The People’s Champion: Thousands of readers take part in the Sportsmail campaign to give Jimmy Greaves a gong
Players and politicians have given their opinion about the sparkle of Jimmy Greaves.
Now thousands of our readers have joined the campaign to “give him a gong.”
Here is a selection of the letters and emails that greet him as the people’s champion …
Jimmy Greaves (R) was idolized by everyone and is recognized as one of the greatest strikers of the game
I worked for British Airways and supervised a flight to Cape Town when I saw Jimmy and his wife Irene standing in line for economics.
I upgraded it to business class check-in, but when I went to the gate, it was waiting for the economy! I escorted him to the plane where the cabin crew immediately upgraded him to first class.
A few months later he wrote BA to me and the crew. He has never forgotten his roots. Modest then and still the same.
Stand up Sir Jim.
I remember waiting outside the Bell pub for the Tottenham players to come out after a pint after the game and that Jimmy was surrounded by dozens of young boys, including my brother and I, screaming for his signature.
His poor wife stood there chatting for centuries and finally said something like: “Come on Jimmy, we have to go home!” He said he would be with her as soon as he finished drawing!
Jimmy was a gentleman, always ready with a smile and a joke, and someone who brought happiness to the lives of others. If he apparently does not deserve honor for his football career, he should certainly do so for the example of his life after football.
While he is preparing to turn 80, Sportsmail calls for recognition of the national hero
In the early 1960s I went to Ninian Park as a young boy to watch the amazing Double-winning Spurs side Cardiff City play. In those days, the outside took a bus to the station after the game and then a train home.
I ran from Ninian Park to the station hoping Jimmy Greaves signed my book. After running the two miles and running out of breath, I saw Jimmy. But before I could ask him to sign his signature, he put an old 10-shill note in my hand and asked me to run back and get him the Pink Football Echo.
I shot away and came back minutes later, just before the train got off. I gave him the Echo and his change. He signed my book and told me to keep the change because he had bet £ 5 at Bobby Smith that it would be the last time he saw me, the 10-bob bill or the football echo.
I had the pleasure of transporting Jimmy through the Midlands for a few days to do a publicity tour when I worked for (publishers) Hodder and Stoughton about 40 years ago.
We had to enter a store in Nottingham through the back entrance and when Jimmy came in everyone applauded him – and it stayed that way the whole time he walked through the store to where he had to sign his books and then a long time after he reached it desk.
I was lucky enough to accompany some famous people on such occasions, including Joan Collins, Lord Archer and more – but no one received anything like the reception that Jimmy received that day. He was a hero to everyone and such a nice, funny, gentle man. I cherish those two days. It was an honor to be in his company.
Jimmy (left) was crazy at a young age (circa 1949)
In the 1970s I played football for Spurs Ladies and on one occasion we played a game against West Ham Ladies in a fundraising. The best thing about this game was that it would be on a nice terrain with a guest-star referee.
Would you believe it, Jimmy Greaves gave up his Sunday afternoon as referee for us.
We were really excited. I must say, however, that he was a much better player than a referee – he was too much a gentleman, he continued to give free kicks for our approach.
It is one of my favorite memories of playing in the 1970s and I even tell people today. The way he gave up his time to help a good cause and give 22 girls a day to remember … and the fact that he liked to blow the whistle.
My favorite moment to summarize Jimmy Greaves came in the late 1960s, when our fierce rivals West Ham came to the Lane with the great Bobby Moore who tried to keep Jimmy out of the game.
In a tense competition, waiting for Pat Jennings to lift a long flight of stairs, Bobby stood in his familiar position – leaning forward, hands on his hips – when Jimmy trotted toward him, bound his arms together and waved Bobby in a mold . The whole stadium burst out laughing and the tension went wild.
As a 17-year-old Tottenham born and raised boy, I went on vacation to Minehead Butlin’s in 1962 and was gobsmacked to find Jimmy who was staying in a simple chalet near us with his family. He was very sober, friendly and approachable. While he was walking around with a toddler in a pram, he could have been any other father and luckily stopped for a photo.
Mike England (left) and Greaves (R) toasting Tottenham’s FA Cup 1967 final victory with a pint of milk
Dave Emerick, who was the manager of Brentwood Athletic FC and a lifelong friend of Jimmy, persuaded him to join the club at the end of his career.
We were all surprised when he came ready to play. We all respected him. He was so friendly to everyone and so easy to talk to.
During a certain training session after a weekend defeat we were in the locker room and the message was filtered that the attackers had been kept away from ‘shooting practice’. Would you believe it, Jimmy was included! We were lost for words.
In 1986 I was the commercial manager of Bristol Rovers and one of our sponsors was a Spurs fan. He asked me if there was a chance that I could have a Tottenham legend to win the honor of an opening launch. I went for the No. 1 man, Jimmy Greaves. He immediately agreed to come to Bristol. On the day, Jimmy was wonderful and did fantastic as an ambassador for football.
Walking away from the vast amount of available alcohol, he maintained his lively, funny and lovable personality with black coffee while talking to a constant stream of admirers. Great man. Top soccer player.
He was the biggest goal scorer we’ve ever had and his post-football life was an example for anyone suffering from depression and alcoholism that you can turn your life around. He would have been on the team for the World Cup Final, but then due to an injury. It could have destroyed him, but in the end he did not allow it.
