Support floods in for Jimmy Greaves after serious stroke

SoccerBy Sunday World
One of the greatest strikers to ever play the game
One of the greatest strikers to ever play the game

The world of football rallied around former England striker Jimmy Greaves after he was admitted to intensive care following a severe stroke.

A statement from Greaves' family, issued on Monday morning, confirmed the 75-year-old had been taken ill.

''Football legend Jimmy Greaves suffered a severe stroke on Sunday May 3, and is in intensive care in hospital," the statement read.

''His wife, Irene, and four children have asked for privacy during what is a worrying time for the family.

''They will issue a bulletin on his condition when it is appropriate.

''England's greatest ever goalscorer was 75 on February 20, and has been working regularly on the personal appearances circuit in harness with his friend and agent Terry Baker.

''Jimmy had a minor stroke in 2012, but appeared to have made a full recovery. He was due to be inducted into the Tottenham Hotspur Hall of Fame on May 13 at a sell-out ceremony at White Hart Lane.

''This is all we wish to say at the present time.''

Greaves is widely regarded as one of the greatest English goalscorers of all time.

The former forward is fourth on England's top scorer list with 44 goals in 57 games.

He also netted a club-record 266 goals in 379 matches for Tottenham.

The Essex-born hitman spent nine seasons at Spurs during one of the most successful periods of the club's history.

Greaves scored the opening goal in Tottenham's FA Cup final victory over Burnley in 1962 and he also found the net in the European Cup Winners' Cup final against Atletico Madrid, which the London club won 5-1.

Spurs wished their former striker well on Monday, tweeting: "Everyone at the club wishes Jimmy Greaves a speedy recovery after he suffered a stroke yesterday. Our thoughts are with Jimmy and his family at this difficult time."

Greaves started his career at Chelsea, where he broke into the first-team squad after scoring 114 goals for the youth team.

Once he had been promoted to the seniors, he scored 132 goals in 169 games.

The Blues added their name to the list of well-wishers by tweeting: ''All at Chelsea are thinking of former Blue Jimmy Greaves and his family at this time. We wish him a full and swift recovery."

After nine years at Tottenham he moved across the capital to West Ham before seeing out his career lower down the leagues following a battle with alcoholism.

The Hammers tweeted: "Everyone at West Ham United wishes Jimmy Greaves a speedy recovery after he suffered a stroke yesterday. "

After retiring from the game, Greaves co-hosted the popular Saturday lunchtime football show Saint and Greavsie alongside former Liverpool forward Ian St John.

Six years ago Greaves finally received his World Cup winner's medal for his role in England's 1966 triumph.

Geoff Hurst replaced Greaves in England's starting XI after the latter suffered a shin injury in the group match against France.

Hurst kept his place in the team until the final, where he famously scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 win over West Germany.

FIFA rules at the time dictated that only the starting XI received medals, but world football's governing body reversed that decision and in 2009 Greaves and the rest of the squad belatedly picked up their medals from then Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street.

Hurst expressed his sadness at the news of Greaves's stroke on Monday, tweeting: "Thinking of my friend and one of our greats this morning, @jimmy_greaves. Wishing him all the best and hoping for a speedy recovery."

The Football Association said: "We are saddened to hear about former England striker Jimmy Greaves, who is in intensive care after suffering a stroke. Our thoughts are with him and his family."