FOOTBALL: I was sad to hear of the passing on Sunday of the legendary Spurs and England striker Jimmy Greaves at the age of 81. 

I am just a little bit too young to remember the great man in his pomp as a top striker, but a quick look at his amazing statistical playing facts more than tells you why many people regard him as the greatest English striker of all time. 

The Spurs stat of 220 goals in 321 appearances will always be remembered but he also plundered a quite remarkable 125 goals in only 157 appearances for his first club Chelsea. 

Sandwiched in between these figures is a very short spell in Italy where Jimmy found the back of the net nine times in 12 outings for AC Milan in 1961, which is no mean feat whilst playing in a league where defending is more important than attacking. 

As I said, I wasn’t around to witness Jimmy’s playing career but what I, and I rather suspect, many from my generation will remember is the still very fondly remembered Saint & Greavsie show, broadcast on ITV at Saturday lunchtimes with another sadly departed legend, former Liverpool player Ian St John. 

I was surprised to find out when doing a little research that the programme ran only between October 1985 and June 1992, it really seemed a lot longer than that. 

At the time it just seemed like two ex-pros talking about the game in general and previewing that weekend’s action. 

What it also did was add a little bit of the fun side to football which, at the time, you didn’t see much of on a regular basis, apart from the much-loved “cup final Saturdays” which often started at 10 o’clock in the morning and wouldn’t finish until 6 o’clock in the evening – they were great days! 

Now though, when you think about it Saint and Greavsie broke the mould of football punditry at the time and set up loosely what we see today in the seemingly hours of coverage we now take for granted. 

The combination of St John, as a straight man to Greaves’s sometimes comical view on the game, was a huge success, the show often drawing millions of viewers every week, many of whom were not avid football followers. 

When it was announced that the show was to finish there was huge surprise and dismay among its many millions of viewers who couldn’t understand why ITV would want to take off-air such a popular programme. 

There was a broader picture, though, as not long after the long-running “World of Sport” hosted by Dickie Davies was also pulled, as ITV filled their afternoons with repeats and horse racing. 

As Greavsie probably said at the time: “It’s a funny old game.” How very true those words are today, almost 30 years later.