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Tributes to 'lover of th eamg

Jimmy Hill, football innovator, dies aged 87

jimmy hillJimmy Hill, credited with radical change in football, has died aged 87. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008.

Hill led a number of campaigns and upheavals that had a global impact on the game. He was chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) when it succeeded in 1961 in scrapping the £20 a week players’ maximum salaries.

He led the move towards three points for a win to encourage more attacking play, introduced the first electronic scoreboard and first all-seater stadium at Coventry City. He even revolutionised the match day programme, turning it into a magazine,. He also campaigned for players’ freedom of movement.

Hill played for Brentford and Fulham and was manager and chairman of Coventry City, as well as chairman of Fulham.

He later moved into broadcasting, first as head of sport for ITV from 1967 and six years later as host of the BBC’s Match of the Day and was again instrumental in being the first to bring in “pundits” to discuss games.

Former England striker and current MOTD pundit Alan Shearer said his death was “very sad news”. He wrote on Twitter: “Footballers and football have so much to thank him for. A man who loved the game.”

Lord Hall, the BBC’s director general, said: “For generations of fans Jimmy Hill was an authoritative voice as both a presenter and analyst.

“He was committed to innovation in every aspect of the game, including broadcasting and always believed supporters came first. His influence lives on in the programmes we enjoy today.”

Barbara Slater, BBC Director of Sport added: “Jimmy Hill was an iconic and unique figure and we are all deeply saddened by the news.

“He was one of the great innovators and a huge talent, a man ahead of his time with a personality that dominated his era both in football and broadcasting.”

Hill was the commentator Scottish fans loved to hate, infamously describing as a “toe-poke” Dave Narey’s wonder-strike against Brazil in the 1982 World Cup.

No Scotland match was complete without a fans’ rendition of “We Hate Jimmy Hill, He’s a p…”.

Those who regarded him as a pantomime villain may be reflecting on the rich legacy he leaves.

 

 

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