Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jimmy was a phenomenal striker, scoring on his debut for Chelsea in 1957. He reached 200 League goals in 1960 at the age of 20 years 290 days (the same age as Dixie Dean when he scored his 200th). He joined the Italian side AC Milan briefly in 1961, but had played only 12 games when Bill Nicholson signed him for Tottenham Hotspur for £99,999. The unusual fee was designed to relieve Jimmy of the pressure of being the first £100,000 player.
He played at Spurs from 1961 to 1970, scoring a club record of over 200 goals, and finishing as top League goalscorer six seasons. With Spurs, he won the FA Cup in 1962 and 1967, scoring against Burnley in the former. He also won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1963 - that Spurs team was the first British club to win one of the European trophies.
With England, he played 57 times and scored 44 goals, five less than Bobby Charlton but at a much higher rate. He remains third in the all-time list of England goalscorers, behind Charlton and Gary Lineker. He won his first cap in 1959.
In the 1962 World Cup finals match against Brazil in Chile, a stray dog ran on to the pitch and evaded all of the players' attempts to catch it until Greaves got down on all fours to beckon the animal. Though successful as a result in collaring the dog, it managed to urinate all over Greaves' England shirt. The Brazilian player Garrincha thought the incident was so funny that he took the dog home as a pet.
Greaves was the first-choice striker for the England team during the 1966 World Cup but suffered a leg injury during a game against France and had to be replaced. That replacement, Geoff Hurst, scored the winner in the quarter final against Argentina and kept his place all the way to the final, famously scoring a hat-trick as England won the tournament.
One of football's most famous photographs sees the ecstacy on the England bench as the final whistle was blown, except for that of Greaves, in his suit and tie, looking astonished at what had happened. Greaves has always maintained that he felt nothing but delight at England's win and celebrated as much as the other non-playing members of the squad. He also maintains that he never felt he had a divine right to be in the side once he regained his fitness.
In 1970, Greaves joined West Ham United, and again scored on his debut, as he had for every team he played for (including England at full and under 21 level). He retired at the age of 31, having played 516 Football League games and netted 357 goals.
In the mid-1970s Greaves battled a well-documented alcohol problem, finally quitting drinking in 1978. He became a television presenter, striking up a memorable partnership with Ian St. John. Together they hosted a popular Saturday lunchtime football show called Saint & Greavsie.
Greaves also worked frequently for TV-am and was a resident team captain on ITV sports quiz Sporting Triangles. He briefly had his own talk show and has been a columnist for The Sun newspaper for many years.
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