Jimmy Greaves: Tottenham and England legend dies aged 81

Jimmy Greaves, the former England, Tottenham and Chelsea striker, has died aged 81.

Spurs confirmed the news in a statement on Sunday morning, saying: “We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the great Jimmy Greaves.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to Jimmy’s family and friends at this sad time.

“Rest in peace, Jimmy.”

Greaves is Tottenham’s record goalscorer, with 266 in 379 games for the north London club. He joined Tottenham from AC Milan, and before that made his name at Chelsea, where he scored 132 goals, making him, at the time, the club’s second highest goalscorer.

During an illustrious playing career, Greaves won 57 England caps, scoring 44 times. He is fourth place on the all-time list of England goalscorers, and was part of the squad that won the 1966 World Cup.

After nine years at Spurs, Greaves finished his playing days at West Ham United before dropping into the non-League game with Brentwood, Chelmsford City, Barnet and Woodford Town.

He ended his career with 366 goals in England and Italy, a figure for Europe’s top five leagues bettered only by Cristiano Ronaldo. In December 2020, he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s new year’s honours list.

After retiring as a player, Greaves became a beloved presenter on the popular Saint and Greavsie Saturday lunchtime football programme from 1985 to 1992.

England manager Gareth Southgate paid tribute to Greaves. He said: “Jimmy Greaves was someone who was admired by all who love football, regardless of club allegiances.

“I was privileged to be able to meet Jimmy’s family last year at Tottenham Hotspur as the club marked his 80th birthday. My thoughts are with them and I know the entire game will mourn his passing.

“Jimmy certainly deserves inclusion in any list of England’s best players, given his status as one of our greatest goalscorers and his part in our 1966 World Cup success.

“We will pay tribute to his memory at our home match with Hungary at Wembley Stadium next month. His place in our history will never be forgotten.”

Two of his former clubs Spurs and Chelsea meet on Sunday in a game that will now have extra resonance.

(Photo: Christopher Lee – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)


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