Denis Robinson Column: There was no answer to the lethal finishing of true great
I have a special reason to remember the legendary Jimmy Greaves, who died last weekend at the age of 81.
As a lifelong Nottingham Forest fan, I developed a grudging admiration for Greavesie, who always seemed to score against the Reds.
An example which sticks most vividly in my mind is when he netted four of the goals in the 9-2 demolition of the Reds by Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on September 29, 1962.
Like virtually all the teams who played against Greaves, the most prolific goalscorer in the history of our national game, Forest could find no answer to his mazy dribbles and lethal finishing.
It is no exaggeration to say that, through his breathtaking flair and precision, he made it look as if the ball was attached to his feet.
For the record, Forest’s scorers in the 9-2 hammering were Trevor Hockey and Geoff Varden, who got the first and last goals of the game.
I felt particularly sorry for the Reds’ goalkeeper, Peter Grummitt. He was a fine keeper but there was nothing he could do to prevent this relentless onslaught.
The Forest team that day included ‘Flip’ Le Flem, who originated from the Channel Islands. He had Greaves-like skill and was capable of bamboozling defences with his zigzag runs, sometimes turning on a sixpence.
I recall once seeing him beat five players to score a sensational goal in a 2-1 victory for Forest over Burnley at the City Ground,
Also in the Forest team for the match against Spurs was Colin Addison, whose wedding at St Mary's Church, Bulwell, on a winter morning I reported for the Dispatch.
Incidentally, I am delighted that Forest at last achieved their long-awaited first victory of the season last Saturday and they did it in style, beating Huddersfield Town 2-0 away.
It was starting to look as if the demoralised Reds, stranded at the bottom of the Championship table, were no longer capable of winning a football match.
But, to quote Jimmy Greaves's famous catchphrase, 'it's a funny old game'.
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