Our former striker Jimmy Greaves has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list.
Greaves, 80, has been recognised for his services to English football. He was a member of England's 1966 World Cup-winning squad, and scored 44 goals in 57 games for his country.
It was at Stamford Bridge that Greaves burst onto the scene in the 1950s. Mention his name to Chelsea fans who witnessed him play, and they will likely tell you he’s the best they have ever seen. For those who never had the privilege, they need only look at his incredible record for the club to know there are few players more deserving of this honour.
Greaves was signed by Chelsea Football Club as a junior in 1956 and the following year created a club record by scoring 114 goals in the youth team. He made his inevitable debut for the first team on the opening day of the 1957/58 campaign, scoring in a 1-1 draw at Tottenham at the age of 17.
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.’
Over the next four seasons, Jimmy would go on to score a total of 132 goals in 169 games for Chelsea, including 13 hat-tricks, and reached the landmark of 100 goals at the age of only 20 years and 290 days. Greaves remains the youngest player to do so in the history of top flight football in England.
His final appearance for the club was also the final match of the 1960/61 season. Jimmy was appointed captain for the day and, naturally, scored all of Chelsea’s goals in a 4-3 win over Nottingham Forest.
Later that summer, Greaves left Chelsea for Milan before returning to England with Tottenham Hotspur in December of 1961. There he would continue to break records, becoming a hero in North London as well as on the Fulham Road.
Clinical, ruthless and deadly in front of goal, Jimmy undoubtedly remains one of the very best to wear the Chelsea blue. Everyone at Chelsea Football Club would like to congratulate Jimmy on this most deserved recognition.