It was on this day 58 years ago Jimmy Greaves, one of the most potent strikers in Chelsea history, scored his 100th league goal for the club. To this day, no player has achieved the feat for the Blues in a shorter period of time.
The milestone moment arrived during a thrilling contest against Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on a day when nine goals were shared between the two teams, three of which were scored by Greaves, just 20 years old at the time, as the Blues ran out 6-3 winners.
Greaves had given us the lead after just two minutes, and added another couple of strikes before half-time, one of 13 hat-tricks he would score in a blue shirt.
Bobby Tambling was also on target and Ron Tindall chipped in with a brace, but there was no doubt it was Greaves’s day.
During his time at Stamford Bridge, Greaves, who came through the ranks at the club, was as prolific as they come, first for our youth team and then once he had made the natural step up to senior level.
Handed his debut at the age of 17 on the opening day of the 1957/58 season, in an away game at Tottenham (pictured below), Greaves popped up five minutes from time to score his first Chelsea goal and earn us a point against our London rivals. From that moment he never looked back and the London-born forward went on to enjoy a goal-filled four-season spell in the side.
Reporting on the game at White Hart Lane for the Daily Express, journalist Desmond Hackett described Greaves’s performance as: ‘The greatest show I have ever seen from a young player on his league debut, and I have seen the juvenile…Johnny Haynes and Duncan Edwards.’
High praise, indeed, but Greaves was a one-off and the fact he scored 132 goals in 169 appearances for the Blues tells its own story.
‘I think when I played for Chelsea I just had a natural ability to score goals. I loved scoring. I would rather play badly for 89 minutes and score the winner than play well for 90 and not hit the net. At Chelsea I just scored goals, it was a natural thing for me to do.'
— Jimmy Greaves
Just a couple of weeks after firing home his 100th league goal, Greaves scored five times in a 7-1 win over West Bromwich Albion, one of three occasions on which he registered a five-goal haul for the Blues, and over the course of the campaign he netted 41 league goals in 40 starts, a phenomenal return.
It was on the final day of that 1960/61 season Greaves played his last game for Chelsea, and what a way to go out for the forward who, having been handed the captain’s armband, scored all four of our goals in a 4-3 win over Nottingham Forest at the Bridge, before being carried off the pitch on the shoulders of his team-mates.
Greaves swapped England for Italy, Stamford Bridge for the San Siro, as he moved to AC Milan, and when he returned to these shores he would go on to play for both Tottenham and West Ham.
His time at Chelsea, though, is a period of his career Greaves looks back on with much fondness, as it is for those supporters who were fortunate enough to watch him in action.
Clinical, ruthless and deadly in front of goal. A true striker in every sense of the word and undoubtedly one of the very best to wear the Chelsea blue.