1969.

No matter who he played for, he always scored straight away in the first game: for Chelsea, for Tottenham, for West Ham, for the England U23 and for the England national team.

In his time in England he was Gerd Müller.

Record player for Tottenham

Greaves died on Sunday at the age of 81.

What a wonderful English team is now united there in heaven.

In the gate Ray Clemence, Nobby Stiles, the clearer, Norman Hunter, the biter, Jack Charlton and Colin Bell, in front Peter Lorimer, Paul Mariner and Jimmy Greaves take care of the gates.

You all passed away in the past two years, bloody hell.

Big names, but Greaves still stands out among them.

What a goalscorer, at Tottenham alone, the club he loves, where he played 321 league games from 1961 to 1970, he scored an incredible 220 times.

Tottenham's current super scorer Harry Kane has been a hotspur for eleven years now, coming closest to Greaves with 166 goals from 242 games.

Greaves joined the Spurs in 1961 from AC Milan.

He only played there for a few weeks, he just didn't feel at home abroad, but even if Greaves didn't feel at home, he met: at Milan he only played 14 times - and scored nine goals in the process.

Tottenham's manager Bill Nicholson signed the then 21-year-old for the transfer of 99,999 British pounds.

As a reason for the unusual amount, the manager said at the time that Greaves should not start with the burden, he was the first £ 100,000 player in the English league.

World champion - but not a World Cup hero

If this was a psychological trick, it definitely worked. At Tottenham Greaves literally exploded, three times he took the top scorer's crown with Spurs, he won the FA Cup in 1962 and a year later the European Cup Winners' Cup: 5-1 against Atletico Madrid, of course, two Greaves goals. It was actually the first European title for a British team. The club paid tribute to him on Sunday with the sentence: "Football will not see his like again."

One of the peculiarities of this career, which was tailored to the climax of the home World Cup in 1966, is that Greaves may call himself world champion, but hardly anyone speaks of him when you think of the heroes of Wembley.

Greaves went into the tournament as a regular striker, all hopes of the English rested on the accuracy of their attacker, and Greaves initially delivered as expected - three goals went to his World Cup account.

But then he was injured in the game against France, nothing bad, but he had to sit out first.

For him, Geoff Hurst came into the team and saved England with his goal in the quarter-finals against Argentina.

Coach Sir Alf Ramsey then decided to leave Hurst on, which was not his worst decision from an English point of view.

There is a photo from the Wembley Stadium, there is Greaves in a suit and tie on the English bench, nothing around him but cheers after the final victory thanks to the goals of Geoff Hurst.

Greaves looks more surprised than happy.

Amazed why he didn't become the final hero.

Won battle with alcohol

Greaves made 57 internationals for the Three Lions, 44 goals were lost.

Only three have been better in the history of England: Wayne Rooney, Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker.

In the 1970s, Greaves slowly let his career with lower-class clubs run down, he found it difficult to quit, after his great career Greaves did not come to terms with the time after his great career, he began to drink, it took years before he won the fight against alcohol would have.

In 1978 he published his biography, which begins with the words: »I'm Jimmy Greaves.

I am a professional footballer.

I'm an alcoholic. "

And again, as with Gerd Müller, it was football that helped him regain solid ground: As a TV expert and sports presenter, he became a well-known television face, the football show Saint & Greavsie, in which he and Ian St. John performed was popular for years.

In 2015, he withdrew from the public eye after a severe stroke, and he did not fully recover from it.

Tottenham played against Chelsea on Sunday evening. The whole stadium commemorated the club legend before the game. The Spurs then lost 3-0. They had a Harry Kane. You would have needed a Jimmy Greaves.

Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2021-09-20

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