It was 50 years ago this weekend that Jimmy Greaves netted his 100th league goal for Tottenham Hotspur, just four years after arriving at the club from AC Milan.
Fittingly, on Sunday September 21 2014, Spurs will play West Bromwich Albion: the very same opponent against whom Greaves sealed his century half a century ago on Saturday 19 September 1964.
He would go on to more than double that tally, ending his stint with the Lilywhites with 220 goals from 321 league appearances, as well as a trophy haul of two FA Cups and the Cup Winners Cup.
While it was undoubtedly a momentous day for the England striker—who four year earlier in 1960 had become the youngest player to ever breach the total of 100 league goals as a 20-year-old goal-scoring prodigy at Chelsea—Tottenham’s victory over West Brom was also an important landmark in the history of Offside Sports Photography.
Not only was legendary sports photographer Gerry Cranham at White Hart Lane to cover the game, but Mark Leech—Offside’s founder and the winner of the Barclays Photographer of the 20 Seasons award in 2012—was in the stands, becoming inspired by football and photography.
It’s strange to think about how such coincidences tie seemingly separate and disparate threads of time and life together. Cranham’s work is one of the most prized collections within Offside’s extensive and eclectic archive of images, but had Leech not been bit by the bug that day, the agency and its repository would never have come into existence.
Fortunately for everyone involved, Greaves was able to fire home his 100th league goal, Leechy became inspired to pick up a camera, and Cranham continued to capture so many important and influential pictures, including his unique and iconic colour images of the 1966 World Cup.
As for the man of the moment 50 years ago, Greaves went on to play for West Ham United and a number of smaller clubs as he wound down his career, to retire with an astonishing 366 goals in 528 league appearances. What Tottenham would do for a prolific player of his calibre today.
Offside is the UK’s leading independent sports photography agency, home to an extensive collection of classic First Division and Premier League pictures as well as other images from across the world of sport. Explore Offside’s unique library at www.welloffside.com.
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