England legend Jimmy Greaves has paid a touching tribute to his close friend and Liverpool icon Ian St John by saying he will ‘never forget’ his laugh following his passing at the age of 82.
Scottish forward St John made his name at Liverpool as a player, where he spent 10 years between 1961 and 1971 and won two First Division titles under Bill Shankly as well as scoring a famous winner in the 1965 FA Cup final.
Liverpool announced on Monday that St John had died following illness.
Liverpool legend Ian St John (pictured at Anfield in March 2014) has died at the age of 82
Jimmy Greaves (left, pictured with St John in 2009) paid an emotional tribute to his friend
St John and England icon Greaves forged a popular on-screen partnership in the 80s and 90s
St John made his name as a player at Liverpool, where he won two league titles in 10 years
During his storied career as a player, St John won 26 caps for his country and also represented Motherwell and Coventry City as well as four other clubs.
He also spent a year in charge of Motherwell and a three-year stint as manager at Portsmouth before moving into punditry where he forged a hugely successful partnership with Greaves.
The pair established a close bond on their ‘Saint and Greavsie’ Saturday programme, which was hugely popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
Greaves, who won the World Cup with England in 1966, gave an emotional statement after hearing the news about his former work colleague’s death.
The statement, which was issued by Terry Baker on behalf Greaves, read: ‘I loved my time with the Saint making Saint & Greavsie. After my illness Ian phones several times too see how I was. And now he’s gone.
‘He was a lot of fun to be with and a great footballer. He will be sadly missed. I will never forget his laughter for all the years we worked together.’
Greaves (pictured here with St John) before the 1990 World Cup in Italy, said he ‘loved their time together’ and will ‘never forget his laughter’ after hearing about the news of his death
St John earned iconic status at Liverpool and was hailed for helping make it the club it is today
He scored a famous winner in the 1965 FA Cup final to help the club win it’s first FA Cup title
Liverpool defender Andy Robertson (right, pictured with St John), paid tribute to the legend by sharing this picture on social media as pros and former pros honoured his life
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher was among the first to pay tribute to St John on social media
The football world was in mourning on Tuesday after news about St John’s death broke with former and present professionals taking to social to pay tribute.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher hailed St John for helping to make Liverpool the club it is today.
In a Tweet, Carragher wrote: ‘RIP Ian St John. Another Liverpool Legend sadly passes away.
‘One of the players along with Bill Shankly who made this club what it is today. I’ll remember him most on the best football show on TV, The Saint & Greavsie.’
Fellow Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who is now the manager of Rangers, said he was ‘devastated’ after hearing about St John’s death.
Speaking ahead of their Scottish Premiership clash with Livingston, Gerrard said: ‘Ian St John is an iconic figure at Liverpool. A fantastic and insightful guy.
‘Devastated to hear this news and would like to send my condolences to all of his family.’
Very sad to hear of the passing of a true Liverpool FC great.
Rest in peace, Ian St John -1938-2021
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) March 2, 2021
A part of the fabric of @LFC for so long it’s inconceivable that the club would have been the club it is today without the likes of Ian St John.
For my generation, the face of TV football with Jimmy Greaves, bringing fun, insight and warmth to the screen.
Rest in peace, Saint. pic.twitter.com/Xr99y7nkSd
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) March 2, 2021
Gerrard and Carragher were just two of several ex-Liverpool stars to express their sadness at St John’s passing with Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore also taking to Twitter to honour the club legend’s life.
Owen wrote on Twitter: ‘Very sad to hear of the passing of a true Liverpool FC great. Rest in peace, Ian St John -1938-2021.’
Collymore added: ‘A part of the fabric of Liverpool for so long it’s inconceivable that the club would have been the club it is today without the likes of Ian St John.
‘For my generation, the face of TV football with Jimmy Greaves, bringing fun, insight and warmth to the screen. Rest in peace, Saint.’
Robbie Fowler wrote: ‘Sad news. Thoughts are with the family. Rest in peace, Saint.’
Current Liverpool and Scotland defender Andy Robertson also paid tribute, sharing a picture of him with St John and writing: ‘A man of warmth, humour, knowledge, wisdom and joy.
‘Scotland and Liverpool has lost a true giant. My love goes to his family. Rest in peace Ian St John.’
Hundreds more tributes flooded in for St John from other former pros, commentators, fans, celebrities and those who knew him in life.
St John earned iconic status at Liverpool after scoring 118 goals in 425 appearances following a move from Motherwell, which included the decisive goal in extra time to hand the Reds the club’s first FA Cup title against Leeds at Wembley in 1965.
We walk in their footsteps. Sad news about Ian St John. As a lad I sat and watched his show. Not aware of his playing career, but well aware that his rapport with Jimmy was something special. Love to his family and friends x pic.twitter.com/Z7H8MwqyfO
— Jake Humphrey �� (@mrjakehumphrey) March 2, 2021
Oh no. Not The Saint. An icon of happy football-filled childhood for all those my age. A wise, generous co-commentator & superb company in my early television days. Feel so very honoured to have travelled, worked with, & learned from him �� https://t.co/ezSvQKUupE
— Guy Mowbray (@Guymowbray) March 2, 2021
RIP Ian St John .. Legend ����
— John Hartson (@JohnHartson10) March 2, 2021
But St John is just as famous for his work on television and his show with Greaves, which ran for seven years from 1985 , paved the way and set the standard for light-hearted football programmes.
The final episode of the popular show on ITV was broadcast from Sweden during the 1992 European Championships. They also presented ‘Sport in Question’ but it failed to hit the heights of Saint and Greavsie.
In 2014, St John had his bladder and prostate removed during a battle with cancer after being diagnosed a few years earlier.
A statement from St John’s family read: ‘It is with a heavy heart that we have to inform you that after a long illness we have lost a husband, father and grandfather.
‘He passed away peacefully with his family at his bedside.
‘We would like to thank all the staff at Arrowe Park Hospital for their hard work and dedication during these very difficult times.
‘The family would be grateful for privacy at this extremely sad time.’