Remembering Jimmy Greaves and John Challis
I’m at an age now when celebrities dying who had impacted me “back in the day” is common place, and Greavsie and Boycie both fitted the bill – in Boycie’s case, he was a brilliant foil to Del Boy in my favourite sitcom at the time – Only Fools and Horses, who often had me in stitches of laughter with his dry put downs.
As a boy growing up, and following two clubs Greavsie played for (Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham), he was my hero (alongside Bobby Charlton and Pele) and it would not be an understatement to say he was not only an outstanding talent at his best but also a legend. It was a shame he could not enjoy the greatest accolade of playing for England in the 1966 World Cup Final, but such is life.
After he stepped down playing and then going through a time when alcoholism took over, he reinvented himself and along with another football star, Ian St. John, presented the Saint and Greavsie show. There have been many football pundits in my time but his down to earth observations urged on by the Saint made compelling viewing. My all time memory was Greavsie commentating on the 1982 World Cup, which Italy won, and his words to Brian Moore along the lines: “I loved the way the Italians played – through balls, short balls, long balls, high balls. One thing I would like to say to you Brian” and after a short pause “it has been a pleasure working with you”.