Jimmy Greaves: 'People walk around glaring ... It'd be so much nicer if everybody smiled'

The 5-Minute Interview
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The Independent Online

Basically it's a history of the game and how it's changed over the years. It's a phrase used by Danny Blanchflower. He's one of the most knowledgeable and interesting men I ever met and he happens to be a great footballer too. The book spawned from my autobiography - there was so much material left over so I decided to put a book together about football and not the individual.

Who is the greatest player you ever played with?

I find it difficult to name just one. Bobby Moore, Pat Jennings, Stanley Matthews. When you play football at international level there are so many players; no one has that outstanding ability over anyone else. There are always great players. Bobby Moore was a great friend as well.

Who is the greatest player you played against?

George Best was the greatest. I can tell you I have never seen a better player than Bobby Moore or George Best.

How disappointed were you at being left out of the Mexico World Cup squad?

It was the most disappointing moment of my career. I don't really think about it too much.

Tell us more about the time you visited Bobby Moore when he was on house arrest accused of stealing the bracelet.

They weren't letting anyone in so I had to walk over the wall and jump into the courtyard. Then I went into his room. I got arrested and thrown out of the place. I was allowed to come back when Bobby said I was a mate. I never asked him about it [the bracelet] because I never believed he would be involved in doing that. I don't think I know the real truth; I haven't got a clue myself.

Which players would you choose for a team today?

I suppose if I was picking a team two players come to mind: Frank Lampard and John Terry. I'd want them in my side. Wayne Rooney - the sane one. I wouldn't mind [Ruud van] Nistelrooy, the best goalscorer. The Chelsea goalkeeper ... Thierry Henry wouldn't be bad. There I've got the nucleus of a decent side.

What piece of advice would you give to others?

Smile at each other. People walk around London glaring and staring. I'm not sure they mean to be, but it'd just be so much nicer if everybody smiled. It's less complicated. Like that gentleman Wolfgang, who yelled "nonsense" at the Labour Party conference. Wouldn't it have been nicer if people had turned around and smiled? It wouldn't have made much difference, except no one would've come out in a bad light.

What television programmes do you watch?

Lots of light-hearted stuff, detective stuff. Anything from Miss Marple to Agatha Christie's Poirot. Morse, Taggart, Waking the Dead. All of them.

Midsomer Murders - these beautiful little villages and 10 people get murdered. You think "Christ, I don't want to live there!"

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