According to former teammate Terry Dyson, Harry Kane is very close to being Tottenham’s all-time top scorer, but the late Jimmy Greaves will always have the “outside” over him and other great forwards.
Kane scored his 265th goal for the Spurs in a 1-0 win over Portsmouth last Saturday and could make history in this weekend’s North London derby against Arsenal.
A boost to England’s shared record for Kane could see him surpass Greaves’ 266 goals tally for Tottenham that has been in place for more than half a century.
A feat likely to be overlooked as today’s hero Kane is on the verge of another milestone and backed to beat Alan Shearer’s 260-goal win in the Premier League.
“I think Jim will always have that,” said Dyson of Greaves’ title as England’s top-flight top scorer with 357 goals.
“Isn’t it incredible? It’s incredible. That’s a bit of a goal.
“I’m sure he’ll have that record (forever). He’s just going to have the advantage.”
Greaves’ final total is even more remarkable considering that he stopped playing Major League football at the age of 31, and despite Kane being a late developer, comparisons can be made between the duo on and off the field.
Both were the best of their generation in this country and came from east London. It’s miles from Manor Park and Walthamstow, where Greaves and Kane were born, and then from Hainault and Chingford, where the two strikers spent their childhood.
Off the field the word humble is often associated with the duo and they scored a lot on the field but they also created them.
Dyson told the PA news agency: “He seemed to be in the right position and slid them in. He used to score incredible goals, Jim.
“You won’t find many people like him. But I guess you don’t find many people like Harry Kane.
“Harry is a very, very good player and if you were a manager of a club you would buy it.
“They’re both real class scorers. It seems like they get into the right place at the right time and then finish well. But Jimmy’s first game (for Tottenham) was at Plymouth for the reserves!”
When Greaves signed with the Spurs for a record £99,999 in the winter of 1961, Home Park was the ominous pitch that Tottenham had drawn white for the first time.
A huge crowd showed up for the Combination match at Plymouth, where Greaves grabbed a splint and played with Dyson, who won doubles for the first time.
A week later and he marked his debut in the competition with a hat-trick against Blackpool on 16 December at White Hart Lane. Nine productive seasons for the forward under Bill Nicholson were a sign of things to come.
“Bill put him in the reserves,” laughed Dyson, Greaves’ roommate.
“His first game was for the reserves at Plymouth and I was on the reserves at the time, so I played that game.
“We came back by the night train, so we came back at six or seven in the morning.
“He scored a few goals and placed in the A team the following week and scored a hat-trick.
“It was incredible. I don’t know who taught him that, I think it was just a natural talent. He would get into the right positions and there was no doubt when he got in front of the goal. He would just slide them past the goalkeeper, but he was very modest about it.
“There was nothing flashy about it. He would just go on, play and score.”
Dyson stayed in the same room with Greaves on his return from Plymouth and with the Spurs for the next four years.
An FA Cup victory would come before the European Cup Winners’ Cup success in 1963, when they both scored a double in a 5-1 victory over Atlético Madrid.
The 1962 FA Cup victory was Greaves’ first at Tottenham, and Dyson, who visited the new stadium last season, would have liked Kane to follow in his old teammate’s footsteps.
“I enjoy watching Tottenham because I was a big part of it.
“I was there for 10 years and we had a good manager and a good team at Bill. We’ve accomplished something and now we let other people try and do it.
“I would love to see them win something this season.”