||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (May 2009)|
Hill (left) with former Fulham team-mate Maurice Cook
|Full name||James William Thomas Hill|
|Date of birth||22 July 1928|
|Place of birth||Balham, London, England|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
James William Thomas "Jimmy" Hill OBE (born 22 July 1928) is an English association football personality. His career has taken in virtually every role in football, including player, union leader, coach, manager, director, chairman, television executive, presenter, analyst and match official.
Early life 
Hill was born in Balham, London, the son of Alice Beatrice (Wyatt) and William Thomas Hill, a World War I veteran, milkman, and bread delivery worker. He was a pupil at Henry Thornton Grammar School, Clapham (1939–45), and is now President of the Old Boys' Association. He then did national service as a clerk in the Royal Army Service Corps in which he attained the rank of Corporal and was considered a potential candidate for officer training.
Football playing career 
Hill first came into football as a fan, regularly watching football at local club Crystal Palace, but, despite this, he started playing in 1949 with Brentford, before moving to Fulham in March 1952, for whom he played over 300 games. He scored five goals for Fulham in an away match against Doncaster Rovers and was part of the team that gained promotion to the First Division.
In 1957, he became chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and campaigned to have the Football League's £20 maximum wage scrapped, which he achieved in January 1961, when Fulham teammate Johnny Haynes became the first £100 player.
Football management 
In November 1961, after retiring as a player aged 33, Hill became manager of Coventry City. His time at Coventry was marked by great changes to the club, nicknamed "The Sky Blue Revolution". He changed the home kit's colours to sky blue, coining the nickname "The Sky Blues". He also penned the club song "The Sky Blue Song", sung to the tune of the Eton Boating Song. Among his other innovations were the first full-fledged match programme in English football, and organised pre-match entertainment to encourage fans to arrive early. His partnership with the chairman D H Robbins also led to a redevelopment of the stadium, Highfield Road, with two new stands being built.
After winning the Division Three championship in 1963–64, and the Division Two title in 1966–67, Hill quit the club shortly before the start of the 1967–68 season as the club entered the top flight for the first time.
Broadcasting career 
After leaving Coventry in 1967, Hill moved into broadcasting, acting as technical adviser to the BBC's football-based drama series United! before becoming Head of Sport at London Weekend Television from 1968 to 1972. He also fronted their World Cup 1970 coverage which, at his suggestion, used the first panel of football pundits.
He was briefly LWT's Deputy Controller of Programmes, before joining the BBC to present Match of the Day. Hill racked up 600 appearances on the show, and became a television icon, instantly recognisable and often caricatured for his long chin and distinctive beard. As a presenter or analyst, he worked on every major international championship from 1966 to 1998. As a broadcaster with the BBC he was present at the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, whilst covering the game for Match of the Day.
In 1999, Hill moved from the BBC to Sky Sports, where he featured on Jimmy Hill's Sunday Supplement, a weekly discussion show between Hill and three football journalists conducted over a Sunday breakfast. In 2007, he was replaced by his co presenter Brian Woolnough and the programme was renamed Sunday Supplement.
Despite his surprise departure as manager in 1967, Hill returned to Coventry City as managing director in April 1975 before becoming the chairman. As chairman, at a crucial relegation match at home to Bristol City at the end of the 1976–77 season, Hill was advised to delay the kick off by 10 minutes for fans still outside caught in the heavy traffic. Relegation rivals Sunderland, playing at Everton kicked off on time. Sunderland eventually lost the game 2–0. The Sunderland result was flashed up on the scoreboard. Hill was accused by Sunderland fans of making his players pass the ball around in their own half for the last 10 minutes of the game, thereby saving Coventry from relegation at the expense of Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City. Hill was never forgiven by Sunderland fans. In 2008 at a Fulham vs Sunderland game, Sunderland supporters spotted him standing yards away and reacted angrily with boos and abuse. When Hill waved and blew kisses, their anger escalated and he had to be led away by police for fear of starting a riot.
Hill is still considered a legend by Coventry City fans for the various achievements made under his reign as Chairman. When Coventry played their last ever match at Highfield Road in 2005, he received a post-match hero's welcome from the capacity crowd, and led them in a rousing chorus of "The Sky Blue Song". In 2007, fans voted for a bar at the new Ricoh Arena to be named "Jimmy's" in his honour.
Personal life 
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Hill’s now infamous incident involved Sunderland and Coventry in 1977 although the two teams weren’t actually playing each other at the time. Coventry and Bristol City were both submerged within the relegation zone, both one point below fellow strugglers Sunderland and with a significant inferior goal difference. Coventry's final match against was against fellow protagonists Bristol City at Highfield Road and Sunderland were away at Everton. West Midland Police advised CCFC to delay the kick-off at Highfield Road by five minutes as many Bristol City supporters were delayed by traffic, it has always been perceived by Sunderland fans that it was Hill who asked for the delay.
