5 minutes with...ex-footballer Jimmy Greaves

PUBLISHED: 16:40 05 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:55 20 February 2013

Jimmy Greaves

Jimmy Greaves

He may have missed out on the 1966 World Cup but since hanging up his boots, striker Jimmy Greaves has continued to make a name for himself both on screen and stage. He talks to Michael Palmer about football, television and that World Cup...

He may have missed out on the 1996 World Cup but since hanfinf up his boots, striker Jimmy Greaves has continued to make a name for himseld both on screen and stage. He talks to Michael Palmer about football, television and that World Cup...

Who is the greatest player you played with during your career?
A toss up between Dave Mackay and Bobby Moore. Dave motivated everybody around him with his inspirational performance. He could tackle like a tank, had an excellent left-foot cross-field pass that could change the direction of play and he never ever accepted defeat until the final whistle. Bobby Moore read the game better than anybody I have ever seen, and was always in the right place at the right time. He wasn't the quickest thing on two feet, but was always yards ahead of the opposition in his thoughts.

Do you have any memories of playing at Brighton and Hove's Goldstone ground? What do they need to do to get back in the big time?
I only ever played at the Goldstone in a testimonial for either Alan Mullery or Bobby Smith. You need huge financial backing and lots of luck to get back to the Jimmy Melia Wembley days!

Can you really compare David Beckham to Bobby Moore, and do you think he deserves to have the same standing in the game?
You can't compare my great mate Mooro with David Beckham. One was a world-class defender, the other a midfielder-winger at various times. You can't compare eras, but both have done brilliantly in their careers.

What's the best moment of your career?
There was a lot of pressure on me when I made my debut for Tottenham after moving from AC Milan in controversial circumstances.
I silenced the critics by scoring a hat trick in a First Division match against Blackpool, including a scissor-kick goal that was as spectacular as any I ever scored.

How did it feel to miss out on the World Cup Final in 1966?
Naturally I felt sick, but in Alf Ramsey's position I would probably have done the same thing. The team played magnificently in the quarter and semi-finals and Alf decided not to change a winning team. I had stitches in a gash on my shin following the third match against France, and that's what cost me my place in the side. Despite what people say, I never held a grudge against Alf. He had my respect as one of the greatest football tacticians of all time.

Do you have any regrets?
My only two major regrets were missing the World Cup final and failing to get into the 1962 European Cup final with Spurs after I had a perfectly legitimate goal ruled off-side.

Which club did you enjoy your spell at the most?

I had equal satisfaction at Chelsea and Tottenham, but if you put a gun to my head I would have to say Spurs, where I was more in control of my game and playing in a better side. At Chelsea I was just a kid playing it off the cuff without fear.

Who are today's best players?
Steven Gerrard is the nearest thing I have seen to the late, great Busby Babe Duncan Edwards. Cristiano Ronaldo is outstanding, but not in the class of George Best. I wish he wouldn't go over so easily. Michael Owen is the best goal poacher of recent years, and it's a pity he has had so many injuries. Wayne Rooney is exceptional, but needs to show he has a good temperament to go with his talent.

How does your stage career compare with television?
I love travelling the country with the road show - I get an instant feedback reaction from the audiences which you don't enjoy on television. I loved every moment of my TV career, but that's history now. I know I'm biased, but I don't think there's a sports show on the screen to rival the old Saint and Greavsie programme.
I know that makes me sound like a grumpy old footballer, but anybody who used to switch on to us in our peak years will, I believe, agree with my opinion.

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