GARY NEWBON – How I started Jimmy Greaves’ television career: Initially he was reluctant, but soon became very popular and made a big impact
Jimmy Greaves is of course best known for his brilliant football career and his progress in the broadcast is often forgotten.
Sportsmail has launched a campaign to give Greaves the honor he deserves and his work on television should also be considered.
Here, broadcaster and TV presenter Gary Newbon puts the impact back on Greaves’ screen.
Jimmy Greaves deserves to be honored only for his broadcasting career.
It started with us at ATV in the Midlands in August 1980. He first rejected it. Trevor East, our producer, called Jimmy on Monday and he said no thanks.
On Thursday he called back and said, “My wife Irene tells me to take this job.” And that was it. We were on the screen for Star Soccer on the Saturday night.
Jimmy Greaves went to television after his playing career and was very popular
He started shaky the first three months. I got a stick for having a Londoner in the show, but then he started joking.
Coventry played Manchester City and Tommy Hutchinson harassed Willie Donachie. Jimmy said, “We had to unravel Willie Donachie in the dressing room during the rest and tell him where he was.” That was it, he had left. He became very popular and made a big impression.
We persuaded LWT to place him in the panel for the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Then on to Saint and Greavsie. The rest is history.
Greaves was immensely popular because he was initially reluctant to work on television
He did a lot for TV and for charities and people with drinking problems, including Brian Clough when he found it difficult.
Viewers regularly signed up to say that they had someone in their family who had a drinking problem and he would call or write with advice.
Jimmy was willing to share his own experiences and offer support.
He had a fantastic career in TV, entertained and helped many people and he was always too modest to make it known.
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