I am an Arsenal supporter of 55 years, but Jimmy Greaves is one of my favorite footballers of all time. He was just magical. Watching Jimmy played as if you saw a miracle come to life. I want to thank him for his love of the game and for giving me hours of great football. Give Jimmy the gong.
Greaves scored 357 goals in the top of English football and 44 for the national team
I have been a fan of Manchester United all my life, but I loved Jimmy Greaves for his style. He was an artist when it came to scoring goals. His control over muddy fields with a wet leather ball was incredible.
So bad luck not to play in the World Cup final. And then to defeat alcoholism and to be an inspiration to others who fight against that disease.
There will never be a Jimmy Greaves again.
I fully support your gong campaign for Jimmy. As a young teenager in the early 1960s and a long-standing Chelsea supporter, Jimmy was my first football hero. I clearly remember his last Chelsea match at Stamford Bridge – four excellent goals.
I saw Jimmy play my team at Preston North End in the late 1950s in Deepdale. Chelsea won 5-4, Jimmy scored all five – and it was great to see. The biggest goal scorer ever.
I was an avid follower of Jimmy Greaves from the moment he came to Chelsea. An uncle of mine, who knew his father when they were working on the London Underground, could send me a signed photo and then in September 1957 I received a handwritten letter from Jimmy. I was over the moon and kept it safe all those years!
I was deeply sad when he went to Italy. I even circled Milan in my atlas!
He also has so much to admire. For the way he viewed his demons and helped others in a similar perilous situation. He has been overlooked for far too long.
Greaves (right) was a man of the people and was worshiped by supporters of all clubs
I have been a supporter of Nottingham Forest since the late 1950s and was always afraid of Spurs who came to town when Jimmy Greaves played as he would inevitably score. On one occasion he struck in four when we were hammered 9-2.
What a fantastic player Jimmy was, and what a beautiful man as well. Give him the gong he deserves. We will never see him again.
He is absolutely the best goal scorer of all time, mate NONE.
Heaven knows what it would be worth today. I remember seeing Arsenal vs Spurs one evening in the early 1960s. So many were in the ground that we children were passed over the shoulders until we were sitting on the grass behind the goal.
My friends were all Arsenal supporters, but they only had one player in mind – Jimmy Greaves. A true superstar before the word was even invented.
One of my dearest memories of his genius happened in White Hart Lane on Saturday, October 16, 1965 when, in my opinion, he scored his biggest goal against the powerful Manchester United and we beat them 5-1.
He danced through the United defense and left Bill Foulkes, Pat Crerand, John Fitzpatrick and goalkeeper Pat Dunne behind – what a goal.
As a lifelong supporter of Arsenal, Jimmy Greaves has always been one of my favorites. Whether you scored against us, saw him play for England or saw him on the brilliant Saint and Greavie, you would always be entertained by him.
If ever a man born in a working-class family deserved to be honored by the queen, then that man is Jimmy Greaves. Please let it happen.
Greaves with Ian St John on their ITV show Saint and Greavsie it ran from 1985 to 1992
I am an 82-year-old Spurs fanatic who spent 40 years on the terraces until my husband died.
My memories of watching Jimmy are now as clear to me as they were then, checking the ball for muddy fields – not like today’s carpets.
What a great player and genius who deserves to be honored. There will never be anyone who matches our Jimmy on the field.
Norma greaves (no relationship)
I have a simple, happy memory of Jimmy Greaves. November 1966, Sheffield Wednesday against Tottenham.
Standing like a little boy with Wednesday supporters on the huge open head, Greaves was put through and everyone waited until it just bulged.
Greaves talked about Ron Springett … and the bar!
Relief and disbelief at the Kop. Springett and Greaves embraced and exchanged words, both smiling and smiling. It wouldn’t happen today!
I grew up in South Wales in the 1960s and rugby was by far the number 1 sport – football was a distant second. Watching Jimmy Greaves on TV first aroused my interest in football and also started my 50-year love affair with Tottenham Hotspur.
Recognition for this great football player and superlative goal-scorer is long overdue. What would a goal scoring talent like Greavsie be worth in today’s grotesque inflated football market? The answer – priceless.
I am a 59-year-old fan of Coventry City and I expect support from every football fan in the country. Jimmy was a supreme goal scorer. What would he be worth today? Let’s hope he gets it and we get to see endless re-runs from a real footballer and world-class TV legend.
Immediately noticeable as a talent, Greaves started his time in English football with Chelsea
I was lucky to see England win in Wembley in 1966, but the lasting memory of that day was the dignity that Jimmy showed on the final whistle.
What must he have thought? England’s best goal scorer alone with his thoughts while his teammates celebrated the win.
Whatever followed in his life, the scar of that time, never diminished, but Jimmy wore it like a true gentleman.
What a great player Jimmy Greaves was. As an Arsenal supporter for 71 years, the biggest compliment I can give Jimmy is that my biggest football regret is that he never played for Arsenal. Good luck, Mr. Jimmy.
Jimmy Greaves deserves a gong because he is the most underrated goal scorer of all time.
My particular favorite was the 1987 season, when he constantly said at Saint and Greavsie that Coventry would be eliminated in the next round of the FA Cup.
City went all out and Greavsie wore a Coventry hat in the studio that day. Thanks for the goals, Jimmy.
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