Jimmy Hill, 85 battling with Alzheimer’s

FOR millions of fans he was Mr Football, a successful player who went on to become the face – and chin – of Match of the Day.
Jimmy Hill first appeared on Match of the Day in 1973. Picture: PAJimmy Hill first appeared on Match of the Day in 1973. Picture: PA
Jimmy Hill first appeared on Match of the Day in 1973. Picture: PA

But the family of Jimmy Hill yesterday revealed the former sports presenter, known for his outspoken views as a pundit, has Alzheimer’s disease and is now in a nursing home on the south coast of England.

The news of the former player and pundit’s health problems were revealed by his son and daughter, who are in dispute with their 85-year-old father’s third wife.

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They said they wished to highlight difficulties which arise when a parent with a large extended family becomes too ill to make decisions for themselves.

Although the news of Hill’s condition has only just been reveleaed, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease back in 2008.

His youngest son, Jamie Hill, 46, said: “He is the most sprightly physical specimen in the home, but his mind is not what it was. The home is the best place for him.”

Hill, who appeared on Match of the Day from 1973 to 1998, gave joint powers of attorney to his current wife, Bryony Hill, 62, and a solicitor in 2005, when he was still in good health.

However, his five children from his two previous marriages only learned about the document in 2008.

Jamie and his sister Joanna, 50, Hill’s children from his second marriage, are now urging elderly parents to include their children in difficult discussions about who has powers of attorney.

Yesterday, Joanna Hill said: “It is a shame that we as his children have no rights over his treatment and care. Children whose parents have married more than once should be made aware that they will be unable to influence their affairs if they register a power of attorney.

“Children should talk to their parents before deterioration sets in, about how they want to be looked after and who they want to be in charge of their lives.”

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Jamie, a property consultant and fitness coach, added: “This will become a more common problem over the years because there are so many families in the same position as ours.”

Bryony Hill was 25 when she was hired as the former TV presenter’s personal assistant. She has declined to comment on the family dispute.

Hill played for two clubs in his professional career, Brentford and Fulham, where he once scored five goals in one match.

He was also successful off the pitch as chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association, where he managed to have the maximum wage scrapped, paving the way for the multi-million pound salaries of today.

He pioneered all-seater stadiums and was instrumental in introducing the “three points for a win” rule in 1981.

In his autobiography, he admitted that his private life had been less successful as he left his first wife, Gloria, for his second, wife, Heather, when his eldest son, Duncan, was only seven.