Hacking cough: Tottenham and England great Jimmy Greaves needs your help
Below the photo of the young Syrian would-be refugee and the story of escaping death, The People leads with the news that we have 72 hours to “save” Jimmy Greaves. The first thought is ‘for the nation’?
Inside we learn:
Jimmy Greaves is struggling to raise £30k he needs to walk again – and there’s just 72 hours to get the money
Jimmy Greaves is one of the best footballers ever to have pulled on an England shirt. Famous for scoring 44 goals for England in just 57 appearances, missing the 1966 World Cup final – his place taken by hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst – and fronting the excellent footy telly show Saint & Greavsie, the former Tottenham Hotspur’s star is ill. And the paper knows who to blame for his predicament:
Soccer should hang its head in shame today as the Sunday People urges the moneybags sport: Be a Saint for Greavsie
Should football teams club together to help the former player? Should they help him any more than any other outfit that’s employed Sir James, like ITV (as well as S&G he captained a team on the broadcaster’s Sporting Triangles) or the Sun, the Mirror’s great tabloid rival, which employed Jimmy as a columnist? Or maybe – get this – the Sunday People should dig deep and help out because Jimmy wrote a column for it, too. The People is published by the Trinity Mirror Group, which when it’s not hacking phones made a profit of £12.1m during the first six months of 2015.
No word of any of that in Matt Sprake’s article, which thunders:
A record £870million has just been spent by clubs on player transfers – but Jimmy Greaves, one of England’s greatest ever players, is struggling to raise £30,000 he needs to walk again.
Trinity Mirror is worth around £386m.
But the paper wants to use Greavsie’s illness to bash football not beat itself up. After all, it helped one other well refreshed former England and Spurs legend – Paul Gascoigne – with a tidy £188,250, albeit a ‘donation‘ enforced by law because Mirror Group journalists hacked his phone.
Greavsie, 75, has just three days left to get the money – less than many Premier League stars earn in a week – to pay for intensive physio following a devastating stroke in May. A fund is due to close in 72 hours and last night was well short of the target reports the Sunday People.
But the fact such a legendary figure should be in such a position at all has sparked anger.
Why doesn’t the NHS step in to help an England sporting great? It turns out that the physio is wanted in addition to NHS care.
George Cohen, one of England’s 1966 World Cup winning side and Jimmy’s close friend, urged football to act: “Someone in football could easily give Jimmy the full £30,000 in one go. I’d do it immediately if I had the money.”
George Cohen is well. But should he fall ill, would any club help him?
Greavsie missed out on big money soccer. He played for Chelsea, Tottenham and AC Milan… he was on just £8 a week when he signed for Chelsea in 1957.
Greaves did earn healthy signing-on fees. But compared to today’s massive wages, his pay packet was feathery light.
In 1961, Greaves opined:
“I’ve got to look to the future. I’d be a fool if I didn’t want to make as good money as I can while I can. Football’s all I’m good at. What I want is security for when I retire.”
He told the Observer:
“There are these reports that Bologna would pay £70,000 to Chelsea for me if the foreign player ban ever came off,” says Jimmy, who is earning £20 a week for his scintillating performances. “One report said that would mean I’d collect a £20,000 signing-on fee. It’s all right playing for Chelsea. But I’d like much better playing for a world-class club that paid real money.
“One thing, I never get butterflies before a match,” Jimmy goes on. “And after, if I’ve done well or badly, I always remember there’s a next time. Smoking helps me relax. About 10 a day, but they don’t affect my fitness. I like the odd drink, too.”
In 1961, Greaves joined AC Milan for £80,000. Later that same year he joined Spurs for £99,999. In 1961, the average house price was £2,770 and a litre of four-star petrol cost 5p. The average price of a home today is £200,280. There was big money. But back then then clubs and not the players got the bulk of it. Today Greaves would earn a fortune.
But would he look after it? The booze caught Greaves, who retired age 30.
“I lost the 70s completely,” he says. “They passed me by. I was drunk from 1972 to 1977. I woke up one morning and realised that it was a different world. I’d been living in it, but I hadn’t been aware of it.”
“Let’s make no bones about it. I wish I was playing today. Some of the players get half a dozen goals a year and earn a fortune. I look back at my Chelsea days when you had to fight to get £8 a week in the winter and £7 a week in the summer, and now there are players who haven’t even played in the first team on 40 grand a week.”
Greaves missed the Premier League. But is football really ignoring one of its greats? At the bottom of the People’s article, we learn:
Tottenham Tribute Trust [TTT], a football charity set up to aid ex-players, has been helping Jimmy adapt his home. They have also helped fund some of the early treatment he required.
TTT “was set up in 2002 to help people connected with Spurs who have fallen on difficult times.” On its website, we learn:
TTT is bound by confidentiality and so never comments on the support we have provided (nor who we have provided it to) without the consent of our beneficiaries, for whom our help is often a deeply private matter.
The Mirror adds:
The Professional Footballers Association has also vowed to assist. Football Association chiefs have been in contact with JustGiving, who run Greavsie’s fundraising page, to seek further ways of boosting funds. Chairman Greg Dyke has made a donation, understood to be in four-figures. But the rest of the football world seems to have forgotten Jimmy.
It’s clear that the ‘football world’ has not forgotten Jimmy Greaves. And neither has the tabloid media. Maybe together they can dig deep and help him out…?
PS: On Greaves’ website, we learn:
Jimmy needs at least a year of physio and because his income has all but disappeared because of the stroke, we have set up a just giving page to try and raise £30,000 towards the cost. We have already raised around £15k with the people and Freda & my company A1 Sporting Speakers helping out , but this £30k extra could help Jimmy to make more of a recovery. He has a long hard road ahead but we would love to see him back somewhere near his old self. Here’s a link to the donations page. Every little helps. Thanks to everyone who donates a little bit. Every pledge is received with gratefullness and love. https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/JimmyGreaves
And over there we learn that the 30k has nearly been raised. He’s not “struggled” to raise it at all.
The Mirror’s story of 72 hours to save Greaves unless £30k is raised is total balls. He needs under £3k. People have been generous. Football has not ignored his plight.