Monday, December 21, 2015

RIP Jimmy Hill

As a young football fan, I grew up with Jimmy Hill and his incredible chin. But he was so much more than just the presenter of Match Of The Day. Here's a few things he'll be remembered for (well, maybe not the first):
  • During the Second World War, he was evacuated to my old school, Chichester High
  • He started his playing career at Brentford FC 1949-52, but made his name at Fulham until retiring in 1961, aged 33
  • In 1957 he became Chairman of the PFA and got the £20 a week maximum wage scrapped
  • In 1961 he became manager of Coventry City and by '67 had guided them from the Third to First Division (and later became their Chairman)
  • His broadcasting career started in 1968, becoming Head of Sport at LWT, covering the 1970 World Cup and introducing the first panel of football pundits
  • He then switched to BBC and presented Match Of The Day from 1973-88
  • He was a real innovator: introducing pre-match entertainment to encourage fans to get to matches early and the first colour match programme as well as commissioning the first all-seater stadium (Coventry's Highfield Road)
  • In a match between Arsenal and Liverpool in 1972, he came to the rescue when the linesman pulled a muscle and was unable to continue. Hill donned a tracksuit and ran the line for the rest of the match.

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