THOUSANDS of Coventry City fans, former players and popular faces from the sporting world gathered inside Coventry Cathedral on Friday for what was a special evening to remember the life of Jimmy Hill.
Coventry’s iconic St Michael’s Cathedral hosted a celebration in memory of possibly one of the most iconic figure associated to the city of Coventry.
As well as tremendous turnout by the Sky Blues faithful, the service also proved to be a who’s who of football, with England boss Roy Hodgson, former England striker Gary Lineker and legendary football commentators John Motson and Barry Davies all in attendance.
Organiser Joe Elliott MBE opened the service by looking back on some of Hill’s most memorable highlights during his two spells with the Sky Blues, while Hill’s son, Jamie, gave an emotional speech which gave the audience more of a colourful insight into his father away from football.
The audience were reminded by the chief executive of the FA, Gordon Taylor OBE, that Hill was also a leading figure in football away from the Sky Blues.
Taylor’s moving speech described Hill as football’s ‘Christopher Columbus’ after he helped put the Professional Footballers’ Association on the map as well as pioneering many other ideas which were well before his time.
Former Sky Blues player and manager Bobby Gould told three telling stores about his special relationship with his former boss and he also revealed that he owed everything to Hill for believing him and the likes of George Curtis and John Sillett.
The current chairman of the FA, Greg Dyke read a beautifully written poem and Sky Blues executive vice-chairman, Chris Anderson, expressed his gratitude for all that Hill had done for the club before popular commentator Motson OBE took to the stand.
Motson described his former colleague as an instigator, an innovator and an inspiration before the Very Reverand John Witcombe brought proceeding to a close.
Fittingly the whole Cathedral stood with their sky blue colours high and sung the club’s famous song, which was created by Hill in the 1960s, to bring to an end an unforgettable night for the fans, friends and family.