Tributes have poured in from Steven Gerrard, Phil Thompson and other stars for Scottish football icon St John, who sadly passed away overnight aged 82.
As well as being one of Liverpool’s all-time great players, winning two titles and scoring the winning goal in the Reds’ first ever FA Cup victory in 1965, the former striker found further fame after hanging up his boots on the tele.
St John enjoyed a successful career as a pundit after retirement, striking up a popular partnership with ex-England striker and old adversary on the pitch, Greaves.
Saint and Greavsie was a trailblazing show that brought a new-found irreverence to an otherwise formal business, as two of the game’s great players chatted every Saturday afternoon like two mates at a pub.
St John also had his own show on talkSPORT on Sundays in the early 2000s, hosting alongside Graham Beecroft, and he returned to the station in February 2020 for a one-off interview about his old mate, Greavsie.
Saint joined Max Rushden to discuss the Jimmy Greaves documentary on BT Sport, and discussed the show, their rivalry on the pitch and friendship off it, as well as their surprise meeting with a future President of the United States.
It was a brilliant interview from one of British football’s great players and personalities, complete with his iconic laugh that just makes you smile and chuckle along with it.
As a tribute to the Liverpool legend, you can listen back to the interview in full above.
Rest in peace, Saint, you’ll be very much missed.
Ian St John on Jimmy Greaves:
“He was top of the tree, Jimmy. He was the number one goalscorer in the country, for club and country, a fantastic goalscorer and of course he had a very sharp wit and entertained people when his job went onto TV.
“Whenever we had to play against him… Bill Shankly would have his team meeting on a Friday morning, we’d go through the various players and they had a terrific team then, Tottenham, they had some wonderful players.
“But whenever we had a team talk before we played Tottenham, we would pick out Greavsie as the danger man, ‘we’ve got to watch him’, because he was such a great goalscorer.
“All he needed was half a sniff and *boom* the ball was in the back of the net. He had terrific skill, he was a great runner with the ball and he knew where to be in the penalty area when the ball dropped. That was the art of a great goalscorer, just to be in the right place at the right time. He was a great player, smashing.
“I played with him in a few charity matches after our careers, and it was great to play with him, because you weren’t so enamoured with him when you had to play against him!”
On Saint and Greavsie and their relationship:
“We loved doing it, there were no rehearsals or anything and it was just a great time for both of us. We really got on well together as pals.
“We hit it off as a working pair, and he was very funny… well I thought he was very funny!
“My part in the duo was to try and keep it to the script! Try and do the football thing in a way that Jimmy could bounce in and out, we’d have fun and laugh and go way off the script. At times Jimmy would wander off script completely, but it was funny! It was my job to keep things running in a straight line, but he was never scripted.
“This was Jimmy Greaves, a man who has scored all these goals and played at the top level, so it was great viewing for the public, and you know he’s funny when the cameramen laugh on the show floor!
“It was great fun to do. It was better than working, I used to say.
“I had so much respect for him having played against him and played him in these transfer games, and for getting over his alcohol problems, that was a big thing.”
Ian St John told talkSPORT he would have loved to play on modern surfaces, having spent his career trudging in mud or skating around on rock-hard pitches[/caption]
On the state of pitches in his era:
“Oh, they were shocking.
“There was no under-soil heating or anything like that, they were either bone-hard and rutted because the groundsman hadn’t managed to get them flat after the previous game with the snow and ice… or you were up to your ankles in mud!
“But you just got on with it!
“I look at pitches today and most old pros will be thinking, ‘that would have been lovely!’
“The only pitch that was great to play on was Wembley because there were no matches on there week in, week out – only international matches at the end of the season and cup finals. So when we walked out for a cup final at Wembley we couldn’t believe it, it was like a bowling green, it was fantastic.
“When we look at the pitches kids play on today in the top level of the Premier League, they’re wonderful and we can only look at them and think ‘I wish!’
“Playing on those pitches at that time, people don’t understand – the ball’s coming to you bumping up on big divots and you’re slipping and sliding, it really was very difficult.
“Believe me, had a player like Jimmy be playing today on these lovely manicured pitches, he would have scored a ton more goals – and that would be some record!”
On the infamous 1992 Rumbelows League Cup draw with Donald Trump:
“That was so funny, because he hadn’t a clue who either of us were, but being the showman he is, to take advantage of a chase to get on there and do a bit for himself on nationwide TV, that was probably all he was interested in.
“And to do that with a guy would go on to be the top man in the world in politics… it was just funny looking back at it.”