sport news The People's Champion: Thousands of readers join Sportsmail's campaign to give ...

Players and politicians have had their say on the brilliance of Jimmy Greaves.

Now thousands of our readers have joined the campaign to 'give him a gong'.

Here's a selection of the letters and emails hailing him as the the people's champion…

Jimmy Greaves (R) was idolised by all and is recognised as one of the game's greatest strikers

Jimmy Greaves (R) was idolised by all and is recognised as one of the game's greatest strikers

I was working for British Airways supervising a flight to Cape Town when I noticed Jimmy and his wife Irene standing in the queue for economy. 

I upgraded him to business class check-in, but when I went to the departure gate he was standing in the economy queue! I escorted him to the aircraft where the cabin crew promptly upgraded him to first class.

Some months later he wrote to BA thanking me and the crew. He never forgot his roots. Humble then and still the same.

Arise Sir Jim.

Peter Spittles

I remember waiting outside the Bell pub for the Tottenham players to come out after a post-match pint, and Jimmy being surrounded by dozens of young lads, including my brother and me, clamouring for his autograph.

His poor wife stood there for ages while he chatted, and eventually said something along the lines of, 'Come on Jimmy, we need to get home!' He said he'd be with her as soon as he had finished signing!

Jimmy was a gentleman, always ready with a smile and a joke, and someone who brought happiness into other people's lives. If he doesn't apparently merit an honour for his football career, he should certainly do so for the example of his post-football life.

John Holmes

As he prepares to turn 80, Sportsmail calls for the national hero to be given recognition

As he prepares to turn 80, Sportsmail calls for the national hero to be given recognition

In the early 1960s I went to Ninian Park as a young lad to watch the great Double-winning Spurs side play Cardiff City. In those days the away side would catch a coach to the station after the game, then a train home.

I ran from Ninian Park to the station hoping to get Jimmy Greaves to sign my book. After running the two miles and out of breath, I spotted Jimmy. But before I could ask him to sign his autograph, he put an old 10-shilling note in my hand and asked me to run back downstairs and get him the Pink Football Echo.

I shot off and returned minutes later, just before the train pulled out. I handed him the Echo and his change. He signed my book and told me to keep the change as he had a £5 wager with Bobby Smith that it would be the last time he would see me, the 10-bob note or the Football Echo.

Les Miles

I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days transporting Jimmy around the Midlands doing a publicity tour when I worked for (publishers) Hodder and Stoughton some 40 years ago.

We had to enter one store in Nottingham via the rear entrance and when Jimmy walked in everyone applauded him — and that continued the whole time he was walking through the store to where he was to sign his books and then for a good long while after he reached the desk.

I had the good fortune to accompany a few famous people on such occasions, including Joan Collins, Lord Archer and more — but no one received anything like the reception Jimmy received that day. He was a hero to everyone and such a nice, funny, gentle man. I treasure those two days. It was an honour to be in his company.

Colin Davis

Jimmy (left) was football mad from a young age (circa 1949)

Jimmy (left) was football mad from a young age (circa 1949)

In the 1970s I played football for Spurs Ladies and on one occasion we were to play a game against West Ham Ladies in a fundraiser. The best thing about this game was it would be at a nice ground with a guest star referee.

Would you believe it, Jimmy Greaves gave up his Sunday afternoon to referee for us.

We were really excited. However, I must say he was a much better player than a referee — he was too much of a gentleman, he kept giving free kicks for our tackling.

It's one of my favourite memories from playing in the 1970s and I tell people about it even today. The way he gave up his time to help a charity and make 22 girls have a day to remember… and the fact he liked to blow the whistle.

Sue Cattini

My favourite moment to sum up Jimmy Greaves came in the late 1960s when our fierce rivals West Ham came to the Lane with the great Bobby Moore trying to keep Jimmy out of the game.

In a tense match, while waiting for Pat Jennings to hoist a long kick upfield, Bobby stood in his familiar pose — leaning forward, hands on hips — when Jimmy trotted towards him, linked arms and swung Bobby around in a jig. The whole stadium erupted in laughter and the tension went out of the ground.

Michael Ray

As a 17-year-old Tottenham born and bred boy I went on holiday to Minehead Butlin's in 1962 and was gobsmacked to find Jimmy staying in a basic chalet near us with his family. He was very down-to-earth, friendly and approachable. As he strolled around with a toddler in a pushchair, he could have been any other dad and happily stopped for a photo.

Bob Folwell

Mike England (left) and Greaves (R) toast Tottenham¿s 1967 FA Cup final win with a pint of milk

Mike England (left) and Greaves (R) toast Tottenham's 1967 FA Cup final win with a pint of milk

Dave Emerick, who was manager of Brentwood Athletic FC and a lifelong pal of Jimmy, persuaded him to join the club at the end of his career.

We were all amazed when he turned up ready to play. We were all in awe of him. He was so friendly towards everybody and so easy to speak to.

At one particular training session after a defeat at the weekend, we sat in the dressing room and word filtered through that the forwards had been kept out for 'shooting practice'. Would you believe it, Jimmy was included! We were lost for words.

Barry Knight

Back in 1986, I was commercial manager of Bristol Rovers and one of our sponsors was a Spurs fan. He asked me if there was any chance I could get a Tottenham legend to do the honours at an opening launch. I went for the No 1 man, Jimmy Greaves. He immediately agreed to come to Bristol. On the day, Jimmy was lovely and did a fantastic job as an ambassador for football.

Keeping clear of the huge array of alcohol available, he kept his lively, funny and amiable personality going with black coffee as he chatted to a constant stream of admirers. Top man. Top footballer.

Mike Lewis

He was the greatest goalscorer we have ever had and his life after football was an example to anyone who has suffered with depression and alcoholism that you can turn your life around. He would have

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