Natural: The Jimmy Greaves Story, is a fascinating tale of a player that remains the greatest goalscorer in English football history, with a record of 357 top-flight goals that may never be surpassed. Teenage sensation at Chelsea and England debutant at 19, he became – after an unhappy spell at AC Milan – a legend at Tottenham Hotspur.
But despite 44 international goals in 57 games, his England career was defined by the heartbreak of missing the 1966 World Cup Final. A shock move to West Ham brought an acrimonious end to his Spurs days and, a year later, he retired from the game, aged only 31.
What followed was a desperate descent into alcoholism, followed by a remarkable battle to win back his family and self-esteem. Reinventing himself as a popular TV personality, his instincts in front of camera proved as natural as those in front of goal.
Having taken his final drink i 1978, Greaves has remained sober from that day. Drawing on interviews with family, friends, colleagues and opponents, Natural: The Jimmy Greaves Story, is the definitive biography of one of England’s most loved footballers.
In a recent podcast with the people of These Football Times, they meet up with the author David Tossell, who gets the details highlighted, with a number of funny reminders such as people of a certain interest got a Splitting Image doll, and of course Jimmy Greaves had one.
Crawling the archive of You Tube you can find some fantastic clips and one is when Jimmy Greaves missed a show due to a flue, and his partner Ian St. John ran the show together with the Splitting Image doll, with the voice made by Peter Brackley. This will for always be one of the great funny stories of Saints & Greavsy,
The talk with David Tossell, makes a point also of the days at Barnet FC, of course the battle with alcoholism and his natural talent also in front of camera.
This is a book that gets to the deep of it all and is well written with a touch of personal views from the author, who can really write with a clever pen.
Jimmy and Ian St. John made the show Saints & Greavsy from 1985 to 1992. He also wrote an article in the popular football magazine Shoot.
In later years the health has been an issue for “Greavsy” and he is not getting younger, and he is now 79 years of age. He has been back at Tottenham on frequent visits and still very much attached to Spurs as it was special.
His stats with Tottenham shows what he was made of, scoring 220 goals in 321 league games. His tally at Chelsea was also very impressive, 124 in 154. His stint in Italy might have been seen as a failure, but in his 12 games in Serie A, he netted 9.
In an era with Best, Charlton, Moore and several other star names, English football being on the top of everything, Greaves might not be given enough attention, probably due to him missing out on that England 1966 final, despite being part of the squad and playing in the tournament.
Don’t miss out on this story. You can order the book as you read, the story of Jimmy Greaves, is one you would not like to miss out on.