England great Greaves: ‘Sir Tom was my idol’

Tom Finney on the ball.'NO DATE GIVEN
Tom Finney on the ball.'NO DATE GIVEN
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Former England, Tottenham and Chelsea striker Jimmy Greaves spoke of his sadness at the death of footballing icon Sir Tom Finney.

Greaves, 73, said Sir Tom had been a schoolboy hero of his and would be sadly missed.

Greaves said: “In the passing of Tom Finney we have seen the last of the great players of that hardy generation who fought in the war then returned to pick up the pieces of their respective football careers.

“When I was a boy, Tom Finney was a hero of mine, all these years on, nothing has changed. I played against him on a number of occasions.

“He was not only a maker but a taker of goals, above all he was a gentleman player who never retaliated irrespective of how shabby the treatment metered-out to him and, believe me, back in those days it was a very combative and physical game compared to today.”

Another ex-England striker, Francis Lee said: “Tom Finney would be the best England player of all time – he was a complete footballer.

“He could play anywhere along the forward line and was two-footed.”

And former Tottenham and Luton Town boss David Pleat added: “Sir Tom was as great as any Englishman who has played since I started watching in the 1950s. He would have got into any England side since then.”

And Rodney Marsh, who played for Fulham, QPR and Manchester City, said Finney represented a different era.

He said: “He came from a time of gentleman footballers where they were always properly dressed, wore jacket and tie and acted accordingly.”