Former Match of the Day presenter, Jimmy Hill dies at 87

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Jimmy Hill, one of English football’s most influential figures, died on Saturday at the age of 87.

As chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association, he led the campaign for the scrapping of maximum wages for professional footballers.

He played 297 games for Fulham and was later manager and chairman at Coventry.

Hill, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, made more than 600 appearances as presenter of the BBC’s Match of the Day programme.

In a statement, his agent, Jane Morgan, said: “It is with great sadness that his wife Bryony Hill and the children of Jimmy Hill have announced that Jimmy passed away peacefully aged 87 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Bryony was beside him.”

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.”
Jimmy Hill

Jimmy Hill scored 52 goals in 297 appearances for Fulham between 1952 and 1961

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.

“Jimmy was also a dear friend and colleague to many at the BBC and will be greatly missed.”

Some of the other ideas Hill helped make a reality included establishing a player’s right to freedom of movement at the end of his contract and the introduction of three points for a win.

He also commissioned the first English all-seater stadium, lifted a ban on media interviews, introduced the first electronic scoreboard in 1964 and the first colour match-day programme.

The former Brentford and Fulham forward was appointed Coventry manager in November 1961, leading the Sky Blues to the Division Three and Division Two titles.

There is a statue of Hill at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena where he was also chairman – a role he also had at Fulham and Charlton.

He became a broadcaster and head of sport for ITV in 1967, before moving to the BBC six years later where he became presenter of Match of the Day until he handed over the reins to Des Lynam in 1989.

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