Jimmy Greaves turns 75 today. He is simply the deadliest striker that has ever played the game. The question is how to convey to a new generation just how good he was without looking through the eyes of a boy at his idol. I wrote a year ago that at times when he received the ball he could move with such grace and ease at top speed that he resembled a big cat hunting down its prey. I could just have easily of spoken of how at times he appeared to manipulate time and space around him.
There in the midst of a crowded box with players frantically looking to clutter him he remained composed. It was like time slowed down whilst others continued at full speed as with the pose of a dancer he would control the ball and with one flowing movement charm the ball into the net with the coolness of an assassin.
That isn’t to say he couldn’t strike with the speed of a snake attack, the ball finishing in the net before defenders even recognized the danger. Many of his strikes were from close range but he did have some wonderful players serving up the opportunities. He also produced some wonderful memories running with the ball as if it was attached to his foot. One of the goals mentioned in that previous profile – link –http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/jimmy-greaves
Was used by the BBC tv to open their weekly highlights show for several years, watch and marvel at the clip - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jYTLfukNUg. The technology wont let us load this clip. Do go and watch it, pure magic.
I suppose I could produce endless stats to prove his genius but Jimmy himself was never one for stats, Even though he still holds numerous records for Tottenham, Chelsea and England. Instead India Spurs fans will be aware of Jermain Defoe and his wonderful contribution to the club, without detracting from that maybe a comparison would help.
Jermain scored 143 goals in 360 games (yes over a hundred were from the bench thus reducing the minutes), at a ratio of 40%. Jimmy played 379 times (he never started a game from the bench, if he was fit he played) and notched 266 at a rate of 70% (1).
Add to that Jimmy also played at the same time as Smith, Chivers and Jones, (numbers 2 to 4 on the all time scorers list).
The image above shows Jimmy meeting Jimmy, The one on the left is from TV's Spitting Image show.
Old time fans will also point out that Jimmy also played against defenders with names such as ‘Chopper’ Harris and ‘Bite your Legs’ Hunter. It was a time when defenders did not take prisoners.
I asked an old friend from that era how much would Greaves would go for on the transfer market these days and the answer was, I don’t know they have printed enough.
Just when I was thinking I would have to find a different approach to celebrate
Jimmy's birthday I came across this - “Just how good was Greavsie? For the generation too young to have witnessed his footballing exploits and only know of him as a TV celebrity, just let me say that when you are watching Lionel Messi, it is like an action replay of Jimmy Greaves at his best. The way Messi runs at defences (cunning running, I call it), the way he changes pace and direction, and above all the way he finishes – passing the ball into the net – is pure Greavsie." Written by Norman Giller, himself a Spurs fan, respected journalist and one of the best sports writers around and author of numerous of sporting books.
I also produced a gallery of images –http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/the-gallery-jimmy-greaves
And an open letter regarding his self imposed exile form The Tottenham hall of fame.-http://www.indiaspurs.com/blog/dear-jimmy
You might like to visit.
Jimmy, thank you for the magic and memories, best wishes to you and yours and a very happy birthday.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume reserved for THFC matters)
Notes – 1- Thank you to Top Spurs for their mathematics.
Thanks also – Sports Journalists Association, Norman Giller, THFC, Evening Standard, Daily Mail & ITV.
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