The former England striker Jimmy Greaves, one of the game’s greatest goalscorers and characters, has died aged 81, his old club Tottenham Hotspur announced on Sunday. “We are extremely saddened to learn of the passing of the great Jimmy Greaves, not just Tottenham Hotspur’s record goalscorer but the finest marksman this country has ever seen,” the club said.
“Jimmy passed away at home in the early hours of this morning (Sunday 19 September), aged 81.”
A member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning squad, Greaves scored 44 goals in his 57 appearances for England.
His strike rate was phenomenal as he scored 357 goals in England’s top flight, a record which still stands.
For Tottenham, he returned 266 goals in 379 appearances between 1961 and 1970. The 37 league goals that he netted in the 1962/63 season has yet to be bettered by a Spurs player in a single season.
“RIP Jimmy Greaves. A true legend and one of the great goalscorers. Thoughts are with his family and friends,” tweeted England captain Harry Kane who is second behind Greaves on Tottenham’s list of goalscorers with 223.
Greaves began his career with Chelsea, scoring on debut in 1957 against Spurs — his 41-goal haul in the First Division in 1960/61 still stands as Chelsea’s record for a single season.
“Everyone at Chelsea Football Club is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the great Jimmy Greaves,” tweeted Chelsea who will face Spurs in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
A brief spell at AC Milan followed — where he netted nine times in 14 games — before he returned to England to join Spurs.
Within a few months of arriving at White Hart Lane, Greaves won his first senior medal, scoring the opener in Spurs 3-1 win over Burnley in the FA Cup final.
The following season, his brace in the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final helped Spurs to a 5-1 demolition of Atletico Madrid, making them the first British club to win a European trophy.
He also played in Tottenham’s 1967 FA Cup final win against his old club Chelsea.
After leaving Spurs in 1970, he played for West Ham before retiring from the game at the end of the 1970/71 season at the age of 31.