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Danny Greaves says his father Jimmy has been bowled over by the response to Sportsmail campaign

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The Beatles, James Bond and my Dad helped make Great Britain cool in the '60s... it's amazing! Danny Greaves says his father Jimmy has been bowled over by the response to our campaignSportsmail calls for Jimmy Greaves to be given the honours that he deserves Campaign struck a chord and the family have been overwhelmed by response Son Danny thinks his father was the Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo of his time He is committed to preserving Jimmy's legacy and raising funds for medical bills 

More than the usual degree of commotion surrounded Jimmy Greaves as he arrived at the Turkish barbers in Danbury for the usual shave and cut.

Greaves and his son Danny are a familiar sight in the streets of the Essex village and interest has been piqued this week by Sportsmail’s campaign to see the former Tottenham and England striker honoured.

‘They all know Dad but it was nice to show them who he was and for them to understand what he achieved,’ said Danny, who found his copy of the newspaper seized upon by staff and customers in the barbers. ‘The response has been overwhelming.’

Jimmy Greaves pictured alongside his wife Irene at a restaurant during dinner in 1965

Greaves, who will be 80 on Thursday, has never been one to bask in former glories but he has savoured the fond memories stirred by our campaign and a new documentary film of his life, set to be broadcast by BT Sport on Tuesday. 

‘One of the nicest things was to see Dad sit down with Tom Boswell, who made the film, and watch over some of his goals, especially some of the early ones, rarely seen,’ said Danny. ‘So many of them have been lost in time, including the first on his debut for Chelsea.

‘It was a game covered by television and there is footage, but the cameraman missed his goal. What a shame that is. The first goal scored at senior level by our record goalscorer is lost and will never be seen again.’

Greaves was 17 when he scored his first goal for Chelsea against Tottenham in 1957. By the time he finished at West Ham in 1971, he had struck 357 goals in Division One, an English top-flight record that still stands.

Jimmy son Danny (left) is now the one committed to looking after his father's legacy

He scored a record 266 for Tottenham, won the FA Cup twice and the Cup-Winners’ Cup and finished as Division One’s top scorer on six occasions.

‘He was the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of his era,’ said Danny. ‘He was a superstar before George Best was a superstar. He was an icon of that London scene in the 1960s at a time when the Beatles and James Bond were making Britain cool.’

Central to this scene, of course, was the 1966 World Cup and Greaves was part of the triumph, although injury ruled him out of the final, which naturally proved a great disappointment.

‘We’ve had conversations about the World Cup,’ said Danny. ‘He felt the 1962 side were better but he always believed England were going to win the World Cup in ’66. It was on home soil and he thought they were the best side in the tournament. The only thing he didn’t bargain for was that he wouldn’t be in the team.’

The season before the World Cup, Greaves was ruled out for weeks after being struck down by hepatitis. ‘Dad always said without the hepatitis he would have scored another 50 or 60 goals throughout his career. He lost half a yard of pace and thought he was never quite the same player.’

Danny and his father have been bowled over by the support for Sportsmail's campaign

Perhaps his greatest personal success was to confront his alcoholism with a public confession, beat it and salvage his marriage to Irene. They were divorced but the family was soon back together after he quit drinking in 1978.

‘Alcoholism is an illness and an addiction,’ said Danny. ‘It creeps up and takes over and it took hold of Dad. It was a tough time for Mum with four kids all under the age of 17. She knew she had to do something and she made a brave call and gave Dad the kick-start he needed.

‘Thankfully it worked and the whole family enjoyed Dad’s success on TV because we were part of it. We had gone through a dark period when Mum forced him to leave. Then suddenly, Dad’s back, he’s sober and his career is taking off in a different direction.’

Jimmy and Irene remarried in 2017, two years after the severe stroke which left him disabled on one side of his body, unable to walk, with his vision and speech impaired. He needs medical care four times a day.

‘Mum likes to joke and says he never asked her the right way,’ said Danny. ‘The feeling was that they’d been married and what was the point of doing it again? When he fell ill they thought maybe they should. I never thought at my age I would be going to my parents’ wedding.’

Danny, too, is at ease with what it means to be Greavsie’s eldest son and committed to preserving his father’s legacy while helping to raise funds for his ongoing medical care by organising events such as a golf day in May with former Spurs players.

Greaves (pictured in 1967) was a genius on the football pitch and is yet without any honours

‘For a time I thought it was a hindrance more than a help to be the son of Jimmy Greaves,’ said Danny. ‘He lost his first son, Jim, as a baby, and I probably felt the pressure more keenly than my sisters, Lynn and Mitzi, or my brother Andrew.

‘I followed him into football and you’re not just following in the footsteps of another footballer but one of the greatest players this country has produced.

‘I’ve never been Danny Greaves. I’m always known as the son of Jimmy. I’ve lived with it all my life. It comes with the territory and I’ve seen the positives outweigh the negatives. It has opened doors for me. It has helped me see things in life I would not have seen otherwise.

‘Dad is Dad and I wouldn’t swap that for the world. He’s been a wonderful father to four kids and he’s a wonderful grandfather and great-grandfather.

‘He’s kind and generous with his time and has a good sense of humour. Everyone adores him.’

Add your signature to give England hero Jimmy Greaves the gong he deserves.

Go to: www.change.org/givegreavsieagong 

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