Jimmy Hill – an all-round footballer

Wednesday 23rd December 2015 05:14 EST

Jimmy Hill who passed away on December 19, aged 87was an all-round footballer having worked as a player, coach, manager, director and chairman and above all a BBC presenter. He was a man of infinite generosity, kindness and courage. In the eighties when Match of the Day returned to BBC screens, the Head of Sport had decided that it was time for a different presenter for the programme, which meant Jimmy Hill would in future be the main pundit, instead of combining the two jobs as he had for over 20 years.

For a time he was on the programme with Terry Venables. They never saw eye to eye. They nearly always had the opposite point of view. Though professionally they were having opposite views, off air they were good friends. Though Jimmy's role was reduced after the induction of younger blood, but when there were major events like World Cups and European Championships, Jimmy would play an important role. His summation of on that night’s Match of the Day of what happened remains a master-class in television journalism.

Of course he wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea to say the least and was much reviled by Scottish football fans, following some supposed slight at the 1982 World Cup. At the 1998 finals in France, Jimmy, was having lunch with his friends when couple of hundred Scots fans passed the window and spotted Jimmy. Within a few minutes Jimmy had beguiled them and ended up having photos taken wearing one of those tam-o’-shanters with the obligatory red hair attached. He was a charmer.

Before his BBC days of course he had been a player, coach and manager, taking Coventry City to three promotions. He was an ardent enthusiast of the all-seater stadium long before Hillsborough concentrated the minds of the authorities.

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