Jimmy Greaves is Tottenham Hotspur's all-time leading goal scorer, netting 266 goals in 379 games for the club. And now, 45 years after leaving Spurs, he will be inducted into the Tottenham Hotspur Hall of Fame, according to the club website.
Greavesie is considered one of the best, if not the best, Tottenham Hotspur players of all time, but he has not returned to White Hart Lane for a match since he was sold, contentiously, to West Ham United in 1970. Depending on who you ask, the bad blood between himself and the club are the reason why it has taken 45 years for him to be recognized by the club where he spent the majority of his career. Players such as Stefan Freund, Ron Burgess, and Ray Clemence – all worthy Hall of Famers – were inducted well before Spurs' leading goal-scorer.
In his autobiography, quoted in an article in The Guardian this February, Greaves expounded on how his contentious sale to West Ham affected him and his relationship with Tottenham:
"I was taken aback and I was angry. I was so annoyed with Bill [Nicholson] for wanting to bring my Spurs career to an end, I simply said, ‘Okay. If you don't want me at Spurs, I'll go'. I didn't have to go, not if I didn't want to. I still had eighteen months of a contract to run. I could have told Bill I was staying at Spurs and there was little he could have done about it. But I was so peeved that he appeared so willing to get rid of me, I went along with it. What's the point of staying at a club that doesn't want you?
Looking back on that day, I wish I had told Bill I wasn't interested in moving"
That now he's ready to return to White Hart Lane and be recognized indicates that Greaves has finally buried the hatchet. In a statement on the Tottenham website, Greaves said he was ancipating his return:
"For all the fans who have asked me when I will be in the Tottenham Hotspur Hall of Fame, I am delighted that we now have a date. I am looking forward to returning to White Hart Lane for this very special occasion."
The induction ceremony will take place on May 13. He should receive a hero's welcome.