6th Dec, 2016

Coventry's Phoenix Way road to be renamed after Sky Blues legend

Steve Carpenter 23rd Sep, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

SKY Blues legend Jimmy Hill will have a road renamed after him in the city following passionate calls from supporters.

The A444, which runs from the Ricoh Arena to City’s old ground Highfield Road, will be called ‘Jimmy Hill Way’ in memory of the former Sky Blues manager and chairman.

Hill masterminded what is now known as the ‘Sky Blue Revolution’ back in the 1960s when he guided the club to the top tier and he also enjoyed a successful spell as chairman too.

Hundreds of fans, former team mates and sporting celebrities remembered his life at a special celebration at Coventry Cathedral last month following his death in December last year.

“We’re really pleased that we are able to honour the man that revolutionised football, both for this city and throughout the sport,” said Coventry Council leader George Duggins.

“He transformed Coventry City Football Club into a major league team and introduced a range of revolutionary changes.”

Hill first took charge of the club back in 1961 and headed the ‘Sky Blues Revolution’, which saw Coventry rise from the third tier of English football to the top in the space of just eight years.

The Sky Blues won both the old Division Three and Division Two before Hill left for a career as a football pundit at the start of the 1967/68 season.

Hill returned first as managing director and then as chairman in 1975 and during his second spell he revolutionising the Sky Blues and football again.

Highfield Road was transformed into England’s first all-seater stadium and he was also responsible for successfully calling for the introduction of three points for a win, rather than two.

The city and the football community mourned Hill’s death back in December last year when he died aged 87 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s and a special celebration of his life was held at Cathedral.

Fans packed into Coventry Cathedral to remember the life of Jimmy Hill earlier this year. (s)

“I’m delighted that the city has decided to honour JH by naming the road after him,” said Coventry City FC Historian, Jim Brown.

“Although he wasn’t a Coventrian the city took him to their heart and this accolade is another legacy to our finest manager.”

During his time away from the Sky Blues, Hill became a prominent TV pundit, most notably for BBC’s Match of the Day where he made over 600 appearances on the show as a pundit and then presenter.

Legendary Match of the Day commentator, and a former BBC colleague, John Motson described Hill as an ‘innovator, an instigator and an inspiration.’

“He was a great man. He lived an amazing life and football is much the better for Jimmy Hill.”

As part of the new rename, the council has also confirmed that maintenance work will take place along ‘Jimmy Hill Way’ and the lower sections of the bridges along it will be painted sky blue as a further tribute.

Councillor Jayne Innes, the council’s cabinet member for city services, added: “It will be a prominent, and fitting tribute to the man that did so much for the game and our city.

“I was delighted that I could share the news with his family and I hope they think it is a fitting tribute. Commemorating him in the right way is important to them, to us and to the city.”

Sky Blues fans wearing Jimmy Hill masks. (s)