A SECTION of the A444 in Coventry has been re-named The Jimmy Hill Way in honour of the greatest footballing legend to emerge from the city.
Jimmy Hill died in December 2015 aged 87 and has long been celebrated as the man who put the Sky Blues on the map from the 1960s – when as manager the club achieved several promotions to the top flight of English football, and remained there for three decades.
He was later chairman of Coventry City, where through his vision he transformed the whole look and culture of the club, and of football nationally.
The road signs were officially unveiled last week at the stretch of the A444 formerly known as Phoenix Way.
Prior to that, the A444 was planned in the 1990s as the ‘north south road’ which would become a main arterial route in and out of the city connecting the city with north and south Warwickshire, and beyond.
The road is close to the site of the Sky Blues’ former home stadium at Highfield Road – which under Jimmy’s innovation became the first all-seater stadium in the 1980s – and the Ricoh Arena, where Jimmy’s statue stands.
He was also a national figure as host of BBC TV’s Match of the Day, and at the Professional Players Association where he pushed for the abolition of the maximum wage.
A small group of ex-players and members of the club’s Jimmy Hill Legacy Fund board joined Coventry City Council leader George Duggins, deputy leader Abdul Khan and Jayne Innes, cabinet member for city services, at the unveiling ceremony, which was kept a quiet event.
Dietmar Bruck said: “Jimmy was like a Godfather to me, I was signed at 13 years of age, given an apprenticeship and carried on playing for 10 years under Jimmy. I owe him a lot. This is the least we can do for his memory.”
Coun Duggins said: “This is a great way to celebrate the legacy of Jimmy Hill. He transformed Coventry City FC into a top flight team and brought in changes that revolutionised the game.
“We are proud to be renaming this stretch of road, which is one of the major routes into the city and goes past the two homes of the club that was so dear to him.
Coun Khan agreed: “The signs will be seen by thousands of visitors and commuters every day and will keep his memory alive and show how much he meant to the people of our city.”
The club’s Jimmy Hill Legacy Fund is a fundraising initiative set up in his memory to provide opportunities to improve the quality of life of those who need it most.
David Busst, director of Sky Blues in the Community, said “We are proud of what Jimmy Hill has done for the City of Coventry and the Jimmy Hill legacy fund was set up by SBITC to benefit the community.”