Tributes as former Mid Sussex footballer turned TV presenter Jimmy Hill dies at 87

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Former footballer and Match Of The Day presenter Jimmy Hill has died aged 87, his family have confirmed.

Hill, who lived with his wife Bryony in Hurstpierpoint, Mid Sussex, made his name playing for Fulham in the 1950s, enjoyed a second career as a distinguished broadcaster.

He died after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years.

The Hill family said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that Bryony Hill and the children of Jimmy Hill have announced that Jimmy passed away peacefully today aged 87 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Bryony was beside him.”

Stars from the world of football spoke of Hill’s contribution to the game following the announcement of his death.

Current MotD presenter Gary Linker led the tributes.

He wrote on Twitter: “D eeply saddened to hear that Jimmy Hill has left us. A football man through and through who gave the game so much in so many ways #RIPJimmy.”

BBC pundit and former England striker Alan Shearer said: “Very sad news about Jimmy Hill. Footballers and football have so much to thank him for. A man who loved the game.”

Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC, 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.”

Hill will be cremated at a private ceremony.

A service for his friends and colleagues will be held in the new year, Ms Morgan said.

Hill’s influence on the game was measured off the field - and not just for his contribution behind the microphone.

After retiring from playing aged 33, Hill went on to become manager of Coventry City, overseeing their promotion to the old First Division.

He changed the club’s colours to sky blue from blue and white, and introduced the first-ever colour match programme in English football.

It was a club he would later run as managing director.

But he also helped to shape the modern game.

As chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association union in 1961, he helped get rid of the maximum wage, paving the way for the multimillion-pound contracts that dominate the top tiers of English football.

He is also credited with masterminding a new points structure for matches, with three points for a win rather than two.

Hill started his career in broadcasting when he was appointed as head of sport at London Weekend Television in 1967.

He joined the BBC in 1973, presenting Match Of The Day where his distinctive appearance and style of delivery won him a new army of fans. He made more than 600 appearances on the show as both a presenter and analyst.

His long association with the BBC over three decades ended when he joined Sky Sports in 1999 to front programmes including Jimmy Hill’s Sunday Supplement.

Hill received an OBE in 1984, and a CBE in 1995 at Buckingham Palace.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008, but kept the issue private for five years.

Football clubs across the country are expected to mark Hill’s death, with Fulham wearing black arm bands for their game against Bolton.

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