A Memorable Debut for Tottenham – Jimmy Greaves’ Hat-trick Against Blackpool


Throughout Jimmy Greaves’ career, he made a habit of scoring on his debut and it was no different in his first appearance for Tottenham, scoring a hat-trick against Blackpool at White Hart Lane.

Programme for Tottenham v Blackpool in Devember, 1961. Jimmy Greaves’ Tottenham debut. [Photo: Logan Holmes]Jimmy Greaves  scored on his League debut for Chelsea at Tottenham on the opening day of the 1957-58 season. At just 17 years of age he scored Chelsea’s equaliser in a 1 – 1 draw. He also scored on his debut for the England under-23 team as well as on his full England debut. He was transferred to AC Milan in the summer of 1961 and although it turned out to be an unhappy experience for him, he still managed to score on his first appearance.

Hearing of Greaves’ discontent in Italy and desire to return to England, Bill Nicholson made it his business to sign the goalscorer to add to his talented team which had just completed the ‘Double’ the previous season. After lengthy and difficult negotiations, Greaves signed for Tottenham for £99,999 as Nicholson didn’t want him to be labelled as the ‘first £100,000 player’.

Jimmy Greaves makes his Spurs’ debut for the reserves at Plymouth [Photo: Logan Holmes]Greaves returned to England and made his first appearance in a Tottenham shirt for the reserves at Plymouth. The match attracted a record crowd of 12,907 spectators for a Combination match and was the second highest attendance at Home Park for for all matches that season. Greaves duly delivered with two goals as Spurs won 4 – 1. He scored the third and fourth goals with his first coming after 31 minutes and added a second early in the second half.

Debut v Blackpool

A week later, on 16th December,1961, he made his Tottenham League debut against Blackpool at White Hart Lane and got his Spurs career off on the right footing with a hat-trick, the first of his record 266 goals for Tottenham.

The Sunday Express report on the match by Alan Hoby described Greaves’ first Tottenham goal,

‘In the 39th minute of this unforgettable game that white-shirted Spurs storm-trooper, left-half Dave Mackay, took a quick throw in on the left. Straight as a bullet the ball flew to right-winger Terry Medwin. A superb back-header by the Welsh international arched to Jimmy Greaves standing hemmed in by Blackpool’s defenders in front of goal.

Like a flash of black and white lightning, Greaves struck. With an acrobatic continental leap he volleyed the ball into the roof of the net.

Golden Greaves, Tottenham’s near £100,000 ‘buy’ from Milan, had scored in his first league match for Spurs – and White Hart Lane exploded into a pandemonium of cheering.’

Newspaper photograph of Jimmy Greaves’ first Tottenham goal, signed by the player. [Photo: Logan Holmes]

A minute later, Greaves added his second with a header from a cross floated in by Mackay and the third came in the second half, heading in from a corner by Les Allen. He then created the fifth goal for Allen when his shot crashed against the foot of the post but fell to the centre forward to complete Tottenham’s scoring in the 5 – 2 victory.

A memorable debut by Jimmy Greaves at the beginning of a career at White Hart Lane which was to see him become the club’s record goal scorer. On leaving Tottenham, he maintained his tradition of scoring on his debut when he joined West Ham in 1970, scoring twice against Manchester City.