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Jimmy Greaves

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20 pints of beer a day and a bottle of vodka before bed: But Jimmy Greaves - who's clinging to life a stroke - shows up today's footballers as the pampered pygmies they are

He remains one of the most successful and gifted footballers this country has ever produced.

Many of today’s multi-millionaire Premier League mediocrities would gladly swap their entire car collection and property portfolio for a fraction of his achievements — an unbeaten 357 goals in the top tier of the English game; 44 goals — including six hat-tricks — in 57 matches for his country; membership of the most successful England squad in history.


‘On occasions I would drink up to 20 pints of beer in the course of a day, go home, then drink a whole bottle of vodka before going to bed.

‘I couldn’t go without a drink. I used to put a bottle of vodka by my bed so I could have a few drinks as soon as I woke up. That stopped my hands shaking, steadied my nerves and set me up for another day of binge-drinking.’

With the advent of the shiny new Premier League, TV and football executives wanted a new breed of pundit — more technical, less folksy and irreverent. Greaves came from the era of cheeky chaps in camel coats earning little more than many of their fans. The new bosses wanted fresher, younger faces along with gizmos and crisp analysis.

Greaves could not be relied on to talk up a lousy match, and had little sympathy for the prima donnas who had taken over his beloved game yet complained about the pressure.

In an interview ten years ago, he said: ‘I’m sorry, I cannot see that earning fifty grand, a hundred grand a week, doing what you enjoy and can do naturally — I can’t see where the pressures are.’

Well I suppose if you are paying billions to air games you can't admit its crap.

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