Simon Greenberg: Spurs fan, Arsenal bane and Chelsea's 'man of trust'

Simon Greenberg and his son Sam 

Simon Greenberg and his son Sam - Credit: Family handout

Hampstead Garden Suburb man and award-winning sports journalist Simon Greenberg has died at the age of 52. 

Simon, who was raised by his parents Judy and Benson in the Suburb’s Kingsley Close, started his career at the Hornsey Journal.

He moved to the Mail on Sunday and won accolades for his exposure of the George Graham “bung” scandal, which saw the Arsenal manager lose his job in 1995 and receive a one-year ban from the game.

A Queen's Park resident and lifelong Tottenham Hotspur fan, Simon raised eyebrows when he swapped a successful career as a Fleet Street sports editor to become director of communications and public affairs for Chelsea in 2004.

His timing, however, could not have been better. The combination of club owner Roman Abramovich’s billions and the hiring of Jose Mourinho as manager saw Chelsea secure back-to-back Premier League titles in 2005 and 2006.

Simon Greenberg (centre) with Jose Mourinho (left) and Ashley Cole (right) - pictured in 2006

Simon Greenberg (centre) with Jose Mourinho (left) and Ashley Cole (right) - pictured in 2006 - Credit: PA

Mourinho led a series of tributes following the 52-year-old's death, saying: "Simon was my shadow, my friend and a man of trust." 

The football executive went on to become chief of staff for England’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup, which Russia went on to win amid allegations of corruption.  

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With a wry smile, Simon reassured friends that he had checked the Three Lions had remembered to vote for themselves. 

The journalist's next challenge was to help News Corporation navigate its way through the News of the World phone hacking scandal.  

After two gruelling years in the role, Simon found sanctuary in sport once again. In 2013, he became News Corporation’s global head of rights, in charge of the company’s drive for new sports business. 

Simon Greenberg and his wife Fran, and children Sam, Sukie and Coco

Simon Greenberg and his wife Fran, and children Sam, Sukie and Coco - Credit: Family handout

In the autumn of 2020, he went on to become head of international, business and corporate development at The Athletic. He revelled in the role until illness made it difficult to continue. 

Largely confined to his family home in his final weeks, Simon did manage one final visit to Spurs. 

In June, the club’s Chairman Daniel Levy hosted a private dinner for him, his brother and a few close friends overlooking the pitch at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The lifelong fan taken to the bosom of his boyhood love.  

Simon was born on July 26, 1969. He died after a short illness on August 30. He is survived by his wife Fran; his son Sam; Coco and Sukie, Fran's daughters from a previous marriage; his brother Daniel; and his parents Judy and Benson.

Simon Greenberg (far right) and his parents, Judy and Benson

Simon Greenberg (far right) and his parents, Judy and Benson - Credit: Family handout

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon with Head of Communications Simon Greenberg (right)

Simon Greenberg with former Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon, pictured in 2008 - Credit: PA