The match against Bristol City was level at 2-2 and, with five minutes to go, word reached Highfield Road that Sunderland were losing at Everton, which they eventually lost 2-0. To much astonishment the scoreline was displayed on the Coventry scoreboards so that both sets of players were aware.
Upon realising they only needed a draw to both stay up the two teams spent 5 minutes kicking back and forward to each other with play virtually stopping thus condemning Sunderland to relegation along with Stoke City and Spurs. Coventry eventually finished 19th and Bristol City 18th.
A subsequent Football League inquiry was held but Hill, who at the time was in a senior position at the Football League, did not stand to one side while the inquiry was held. Coventry were asked not to interfere again but the result stood.
Sculptor Nicholas Dimbleby was commissioned to build a statue of Hill at a cost of £150,000. The statue is located at Coventry's Ricoh Arena ground and was unveiled by Jimmy Hill in person on 28 July 2011. The money to build the statue was raised from public donations. Other former Coventry City legends, who played for the Sky Blues in the 1960s during Hill's 6 year term as manager, were there too for the short unveiling ceremony, including Bobby Gould, John Sillett and George Curtis, all of whom went on to manage the club in the 1980s.
Footballing legacy 
He has a reputation as an all-round innovator in football: as well as helping to get rid of the maximum wage, he commissioned the first all-seater stadium when at Coventry, and has been credited "" with the invention of the 3 points for a win system, which was pioneered by The Football Association in 1981, and was credited "" with the idea of using the first panel of football pundits for the 1970 World Cup.
Public image 
Jimmy Hill has become a cult figure, with many British comedy shows parodying his personality and prominent chin. He was a regular character called 'Knobchops' in the comedy series Stella Street (impersonated by Phil Cornwell). Hill is routinely drawn into panels of various Viz comic strips, typically in locales which the real Hill is unlikely to frequent.
Hill's large chin was referenced by popular British schoolboy slang in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, with the phrases "Jimmy Hill!", "Itch my chin!" and "Chinny reckon!", accompanied by the exaggerated stroking of an imaginary lengthened chin, being used to convey the expression of mocking disbelief.
Jimmy Hill has been immortalised in the Scottish football chant "We hate Jimmy Hill, he's a poof, he's a poof", to the tune of the British Airways "Fly the Flag" ad campaign. He had become unpopular with Scotland fans, better known as the Tartan Army, for describing David Narey's goal against Brazil in the 1982 World Cup as "a toe-poke" during the BBC's live coverage. He did apologise for this on BBC Scotland TV coverage of the World Cup in France 1998.
One of Hill's more light-hearted football moments took place in 1972. Arsenal were hosting Liverpool at Highbury on 16 September, when linesman Dennis Drewitt pulled a muscle and was unable to continue. FA rules state that the match could not be completed without a referee and two linesmen, so the game was in danger of being abandoned. The matchday announcer put a message over the loudspeaker asking if anyone was a qualified referee and would volunteer to run the line. Hill was a qualified referee and had been at Highbury that day as a spectator. He quickly donned a tracksuit before stepping in for the injured Drewitt.
Hill is also well known for his ability to make ‘Colemanballs’ statements such as:
“I would undoubtedly pick him in the next England squad if I was the England manager and he wasn't actually Bermudan.”
“We're not used to weather in June in this country.”
“They're still in the game, and they're trying to get back into it.”
"That's a wise substitution by Terry Venables: three fresh men, three fresh legs."
"If England are going to win this match, they're going to have to score a goal."
As a manager:
- Division Three Championship: 1963-64
- Division Two Championship: 1966-67
- Nick Barratt Published: 12:04 am GMT 10 March 2007 (10 March 2007). "Family detective". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
- Jimmy Hill (3 September 1998). Jimmy Hill Autobiography. Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. ISBN 978-0-340-71248-1.
- Harding, John (2009). Behind The Glory 100 Years Of The PFA. pp. 141–145. ISBN 978-1-85983-682-8.
- LRSEC Staff. "Labrador Rescue South East and Central". lrsec.org.uk. "Patrons: The Lord Swinfen, Mrs. Robin Wise, Allen Parton and Endal (Dog of the Millennium), Jimmy Hill and Bryony Hill."
- Rees, Jasper (30 August 1998). "and into extra time Profile: Jimmy Hill – Opinion". The Independent (London). Retrieved 8 June 2009.
- Daily Mirror
- "Jimmy Hill statue unveiled at Coventry's Ricoh Arena". BBC News (BBC). 28 July 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "TV pundit Jimmy Hill runs the line".
|Regular Host of Match of the Day