'In many ways Jimmy Hill was football. He was a true great'

Saturday 19 Dec 2015
Jimmy Hill at Highfield Road in 2005

Jimmy Hill was "a true great of the game" and synonymous with football, according to The FA's Chairman Greg Dyke.

Hill – a former Coventry City manager and chairman, Brentford and Fulham player and celebrated broadcaster – died on Saturday at the age of 87 after suffering with Alzheimer's disease.

He is widely celebrated for holding almost every position in the game and was a great reformer – leading the move to abolish the maximum wage while chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association and commissioned the country's first all-seater stadium at Coventry's Highfield Road.

Hill played nearly 300 games for Fulham, presented BBC's Match of the Day on more than 600 occasions and once even deputised as a linesman in a league game.

James William Thomas Hill

Born: Balham, 22 July 1928
Died: 19 December 2015
Playing career: Brentford (1949-52), Fulham (1952–61)
Clubs managed: Coventry City (1961-67)
Other roles: Club chairman, Professional Footballers' Association chairman, broadcaster, match official

Dyke said: “I am very saddened to hear this news and, on behalf The FA, I send my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

“In many ways, Jimmy Hill was football. I first saw him as a player for Fulham although he had played for Brentford before that. What was remarkable about Jimmy was that he went on to have so many different careers. 

"He was a successful player, a great manager at Coventry City and changed the game as Chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association – including the scrapping of the £20 maximum wage.

“He was loved by millions – even among those who didn’t follow football”

Greg Dyke 

“He became a brilliant broadcaster, first at London Weekend Television and then at the BBC and helped transformed the way we covered football. 

"He was a popular presenter, a hugely influential figure and, such was his style, he was loved by millions – even among those who didn’t follow football.

“I knew him at the BBC. He always kept a simple charm and had a warm personality. 

"Those are special qualities and helped him have a broad appeal, but he managed to combine that with a deep knowledge of football. 

"His insightful analysis and strong-minded opinions helped bring the game to life and paved the way for the TV coverage of football that we love today. He was a true great of the game.”

By James Callow Content manager