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legend lost 'You can't compare Jimmy Greaves with anyone' - Glenn Hoddle on a goal scoring great

News that Greaves had passed away broke on Sunday morning, with tributes flowing for a master penalty box poacher

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Former England, Tottenham and Chelsea striker, Jimmy Greaves dies aged 81.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Former England, Tottenham and Chelsea striker, Jimmy Greaves dies aged 81. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Former England, Tottenham and Chelsea striker, Jimmy Greaves dies aged 81. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

As Glenn Hoddle reflects on the legacy of his fellow Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves, he suggests there may never have been a goal scorer to compare to one of the game's all-time great goal scorers.

News that Greaves had passed away broke on Sunday morning, with tributes flowing for a master penalty box poacher who compiled remarkable scoring records in a career that also includes spells with Chelsea, AC Milan and West Ham.

Like many football greats who played before the dawn of the Premier League in 1992, Greaves tends to be airbrushed out of history in the discussions over who should be hailed as the greatest goal scorers in the history of the English game.

Yet for those who saw Greaves in his prime in the 1960s, there is no doubt that he was a step ahead of current Spurs goal-scoring talisman Harry Kane and possibly even a step ahead of any striker who has graced English football’s most famous fields.

With 44 goals in just 57 appearances for England and 422 goals in 602 career appearances, Greaves was a goal-scoring machine whose scoring achievements have stood the test of time and in the opinion of his fellow Tottenham great Glenn Hoddle, his legacy should be cherished.

Last year's brilliant BT Sport documentary entitled ‘Greavsie’ brought the story of one of the game’s black and white TV legends in wonderful colour and in the view of one of his fellow Spurs legends, the tribute is long over-due.

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 Former England, Tottenham and Chelsea striker, Jimmy Greaves.  (Photo by Don Morley/Allsport/Getty Images)

Former England, Tottenham and Chelsea striker, Jimmy Greaves. (Photo by Don Morley/Allsport/Getty Images)

Former England, Tottenham and Chelsea striker, Jimmy Greaves. (Photo by Don Morley/Allsport/Getty Images)

“You can’t compare Jimmy Greaves with anyone,” ex-Tottenham player and manager Glenn Hoddle told the Sunday World in an exclusive interview.

“I remember seeing Jimmy for the first time when my Dad took me to White Hart Lane and it was like watching a movie star. There were 21 other players on the field, but we were all looking at Jimmy because he was the biggest hero of them all.

“Then he always delivered. He might not do much for long periods of the game and then bang, he would score and if you came away and he hadn’t scored a couple of goals, you’d be surprised.”

Kane has his eye on Greaves' all-time Tottenham goal-scoring record of 266 and in the view of former Spurs captain Steve Perryman, the modern-day Tottenham legend will struggle to match the benchmark set by the striker who played for Spurs between 1961 and 1970.

“Our sport is dominated by statistics these days and when you look at the numbers Jimmy put together in his career, they are just amazing,” said the captain who lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham in 1981 and 1982.

“You can never dismiss what Jimmy did. He played in an era when defenders were allowed to defend with more physicality than they did today, in an era when they were allowed to give their opponent a kick and referees would give them one or two warnings before anything happened.

“He was a master craftsman, a professional goal scorer who seems to know where to be and when the chance came, he took it better than anyone else.”

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Greaves broke the mould as he became one of the first high-profile Englishmen to play abroad when he signed for AC Milan in 1961 and his crowning glory was expected to come in the 1966 World Cup finals, as he went into the tournament as England’s first-choice striker.

An injury in the group stages opened the door for Geoff Hurst to take his place, with the West Ham striker stealing the glory that may have been destined for Greaves as he smashed a hat-trick in the final against West Germany.

“The one big sadness he had to deal with will always be around the 1966 World Cup,” added Hoddle. “As a big Spurs man, we were all gutted when he missed out on that wonderful success for England due to injury.

“You have to try and deal with it, but it can’t have been easy when you are part of a squad that achieves the ultimate in the sport and you find yourself starting the tournament as the lead striker and watching the final from the stands.

“Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick in his absence it was such a shame that it was an era just before substitutes were introduced into the game, so he didn’t have a chance to play a part, especially after the final against Germany went into extra time.

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Greaves

Greaves

Greaves

“He is a legend at Tottenham and the fact that he is sitting at the top of the scorers’ list for the club confirms as much. Harry Kane is trying to beat his goal-scoring record for the club now, but he might have to stay another six or seven years to get there. With that in mind, Jimmy’s scoring achievements may never be beaten.”

Greaves won his battle with alcoholism after his playing days were over and enjoyed a highly successful second career as a jovial and outspoken TV pundit in the 1980s and 90s, which came to an end when Sky Sports and the Premier League changed the way we consumed football in 1992.

Struck down by a stroke in 2015, Greaves has passed away at the age of 81 and his goals scoring records will ensure his name will continue to be celebrated for decades to come.

ENGLAND’S ALL-TIME TOP SCORERS

Wayne Rooney - 53 in 120 appearances

Sir Bobby Charlton - 49 in 106 appearances

Gary Lineker - 48 in 80 appearances

Jimmy Greaves - 44 in 57 appearances

Harry Kane - 41 in 64 appearances

Michael Owen - 40 in 89 appearances

TOTTENHAM TOP SCORERS

Jimmy Greaves - 266 in 379 appearances

Harry Kane - 223 in 341 appearances

Bobby Smith - 208 in 317 appearances

Martin Chivers - 174 in 367 appearances

Cliff Jones - 159 in 378 appearances

GREAVES CAREER IN NUMBERS

114 – goals scored for the youth team after signing for Chelsea in 1956.

17 – Greaves’ age when he made his first-team debut for Chelsea, scoring in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham.

100 – number of league goals Greaves had scored by the age of 20. He remains the youngest player to reach the landmark.

99, 999 – the fee in pounds paid by Tottenham to sign Greaves from AC Milan in 1961.

132 – goals for Chelsea in 169 games.

44 – goals scored for England in 57 matches. He is still fourth on the all-time list behind Wayne Rooney (53), Bobby Charlton (49) and Gary Lineker (48).

6 – hat-tricks scored for England still stands as a record today.

41 – number of goals for Chelsea in 40 league games during the 1960/61 season is still a club record at Stamford Bridge.

266 – goals for Tottenham in 379 appearances means Greaves remains Spurs’ record goalscorer.

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