Cliff Jones calls for Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves to be knighted: He saved me from alcoholism

Dan Kilpatrick

Tottenham double-winner Cliff Jones says Jimmy Greaves “saved his life” and has called for his former teammate to be knighted.

Jones, 85, suffered from alcoholism after retiring from football and Greaves, himself a recovering alcoholic, inspired the Welshman to turn his life around.

“He changed my life,” Jones told Standard Sport ahead of Greaves’ 80th birthday on Thursday.

“It was the greatest thing he’s ever done, in my life at least. As a player, it was fantastic to be on the same side as him but he saved my life in many ways.

“I was going nowhere with the drink. My wife Joan got in touch with Jimmy, who came to see me and told me straight, ‘Do you want to lose everything? You’ve got a lovely home, a family, a wife.’ I said, ‘Of course I don’t, what do I do?’ He said go to Alcoholics Anonymous.

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“It certainly saved my life. He was right. I went to a meeting and I’ve been going there ever since. It’s 32 years ago now I’ve been sober thanks to Jimmy.

“He is the greatest goalscorer the game’s ever seen,” Jones added. “Those years at Tottenham, when we were the team to see, were special times and Jim was a big part of that, certainly. But he was a highly intelligent lad as well, he had a way with words. He’s a special character, Jim, and a really, really good friend.

“There’s talk of a knighthood and I say why not?” Jones continued. “Look at what he’s done. He’s the highest goalscorer England’s ever had [in the top flight], the highest goalscorer Tottenham’s ever had, one of the highest goalscorers Chelsea’s ever had.

“But apart from that, it’s what he’s done away from football, working with Alcoholics Anonymous helping other addicts, myself included.

“Not only on the sporting side but also on the emotional side. I’d give Jim a knighthood certainly.”

Greaves, who is now wheelchair-bound after suffering a severe stroke in 2015, scored 266 goals in 379 appearances for Spurs, while nobody has ever scored more than his 357 top-flight goals. His record of being top scorer in six seasons still stands.

Spurs will mark Greaves’ 80th with a commemorative programme for tomorrow’s Champions League last 16 first leg against RB Leipzig, while the Greaves family will take part in a formal pitch-side presentation on his behalf.

“I’ll be having a chat with [his wife] Irene, she’s a very good friend,” said Jones, who will be at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium tomorrow.

‘Greavsie’, a film documenting the life of Greaves, will premiere on BT Sport 2 tonight at 10.30pm.

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