Jimmy Greaves, historic English striker dies

Jimmy Greaves, one of England’s most prolific forwards and Tottenham Hotspur’s record scorer, has died at the age of 81, the Premier League club reported on Sunday.

The club has explained in a statement that Greaves, who also played for Chelsea, West Ham United and had a short season with Italian club AC Milan, died at home in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He holds several scoring records for Tottenham and the English national team

Greaves, who suffered a stroke six years ago, scored 266 goals for Tottenham between 1961-1970 and his 37 league goals in the 1962-63 season remain a club record.

He began his career with Chelsea and scored 124 league goals for the London club between 1957 and 1961. Greaves’ record of 357 goals in the English top flight remains unsurpassed fifty years since he retired as a professional in 1971.

Archive image of Jimmy Greaves in 2009

Sean Dempsey / AP

Greaves also scored 44 goals in 57 caps for England, making him the country’s fourth leading scorer behind Wayne Rooney, Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker. He played in all three of England’s group matches at the 1966 World Cup before getting injured. He was replaced on the team by Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the final 4-2 victory over West Germany at Wembley. Greaves missed a winner’s medal because it was only awarded to the 11 players who played in the final, although he received one belatedly in 2009.

“One of the really great scorers, a fantastic guy with an absolutely brilliant sense of humor, the best. It’s been a difficult time for him, now he can rest in peace,” Hurst said.

He battled alcoholism before becoming a television host on the popular show “Saint and Greavsie,” a Saturday noon football program featuring former Liverpool and Scotland striker Ian St John, who died aged 82 in March after a long illness.

Tottenham forward Harry Kane said on Twitter that Greaves was a “true legend” while the north London club said “football will never see its thing again.” England coach Gareth Southgate said the national team will pay tribute to Greaves in next month’s World Cup qualifying match against Hungary at Wembley.


Tottenham’s stadium sports a picture of the late Graves


“Jimmy Greaves was someone who was admired by everyone who loves football, regardless of club loyalties,” Southgate said in a statement released by the Football Association. “I had the privilege of being able to meet Jimmy’s family last year at Tottenham Hotspur when the club turned 80 years old. My thoughts are with them and I know the whole party will mourn his passing.”

Tottenham face Chelsea this Sunday in the Premier League, which has decreed a minute of silence for all their matches. “Everybody loves a scorer, and nobody deserves that love more than Greaves,” Chelsea said on their website.

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