Greenbury was born in Carlisle and educated at Ealing County Grammar School in London. As a young man he claimed to have been, “The most caned boy in school”, an achievement that he suggested had taught him, “The importance of discipline.” Although academically able, at over six foot Greenbury's real enthusiasm lay in playing sport, which he excelled at. He played football for his school's 1st XI, and later at county level, while playing tennis as well. However, after his mother contracted cancer, Greenbury felt obliged to leave school with only six O-levels and abandon sport; opting to start earning at the age of sixteen and missing out on a university education. Just before his seventeenth birthday, Greenbury took a modest job at Lilywhites.
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