Tuesday, May 5

Jimmy Greaves

Sad news that Jimmy Greaves in in intensive care after suffering a severe stroke. I saw the tail-end of Jimmy's career  at West Ham in 1970, when he was part of the swap deal that took Martin Peters to Spurs. At 30 he should have had several years of goals left in him, but he was in the grip of alcoholism and retired at the end of the 1970-71 season. He did show glimpses of his class though; I remember watching him on Match of the Day scoring twice on his debut in a 5-1 win away to Manchester City on the muddiest pitch in history. He added nine goals in 30 appearances in 1970-71 and I saw him net a few at Upton Park.

As a TV pundit Greavesie was successful too, and while Saint and Greavesie might appear a bit naff today, that show's light-hearted approach to football created the climate that was to lead to Fantasy Football and Soccer AM.

But Greaves's biggest triumph in life has surely been beating alcoholism; he stopped drinking at the age of 38 and has remained sober ever since. And he wrote a hard-hitting autobiography, This One's On Me, on the subject when people didn't talk about such things. Let's hope he pulls through.

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