Football Classic Shirts: Jimmy Greaves – Tottenham Hotspur Legend

While Tottenham may currently have a world class talisman to call upon at present, Harry Kane is not the first player to carry such a goal scoring burden and with every finish that breaches the back of the opposition’s net, the comparisons with a former Spurs legend only continue.

The man who Kane is compared to, is none other than Jimmy Greaves and when you consider just how impressive the latter was in front of goal, then it can only be considered a huge compliment to the 27-year-old.

While although the current England captain has netted more than 200 goals for his current employers, he is still some distance from being the club’s all-time top scorer and if he is to finally earn such an accolade, then the target has been set at no less than 267.

That’s because the current record is held by Greaves himself and after scoring 266 goals (in 379 appearances), the mantle of being Tottenham’s best attacker should be safe for at least a couple more years.

The Star of AC Milan

A mantle that was earned in the 1960s, with the fearsome forward being purchased from A.C. Milan in 1961 for a rather interesting fee of £99,999, as then manager Bill Nicholson did not want to saddle his new signing with additional pressure.

Pressure that would ultimately come with the weight of being a six-figure signing and although such an amount is mere chicken feed these days, it was a sizeable outlay for a player who did not have the best of spells in Italy.

However, for all the misfiring that Greaves had to deal with at the San Siro, there was never any doubt regarding his talents, and it was this, that saw Nicholson persuade the Tottenham board to make such a sizeable outlay.

An outlay, that you would have to say was worth every penny and although Tottenham would fail to defend their First Division title, as one half of their incredible double winning success the season before, Greaves would help his new teammates lift the F.A. Cup in 1962.

The following season would see Tottenham miss out on league success once more, as they finished runners up to Everton and although being pipped to the post domestically would be a bitter pill to swallow, there was reason to be cheerful on the continent.

Due to Greaves’ efforts in the ’62 Cup Final, it meant that Tottenham were permitted entry to the European Cup Winners Cup the following season and with them facing Atletico Madrid in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, it would be another night in which the man in question would shine.

On a night where the North London outfit ran riot, it would be Greaves who opened the scoring after 10 mins and add Tottenham’s fourth goal of the night with the same number of minutes in the game remaining.

At this point it was 4-1 and with the goal all but wrapping up proceedings, there was still time for Terry Dyson to also score his second of the game and add to the emphatic nature of their stunning European success., as Atletico Madrid were beaten by five goals to one.

This performance was arguably the pinnacle of Greaves’ time at Tottenham, as apart from more Wembley success in the 1967 F.A. Cup, there would be no more silverware to be placed in the White Hart Lane trophy cabinet.

However, there were plenty of goals, as this edition of the Tottenham side won many hearts in the early 1960’s and with opposition defences being punished on a weekly basis, it was Greaves who acted as the chief tormenter.

Of course, those same hearts would be broken in 1969, as a move to West Ham took place and after scoring on his debut away at Manchester City, he continued his staggering streak of always scoring in his first appearance.

Chelsea, England, AC Milan, and Tottenham had all seen a debut goal and now so had West Ham, he truly was a special talent and were it not for injury, he would have surely started in the 1966 FIFA World Cup final against West Germany.

In those days, only the starting eleven would receive a medal for conquering the footballing world and although the remaining squad members would eventually receive theirs decades later, there is a sense that one of football’s greatest talents was deprived of something he truly deserved.

However, Jimmy Greaves should now be referenced as Jimmy Greaves MBE, as he was awarded the title in the recent New Year’s Honours list and when you consider what he did for Tottenham and the game as a whole, then it is only fitting that his services have finally been recognised.

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