More than the usual amount of commotion, Jimmy Greaves surrounded him when he arrived at the Turkish hairdressers in Danbury for the usual shave and cut.
Greaves and his son Danny are a familiar face in the streets of the village of Essex and this week the interest was aroused by the Sportsmail campaign to honor the former attacker Tottenham and England.
“They all know dad, but it was nice to show them who he was and for them to understand what he achieved,” said Danny, who found his copy of the newspaper seized by staff and customers in the hairdressers. “The response is overwhelming.”
Jimmy Greaves depicted next to his wife Irene in a restaurant during dinner in 1965
Greaves, who turns 80 on Thursday, has never been in its former glory, but he has enjoyed the good memories evoked by our campaign and a new documentary about his life, which will be broadcast on Tuesday by BT Sport.
“One of the nicest things was to see Dad sit down with Tom Boswell, who made the film, and watch over some of his goals, especially some of the first ones that were rarely seen,” Danny said. “So many of them were lost on time, including the first of his debut for Chelsea.
“It was a game on TV and there is footage, but the cameraman missed his goal. What a pity that is. The first goal scored at senior level by our record goal scorer is lost and will never be seen again. “
Greaves was 17 when he scored his first goal for Chelsea against Tottenham in 1957. By the time he finished at West Ham in 1971, he had hit 357 goals in Division One, an English top record that still exists.
Jimmy son Danny (left) is now the one who is committed to the legacy of his father
He scored a record of 266 for Tottenham, won the FA Cup and the Cup-Winners’ Cup twice and finished six times as the top scorer of Division One.
“He was the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of his time,” Danny said. “He was a superstar before George Best was a superstar. He was an icon of that scene in London in the 1960s, at a time when the Beatles and James Bond were making Britain cool. “
Central to this scene was of course the World Cup of 1966 and Greaves was part of the triumph, although injury closed him out of the final, which of course turned out to be a big disappointment.
“We have had conversations about the World Cup,” said Danny. “He felt that the 1962 side was better, but he always believed that England would win the World Cup in” 66. It was home-grown and he thought they were the best side of the tournament. The only thing he didn’t negotiate was that he wouldn’t be on the team. “
The season before the World Cup, Greaves was excluded for weeks after being hit by hepatitis. “Father always said without the hepatitis that he would have scored another 50 or 60 goals during his career. He lost half a meter of pace and thought he was never quite the same player. “
Danny and his father are overwhelmed by the support for the Sportsmail campaign
Perhaps his greatest personal success was to confront his alcoholism with a public confession, defeat it and save his marriage to Irene. They were divorced, but the family quickly reunited after he stopped drinking in 1978.
“Alcoholism is a disease and an addiction,” Danny said. “It crawls and takes over and it grabbed Dad. It was a difficult time for mum with four children under the age of 17. She knew she had to do something and she made a courageous call and gave Dad the kick-start he needed.
“Fortunately it worked and the whole family enjoyed Dad’s success on TV because we were part of it. We had gone through a dark period when Mom forced him to leave. Then dad is back, he is sober and starts his career in a different direction. “
Jimmy and Irene remarried in 2017, two years after the severe stroke that left him on one side of his body, unable to walk, with impaired vision and speech. He needs medical care four times a day.
“Mommy likes to joke and says he never asked her the right way,” Danny said. “The feeling was that they had been married and what was the point in doing it again? When he got sick, they might have thought they should do that. I never thought I’d go to my parents’ wedding at my age. “
Danny is also comfortable with what it means to be Greavsie’s eldest son and is committed to preserving his father’s legacy while helping raise money for his ongoing medical care through events such as a golf day in May with former Spurs players.
Greaves (pictured in 1967) was a genius on the football field and is still without honor
“For a while I thought it was more of a hindrance than an aid to be Jimmy Greaves’ son,” Danny said. “He lost his first son, Jim, as a baby, and I probably felt the pressure sharper than my sisters, Lynn and Mitzi, or my brother Andrew.
“I followed him in football and you follow not only in the footsteps of another football player, but one of the best players that this country has produced.
“I have never been Danny Greaves. I am always known as the son of Jimmy. I have lived with it all my life. It belongs to the territory and I have seen that the positive points outweigh the negative points. It has opened doors for me. It helped me see things in life that I would not have seen otherwise.
“Daddy is daddy and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. He has been a great father for four children and he is a great grandfather and great-grandfather.
“He is kind and generous with his time and has a good sense of humor. Everyone loves him. “
JOIN OUR PETITION:
Add your signature to give England hero Jimmy Greaves the gong he deserves.