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Tottenham Hotspur legend Jimmy Greaves dies, age 81

Rest in peace, Greavsie.

Soccer - World Cup England 66 - England Possibles Training - Lilleshall Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

One of, if not the, greatest player to have ever played football for Tottenham Hotspur has passed through the veil. Tottenham Hotspur announced that its all-time record goal scorer and club legend Jimmy Greaves has passed away. He was 81.

There is no way that I, an American who has only been following Spurs since 2007, could possibly do justice in an obituary piece to what Greaves has meant to multiple generations of Tottenham supporters. While I never had the opportunity to see him play, his contribution to the game was immense and laudatory. Greaves’ goal scoring record of 266 goals in 379 appearances is an astounding feat, and even with Harry Kane inching closer it may never be broken in the modern game. He also was prolific for England, scoring an incredible 44 goals in 57 appearances.

If you trawl through YouTube to find Jimmy Greaves goal compilations, you begin to understand just what an amazing player, and deadly finisher, he was. His vision, dribbling, and ability to put the ball in the back of the net from nearly anywhere made him virtually unplayable.

Things weren’t always rosy between Tottenham and Spurs. Greaves had a notorious decades-long falling-out with the club after he was sold to West Ham United in 1970. That feud lasted until 2016 when he finally returned to visit Spurs when he was inaugurated into the Tottenham Hotspur Hall of Fame. Last year, Greaves made news again when he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) at the age of 80, and even posed with Harry Kane.

In some ways it’s fitting that Greaves passed just before Tottenham played Chelsea. While he’ll always be known as a Tottenham legend, he also made 157 appearances early in his career for the Blues, scoring 125 goals. Both clubs made statements upon Greavesie’s passing, and the players will wear black armbands during today’s match. There will also be an observance of his life with a minute’s applause before kick-off.

Greavsie was an incredible sportsman and Tottenham through and through. He will be missed.