Celebrating one of England's 'greatest ever' marksmen

Friday 20 Feb 2015
Jimmy Greaves, pictured in 1960 while playing for Chelsea
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Jimmy Greaves, one of English football’s greatest goalscorers, turns 75 on Friday 20 February and to celebrate, we look back at his prolific career.

The master marksman found the net when making his League debut for Chelsea in 1957 and when making his debut for England in 1959 against Peru, as well as his first match for Tottenham Hotspur (1961) and for West Ham United (1970). 

He headed his club’s scoring list in each of his first 12 seasons in the Football League and became the first player to top the First Division scoring list in six different seasons.

Like Steve Bloomer – the man whose First Division scoring record he broke – Greaves had the knack of being able to shoot from any angle without even looking for the goal.

Picture in 1963, Ron Henry and Jimmy Greaves after Alf Ramsey's first game in charge of England

He was an England star for eight years, notching 44 goals in 57 internationals for his fourth place in the all-time list – behind Sir Bobby Charlton (49), Gary Lineker (48) and Wayne Rooney (46). 

He scored 13 England goals in one season and six England hat-tricks, both still records.

The incomparable ‘Greavsie’ played in the first three matches of the 1966 World Cup, but an injury against France led to Geoff Hurst replacing him for the rest of the tournament. 

He finally received his winners’ medal in 2009 after FIFA had decided that non-playing members of World Cup-winning squads should be given replica medals.

As well as his long-awaited World Cup winners' medal, Greaves won several medals in England and Italy at club level.

In 1962 he won the Serie A title with AC Milan, and he was twice an FA Cup winner with Tottenham Hotspur.

Joe Kinnear and Jimmy Greaves hold The FA Cup aloft in May 1967

His first Cup triumph came in 1962, when Spurs beat Burnley 3-1. Greaves scored the opener in front of 100,000 people at Wembley. 

Jimmy Robson equalised for Burnley, before goals from Bobby Smith and Danny Blanchflower won the Cup for Bill Nicholson's side.

The following year he picked up a European Cup Winners' Cup medal after Tottenham beat Atletico Madrid 5-1 in Rotterdam, with Greaves netting a brace.

After that magical night in Holland he had to wait four years before his next FA Cup success, but did collect another winners' medal as Tottenham edged Chelsea 2-1 in the game that became known as the 'Cockney Cup Final'.

Greaves, now retired from football and media activity, lives in Essex.

Happy Birthday Jimmy!

By David Barber FA Historian