Sunday, 8 November 2015

My Gentleman Jim

My Gentleman Jim is the biography of football's legendary player and commentator, Jimmy Hill.

It is written by his wife, Bryony Hill. And after all, who but a wife can really know their husband, inside out?

He began his football playing career with Brentford and then moved over to Fulham.

His career in football spanned all levels. From a professional footballer he became one of only a few players who went on to become a manager of a football club, then progressing to being a member of the board of directors, a managing director and then, ultimately, chairman.

Bryony reveals how he removed the maximum wage for footballers and was actually the man who brought in the three points for a win rule. He was a highly effective and innovative chairman of the PFA.

Jimmy was also a keen huntsman, a very useful golfer, an amazing and highly dedicated charitable fundraiser and all this is besides his TV football punditry!

He was also wrote footballing songs used by Coventry and Arsenal!

He was also a skilled MC, qualified as a referee, an accomplished musician who performed with Johnny Dankworth as a  favour when the trumpet player fell ill at a gig by the RAF South Cerney Band, of which Johnny Dankworth was the band leader.

The book is an emotion tour through the relationship of a man who lives for football and his devoted wife who pretty much hates football and, by her own admission, probably only spends ten quid a year on her hair.

It looks back through Jimmy's life story, revealing how and where he first learned the craft of being a footballer (88 Boys Brigade, Balham) the first clubs he was associated with (Dulwich Police Team, where he assisted, plus Sutton Home Guard and the Balham League) until he was called up for his National Service with the RASC, after finding himself a job at the London Stock Exchange for a short time before his conscription.The book is profusely illustrated with many photographs from throughout his life from the earliest days right throughout his life.

After he finished his National Service he returned to the London Stock Exchange for a time, signed amateur forms with Reading FC before moving on to Brentford, but this time as a professional.

The book is well-written and it is clear that Bryony has a deep and abiding love for her husband, Jimmy.

Sadly, Jimmy has developed Alzheimer's and unfortunately it was eventually realised that he needed the specialist help that is only available within a care facility, a subject that Bryony carefully and lovingly writes about.

It is published by the Book guild in hardback at £15.99 and is an ideal Christmas present for lovers of biographical books, football fans and those who followed Jimmy's career as a footballer and as an erudite and knowledgeable Television pundit.

It is available through the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop which you will find to the right of this site.

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