GARY NEWBON — How I started Jimmy Greaves’ television career: At first he was reluctant but he soon became very popular and made a big impact
Jimmy Greaves is of course best known for his brilliant football career and his progression into broadcasting is often forgotten.
Sportsmail have launched a campaign for Greaves to be given the honours he deserves and his work in television should be considered too.
Here, broadcaster and TV presenter Gary Newbon makes recalls Greaves’ on-screen impact.
Jimmy Greaves deserves to be honoured for his broadcasting career alone.
It started with us on ATV in the Midlands in August 1980. He turned it down at first. Trevor East, our producer, called Jimmy on the Monday and he said no thanks.
On Thursday, he called back and said: ‘My wife Irene tells me I’ve got to take this job.’ And that was it. We were on screen for Star Soccer on the Saturday night.
Jimmy Greaves went into television after his playing career and was much-loved
He started shakily for the first three months. I got some stick for having a Londoner on the show, but then he started cracking jokes.
Coventry were playing Manchester City and Tommy Hutchinson was tormenting Willie Donachie. Jimmy said: ‘We’ve had to unravel Willie Donachie in the dressing room at half-time and tell him where he’s been.’ That was it, off he went. He became very popular and made a big impact.
We persuaded LWT to take him on the panel for the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Then on to Saint and Greavsie. The rest is history.
Greaves was immensely popular having initially been reluctant to work on television
He did a hell of a lot for TV and a lot for charities and people with drink problems, including Brian Clough when he was finding it difficult.
Viewers regularly wrote in to say they had someone in their family who had a drinking problem and he would call or write with advice.
Jimmy was prepared to share his own experiences and offer support.
He had a fantastic career in TV, entertained and helped many people and he was always too modest to let it be known.
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