England and Spurs legend Jimmy Greaves dies aged 81

19 September 2021, 10:12 | Updated: 19 September 2021, 12:17

Jimmy Greaves, who was part of England's 1966 World Cup winning squad, has died aged 81
Jimmy Greaves, who was part of England's 1966 World Cup winning squad, has died aged 81. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Former England international and Tottenham Hotspur star Jimmy Greaves has died aged 81.

Mr Greaves was England's fourth highest goalscorer and Tottenham Hotspur's all-time highest goalscorer, scoring 266 goals for the club.

Tributes have flooded social media after the former striker died at home on Sunday, and a minute's silence will be held ahead of a game between two of his former clubs later today.

During his career he won two FA Cups and the European Cup Winners' Cup with Chelsea, as well as being a member of England's 1966 World Cup winning side.

The striker scored 44 goals in just 57 appearances in his international career, which lasted from 1959 until 1967.

His impressive score sheet makes him the fourth highest scorer to ever play for England.

In 1963 he helped Tottenham Hotspur win the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, making them the first English club to ever win a UEFA trophy.

Mr Greaves is survived by his wife Irene, sons Andy and Danny, who had spells playing at Southend and Cambridge, and daughters Lynn and Mitzi.

Alan Murray MBE, a former teammate of Jimmy Greaves, told LBC he was an "amazing, amazing footballer."

"For me he was the top goalscorer ever to play football."

He added: "He will take the game today. He will be out there playing for Tottenham and for Chelsea."

Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are scheduled to play each other in the Premier League later today, kicking off at 4:30pm.

There will be a minute's silence ahead of the match and both teams will wear black armbands.

Born in East Ham on 20 February, 1940, Mr Greaves's professional career started at Chelsea in 1957, where he scored in his debut match against Tottenham Hotspur in a 1-1 draw.

He made a brief move to A.C. Milan in 1961 before returning to win the FA cup with Spurs in the 1961-1962 season.

He remained at Spurs until 1970, before moving to West Ham and then retiring at the end of the 1970-1971 season, aged 31.

Mr Greaves holds the record for the more England hat tricks, having scored six during his international career.

He also scored 132 goals for Chelsea before moving to Tottenham Hotspur.

He then went on to be a popular TV presenter after his retirement from football on the 'Saint and Greavsie' show.

He was awarded an MBE in the Queen's honour's list in 2020.

The football star suffered a severe stroke in 2015 and has also had a long battle with dementia.

The stroke left Mr Greaves wheelchair bound and with a severe speech impediment.

He spent a brief period in hospital in 2020 due to an illness.

A tweet from Jimmy Greaves's official Twitter account described him as "the greatest English goalscorer that ever lived."

Spurs fan David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, tweeted: "Man so sad (Jimmy Greaves) has left us.

"What a superb goal scorer, character and all round footballing legend. One of a kind. Sincere condolences to his family and loved ones."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "Sad to hear the news about Jimmy Greaves.

"He will be remembered as a goalscoring legend and one of the greats of English football.

"My thoughts are with his family, friends and fans."

His former club Chelsea said: "Chelsea Football Club mourns the loss of a truly remarkable player and one of our own.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with Jimmy Greaves’s family and friends at this time of their sad loss."

Tottenham Hotspur have expressed their condolences to his friends and family.

The club released a statement that said: "Football will not see his like again.

"We extend our sincere condolences to his wife Irene, their four children, 10 grandchildren and great grandchildren."

The England football team shared their condolences on social media, saying: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jimmy Greaves at the age of 81.

"Jimmy was part of our @FIFAWorldCup-winning squad and scored a remarkable 44 goals in 57 games for the #ThreeLions.

"All of our thoughts are with his family, friends and former clubs."

Current England footballer Harry Kane tweeted: "RIP Jimmy Greaves. A true legend and one of the great goalscorers.

"Thoughts are with his family and friends."

Former Tottenham midfielder Micky Hazard tweeted: "Today we lost our greatest Jimmy Greaves.

"Words cannot explain how I feel and my thoughts and prayers go out to his wonderful family.

"Heaven has gained our hero and what a Spurs team we have up there. Rest in (peace) my friend, Jimmy you are simply the greatest Spur ever."

Another former Tottenham midfielder, Ossie Ardiles tweeted: "RIP Jimmy. Great player, great man. Very funny. Humble.

"Jimmy epitomises what Spurs is: 'To dare is to do'... 'When you come to meet the great goalscorer in heaven it matters not if you win or lose but how you played the game'.

"My prayers and thoughts with his family and friends."

Meanwhile, English football coach Gary Neville simply tweeted: "RIP Jimmy Greaves" followed by a heart emoji.

In a statement on the FA website, England manager Gareth Southgate said: "Jimmy certainly deserves inclusion in any list of England's best players, given his status as one of our greatest goalscorers and his part in our 1966 World Cup success.

"We will pay tribute to his memory at our home match with Hungary at Wembley Stadium next month. His place in our history will never be forgotten."

Former teammate and Welsh international Cliff Jones has also tweeted his condolences.

He said: "Happy memories with my friend & teammate.

"Condolences to Irene & family, love Cliff, Joan & all the Jones family."

West Ham, the last club that Jimmy played for before his retirement, has said they are "saddened" to learn the news of the passing of Jimmy Greaves."

The club also sent their "deepest condolences" to his family and friends.