NORMAN GILLER’S SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 100
Submitted by Norman Giller
Norman visits Jimmy Greaves
Who would have thought that writing my 100th Spurs Odyssey blog would coincide with Britain winning the Davis Cup and Tyson Fury becoming world heavyweight boxing champion. The only thing spoiling a perfect sporting weekend was Tottenham’s failure to conquer Chelsea yesterday.
It was a goalless and often guileless game, as Chelsea frustrated Spurs with their cautious contain and counter tactics. But let’s look on the bright side. That is now a club Premier League record of 13 matches without a defeat, and the only loss remains to that own goal set-back at Manchester United in the opening match of the season.
I will leave the facts and figures of the match to the deadly accurate reporting of our guru Paul Smith, because I think the best way to mark my 100th appearance here on the Spurs Odyssey stage is to report on a visit I made to everybody’s favourite former footballer, James Peter Greaves.
Let’s not avoid the fact that Jimmy was as close as you can get to the exit door when he was knocked over by a brutal stroke in May. He lost all movement on the right hand side (luckily, he is left handed), and his powers of speech deserted him. Worse still, he lost his sense of humour, and Greavsie without a quip always on his lip is just not Jimmy.
But after spending two hours with him, I am glad to report there is gradual improvement. His speech – halting and slurred – is slowly coming back to him, and he had the old rascal’s twinkle in his eye as we reminisced on memories from the near-60 years we have known each other.
He is confined to a wheelchair, and as I pushed him incognito around the streets near his hospital he continually pointed out classic cars and named them. One of his main hobbies throughout his adult life has been driving the best cars on the road.
Jimmy is in the best possible hands and there is a team of dedicated experts working at getting him back to a condition where he can enjoy a better quality of life. It is going to be a long, long haul, but he is up for the fight and is prepared for exhausting therapy.
This brings me to my reason for talking about my hero here in my 100th column. I want to say on behalf of the Greaves family – loyal, loving wife Irene, sons Danny and Andrew, daughters Lynn and Mitzi – how appreciative they are for the public support they have received, including from Tottenham and old friends in football.
I expressed to Jimmy how much love there is for him from literally thousands of people who have made contact through letters, emails and the social network, including via his manager Terry Baker’s website (www.JimmyGreaves.net). It was an emotional moment when he managed to say that he is grateful for all the kind thoughts.
The Tottenham Trust, to which I am happy to give all profits from my Tottenham-themed books, have quietly helped Jimmy with his huge medical expenses, and his pals in football are getting together for a special benefit theatre show next February 26. Full details here: http://jimmygreaves.net/2015/11/jimmy-benefit-theatre-show-feb-26th/
If you want to get one of my books for Christmas – a perfect present for a Dad, a Granddad or even yourself – and help theTottenham Tribute Trust at the same time, please order any of my Spurs books here:
Let’s finish this 100th blog with a golden memory of Jimmy Greaves. It was 54 years ago next month – December 16 1961 – that Jimmy started his goal-gorged Tottenham career with that magical hat-trick in a 5-2 demolition of Blackpool at White Hart Lane.
Jimmy now struggles to recall it, but everybody lucky enough to witness his debut – particularly the scissors kick first goal – remains warmed by the memory of a master at work.
Greavsie will always be The King in the minds of all those Spurs supporters of a certain age. And the news I have for all his subjects today is that he is battling back.
SPURS ODYSSEY QUIZ LEAGUE, Week 17
Week SEVENTEEN of our Spurs Odyssey Quiz League, and most of you found last week’s teaser easy-peasy: “I started my Tottenham first-team career when George Graham was manager, played 21 times for England and captained a winning Spurs team at Wembley in a Carling Cup final. Who am I and against which team did I once score a Premier League goal in just 10 seconds?”
Yes, of course, the one and only Ledley King, whose instant goal in 9.8 seconds against Bradford City remains the quickest ever scored in the Premier League. How many caps would he have won but for his recurring knee problems? He was one of the very few central defenders I saw who could be mentioned i the same breath as The Master, Bobby Moore.
This week’s teaser: “I scored 21 goals in 51 international matches and also 21 in 78 Premier League games for Spurs and wore the No 9 Tottenham shirt in a League Cup final. Who am I and from which club did I sign for Tottenham in 2008?”
You get two points for identifying the player, and a bonus point for naming the club from which he joined Tottenham.
Keep a check on your points tally, because the contestant topping the SOQL table at the end of the season will receive a huge, personally autographed photograph of Spurs legend Jimmy Greaves, plus a signed, framed certificate announcing the winner as the 2015-16 Spurs Odyssey Quiz League champion.
Email your answers, please, to SOQL17@normangillerbooks.com Give your name, the district where you live and how long you’ve supported Spurs. I will respond, and will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to the sender of the first all-correct answer drawn at random. Closing date for entries: midnight this Friday.
First name drawn at random from the correct answers last week is Henry Parker, of Salisbury. I will email a screen version of one of my Tottenham-themed books to Henry, who has been a Spurs supporter since 1984.
Thanks for your company. See you same time, same place next week. COYS!
Readers may like to visit the Spurs Odyssey Features page for more articles about Jimmy Greaves. There are articles about other major figures and events in Spurs history too.
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