THIS IS A REPEAT OF MY 100th BLOG FOR THE HUGELY POPULAR SPURS ODYSSEY WEBSITE MASTERMINDED BY PAUL SMITH http://www.spursodyssey.com
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.
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: www.normangillerbooks.com
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.