Remembering Jimmy Greaves' unrivalled success on his 80th birthday

The England Hall of Famer turns 80

English football legend Jimmy Greaves has turned 80, as fellow Tottenham Hotspur hero Harry Kane leads the way with the celebration at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Kane, who is just 85 goals behind Greaves in the all-time goalscoring list, handed the relatives of Greaves a special shirt in celebration of his legendary status at the club.

Down the years, the famous striker has won league titles with AC Milan, FA Cups with Spurs and has held the all-time goalscoring records at both Spurs and England. His England record has since been surpassed, however, Greaves still holds the record for the most goals in the English top-flight with 357 and with Spurs because of his 266 goals.

Here, we take a look back on his unrivalled goalscoring success and why the ex-West Ham United man remains arguably the most influential man in the history of the English game. And, at the very least, the ultimate goalscorer whose legacy still lingers in each number nine today.

An England hero

If you take a trip to Wembley, when you get close to the stadium, you can start to see the impact many legendary players have had down the years. The untouchable figures of Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore are plastered all over England's football temple. And, alongside almost every goalscoring figure gleams the influence of Greaves.

The likes of Moore stand in front of the stadium guarding the ground with all his might, just as he did in red and white on the pitch. Then, there is simply not enough space and recognition upon the walls to fill Greaves' goalscoring feats, as he holds so many unrivalled records. From holding the title as the country's greatest goalscorer to taking over both White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge, to scoring more goals than anybody else in the history of the English top-flight.

Players like Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Bobby Charlton, Sergio Aguero, Thierry Henry and anybody else you can think of have all come close. Close, but so far away from the legendary status of England Hall of Famer, Greaves.

A Chelsea legend

Greaves will be remembered more for his time in north London, making it easy to forget that he netted 132 goals in 169 games for Chelsea and, as a result, cemented himself as one of the most prolific strikers in their history. Indeed, the ex-Blue has since been surpassed by players such as Didier Drogba and Chelsea's best in Frank Lampard. However, with 13 hattricks to his name, Greaves remains fifth on the list of the highest goalscorers in the club's marvellous history.

The striker first signed as a junior for Chelsea in 1956 and after scoring 114 goals in the youth team, the Englishman's inevitable success was quickly cemented in legendary form for the senior squad. Indeed, the Blues will always be remembered as the club which helped craft and grow one of England's very best, and for that, any follower of the top-flight and the Three Lions will be forever indebted with.

Greaves would eventually leave Chelsea for AC Milan, much to the great disappointment of his colleagues at Stamford Bridge. Over in Italy, the England international would barely play for the European giants, although he would still record an almighty goal ratio of nine goals in 12 games in that time, and, also bring a Serie A title back to England with him.

White Hart Lane's very best

Greaves may have been made in South West London, but his record-breaking nature thrived in north London with Spurs shortly after his spell with AC Milan. Over a career that spanned nine years with the club, Greaves would bag 266 goals in 381 games for the Lilywhites, which remains a club record. The ex-Chelsea man would spend his peak years at the club and craft himself into one of the best around and thus become a vital component to the Three Lions' success.

During his incredible goal-getting time at White Hart Lane, the London-born propelled Spurs to two FA Cups, two Charity Shields, a European Cup Winners Cup and a First Divison runners-up medal; losing out on the title by just five points.

Indeed, Greaves is the greatest goalscorer in Spurs' history, but, Kane is breathing right down his neck in that regard. This, however, is more of a testament to the brilliance of the current Spurs striker rather than their hero from the 60s. Greaves, on the other hand, is no doubt an inspiration, hero and aim in which the likes of Kane aspire to each waking day.

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A once in a lifetime player

Players like Greaves come around once in a lifetime. At his time, the likes of Pele, Charlton, Geoff Hurst and Eusebio were all present, and it would be ridiculous to suggest Greaves is not right in the category of one of the very best to ever do it. The 80-year-old will forever be remembered by the likes of Spurs, West Ham, Chelsea and AC Milan for the phenomenal records he upholds at those clubs, and by fans of the old school First Division as the greatest.

There are some players who hit stages in their life where they score so much over a short time they break records, like Jamie Vardy. There are some players who are so consistently brilliant they get a statue, like Alan Shearer. And there are some players who are so culturally relatable, so astonishingly consistent and so beautifully perfect on the pitch, that they rewrite the history books.

Greaves is one of the best ever goalscorers, not just in England, but in general. His name goes down in folklore. His records have their own books. His shirts have their own meaning. His legacy will linger for an eternity. And his identity will never be touched.

A knighthood is overdue and his records may never be defeated.

Happy birthday to the English great, Jimmy Peter Greaves.


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