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Book Review: My Gentleman Jim

Thursday 4th August 2016
Jimmy Hill was one of the most well-known British sports personalities of the last century. His achievements in football will be remembered for a long time, as will his infectious personality. My Gentleman Jim is a book about Jimmy's life, written by the person that knew him best, his wife Bryony Hill.

Title : My Gentleman Jim

Author : Bryony Hill

Publisher : Book Guild Publishing Ltd

Publication Date : 28/10/2015

Price: £15.99 , available from all good book shops and online at Amazon, a kindle edition is also available.

My Gentleman Jim instantly draws readers in: from the cover, which depicts Jimmy Hill in his later years with a beaming smile on his face, to the synopsis, which explains the impact Jimmy had on football, and lastly, the knowledge that this story is being told by Jimmy's wife, Bryony Hill.

If you're a big fan of Jimmy Hill then this book is definitely a must-read, or if you're interested in football then this book offers unique insight into Jimmy's time in the game, but if that doesn't appeal to you, this book also tells a love story between a man and his wife. My Gentleman Jim is a book that offers something for everyone.

Jimmy Hill sadly passed away on 19 December 2015, less than two months after this book was published. He lived to the age of 87. We will remember Jimmy fondly for years to come, for his achievements in football, and also for his exemplary character.

Jimmy Hill fact file written by the man himself

  • Promoted as a player with Brentford and Fulham.

  • Scorer of five goals in one match

  • Removed maximum wage

  • Manager of Coventry City and took them up two divisions in five years

  • Involved in first all-seater stadium at Coventry

  • Introduced three points for a win to the world

  • Five children, Dunc, Alison, Graham, Joanna, Jamie

  • First professional player to front a TV programme as a critic

  • Founder member of SPARKS charity

  • Wrote and promoted 1st ever club song (Coventry)

  • Only ex-professional player to be a manager, director, managing director, and chairman

Jimmy Hill led a fascinating life, he was involved in many things, but he will be best remembered for his outstanding contribution to football. My Gentleman Jim explores all corners of Jimmy's life; beginning with his playing days in the early 1950s, it then goes on to recount the important role he played in developing the game (player, manager, director, chairman, and law-changer), and ends with Jimmy's battle with Alzheimer's disease. The book is split up into four parts: the seventies, the eighties, the nineties, a new millennium. Which makes it easy to get to grips with and understand.

Throughout the book, we are introduced to famous faces who knew Jimmy. The foreword is written by former England manager Roy Hodgson. Other Contributors include, 1966 World Cup winner George Cohen, former TV presenter Des Lynam, comedian Frank Skinner, and former England manager Terry Venables. The book also contains pictures of Jimmy - from a young boy to his last public appearance in 2011.
Bryony Hill is an accomplished writer, she has had several books previously published, and that is evident when reading My Gentleman Jim. The book is perfectly paced, properly structured, and well written. All of the main events in Jimmy's life since he met Bryony are included in this memoir, which makes it a fascinating read.

This book delves into different areas, including Jimmy's long-term battle with Alzheimer's disease. Bryony looked after her husband at home before he went to live in a care home, she tells the story with honesty as to what it was like to witness the man she loved disappear in front of her eyes, and she even includes her own list of how to best take care of people who suffer from Alzheimer's.

This book has many facets; Whilst it centres around football, it also contains the story of a remarkable man, a man who achieved great things during his life; including his instrumental role in football and the changes he helped make to the laws of the game. It also explains the numerous charities that Jimmy was involved with. The story is told with love and humour in equal measure, but it also touches on sensitive subjects, and all of this combined together has helped produce a wonderful book.

I would highly recommend this book for everyone to read. It's well written, it consists of various topics, and it gives a unique insight into the life of a great footballing man. Jimmy Hill is sadly no longer with us, but he's left behind memories that will never be forgotten. During his life, he played a huge role in helping football develop to its full potential. My Gentleman Jim is a fitting tribute, it captures Jimmy's unique personality, and ensures that the legacy of Jimmy Hill remains immortal.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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