English football mourns Jimmy Greaves | Within UEFA
Tottenham Hotspur legend and former England striker Jimmy Greaves, recognized as one of his country’s greatest scorers, has died aged 81.
The quick and clinical finisher first made a name for himself at Chelsea, scoring 132 goals in 169 games between 1957 and 1961, but it was at Tottenham that he really blossomed, especially helping the north London to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1962/63 – the first ever victory for a British team in a UEFA club competition.
Greaves was instrumental in this historic triumph, opening the scoring and finishing with two goals in the final as Spurs beat AtlÃ©tico de Madrid 5-1 to lift the trophy in Rotterdam. It happened between a pair of FA Cup titles during Greaves’ nine-year spell with the team, for which he recorded a club record of 266 goals in 379 appearances.
“We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the great Jimmy Greaves, not only Tottenham Hotspur’s top scorer but the best shooter this country has ever seen,” read a statement from the club, which Greaves joined after a brief stint with AC Milan. in 1961.
“He was a natural goalscorer, always in the right place at the right time to add the finishing touches to another well-worked move, while he could also create his own goals, as he has done on numerous occasions in passing. in front of the defenders and passing the ball to the back of the net. “
These qualities were also familiar to England fans, with Greaves scoring 44 goals in 57 games for the Three Lions, including a record six hat-tricks. Most notably, he was a member of the England squad that won the 1966 FIFA World Cup, appearing in all three group matches before losing his place to Geoff Hurst through injury.
Greaves briefly teamed up with Hurst at West Ham in 1970/71, scoring in his debut to continue his tradition of finding the net in his first appearance for new teams – as he did for Chelsea, Milan and Tottenham, as well as the under 23 and senior team.
“When I stepped onto the pitch at White Hart Lane, Wembley or wherever, I became a totally different person,” he later explained. “In a way, when I walked through that tunnel, it wasn’t me anymore.”
Before ending his career in the lower leagues, Greaves set a record 357 goals in the English top flight, a benchmark that stands to this day, with 37 of them – another record – having come for the Spurs in 1962/63. After his retirement, he gained a new generation of fans as a popular TV presenter.