As consistent as Greaves was in front of goal, the defence behind him struggled to keep opponents at bay, ruining any chance we had of lifting silverware. In his autobiography Greaves singles out a meek FA Cup exit at home to Fourth Division Crewe in January 1961 as particularly jarring, helping intensify his desire to move away from SW6.
Mears was happy to cash in on his prize asset but unwilling to sell to a rival First Division club. An offer from the feted AC Milan seemed perfect, then, and while Greaves, by his own admission initially interested in a move to Italy, then changed his mind, it was too late. The contract had been signed. Milan paid £80,000 for his services, with Greaves receiving a signing-on fee of £15,000.
Our final match of that campaign was at home to Forest and to acknowledge the legendary contribution he made during his time in west London and before his move to Milan, Greaves was appointed captain for the day (pictured top). Inevitably he celebrated the occasion in style, fittingly netting all our goals in a dramatic 4-3 victory at the Bridge. That was his 13th Chelsea hat-trick – and his sixth of that season alone.