Like all true Spurs`fans, I was desperately sorry to hear that my boyhood hero, Jimmy Greaves had suffered a severe stroke. The outpouring of Good will towards the greatest striker we have ever had was heartwarming and sincere. Anyone fortunate (and old) enough to have seen the Great Man destroy defences week after week will know he was one of a kind. What a shame that many of his goals were not captured by the cameras in a time when there was nowhere near the blanket coverage of games we take so much for granted today.
When I was a kid, I lived in Birmingham, so my highlights were the Spurs away games at Villa, WBA, Birmingham City and sometimes Wolves.This was a time when Spurs were almost invincible at Fortress White Hart Lane, but on the road, it was a different matter. I certainly witnessed more defeats than victories. Spurs`were regarded as a soft touch away from home. Not all the time, but too often for my liking. I remember defeats at St Andrews and Villa Park that made me dread Monday mornings at school, when all the local fans would be waiting to rub it in.
However, more often than not, there would be a grudging admiration for Jimmy Greaves. His skill and goal scoring prowess was admired just about everywhere, by fans of all clubs.I particularly remember one away game at the Hawthorns, when Spurs were drawing 0-0 and under intense pressure near the end. Jimmy G was loitering with intent on the half way line, marshalled by two WBA defenders. A long clearance downfield and Jimmy was off like a hare, round the keeper and 1-0 to Spurs.The two defenders were yards back. Even the home fans were impressed.
It was a very sad day when Spurs`allowed Jimmy to leave the club, especially as he went to West Ham. The fact he retired at 30 shows his heart was still at WHL. His subsequent battles with the bottle could arguably be traced back to Bill Nicholson letting him leave. Probably the biggest mistake Bill ever made, in hindsight.
Now at the age of 75, Jimmy G is in bad health. The Tottenham Trust has contributed to his healthcare bills, and we are all grateful for that. His fellow pros from the 60’s have been voiciferous in their support, which is admirable. The general public have contributed generously to ensure he gets the physio he needs to hopefully walk again soon.
What is missing, and this saddens but does not surprise me, is the apparent lack of support from more recent and present Spurs players (Chelsea and West Ham as well, if you like). Jimmy probably never earned more than £200 a week. He was born too soon to cash in on the riches his talent certainly deserved. It would be a lovely gesture if the present squad had a whip round for Jimmy. Most of these players are on wages most of us can only dream about.One of them wont be even playing competitive games. Charity begins at home and White Hart Lane was home to Jimmy Greaves. Former players including Steve Perryman and Steve Archibald have been very proactive in their support for Jimmy, and it would partially restore my faith in humanity if the Spurs 2015 side remembered one of the players who put the ‘Glory’ in our beloved Tottenham Hotspur.
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