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Former Coventry manager and Tv pundit Jimmy Hill dies at 87


 
 

The former footballer, manager and Match of the Day presenter passed away following a battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Born in Balham, south London, Hill made his name playing for Fulham during the 1950s before going into football management with Coventry City.

However, most will remember him as a broadcaster with ITV, BBC and Sky Sports.

"Everyone at Sky Sports who knew and worked with Jimmy will be terribly saddened by today's news," said Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis.

"He was hugely popular with our viewers thanks to his incredible insight and knowledge and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts are with his family."

Remembered as a pioneer, Hill played a major part in the scrapping of the maximum wage, during his time as chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association.

This momentous decision, taken by the Football League in 1961, led to his Fulham team-mate Johnny Haynes becoming the first £100-a-week player.

Hill also successfully lobbied for the introduction of the three-points-for-a-win system in 1981 and also fought for the right for clubs to wear sponsors' logos on their shirts.

Following a 12-year playing career, Hill went into management at Highfield Road in November 1961, a position he held for almost six years.

In 1968 he moved into broadcasting where he became a major figure for more than 30 years.

In a statement, his agent, Jane Morgan, said: "It is with great sadness that Bryony Hill and the children of Jimmy Hill have announced that Jimmy passed away peacefully after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Bryony was beside him."

Hill enjoyed another moment of notoriety in September 1972 when, during an Arsenal-Liverpool match at Highbury, he volunteered to become a substitute linesman, after Dennis Drewitt had pulled a muscle.

With the game in danger of being abandoned, and following a stadium announcement asking for a qualified referee to run the line, Hill quickly put on a tracksuit and grabbed the flag.

His former club Fulham, for whom he played between 1952 and 1961, said on Twitter: "Jimmy's contri­butions to the Club, on and off the field, were imme­asu­rable."

Coventry, who held a minute's applause for Hill before their game with Brentford, paid tribute to their former manager and chairman, saying on Twitter: "Thank you for everything Jimmy, without you none of this would have been possible."

Hill transformed the club's fortunes in the 1960s, leading them from the old Third Division to the top flight.

Current boss Tony Mowbray said on the Sky Blues' official website: "Everyone at the club is in a state of shock and deep sadness at hearing the news of Jimmy's death.

"History tells us that without the efforts of Jimmy, both on the pitch and off it, Coventry City's future will have been extremely different from what it is today."

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said on Twitter: "RIP Jimmy Hill. All round football man."

PL

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