Sunday, 16 November 2008

Jimmy Hill!

A few weeks ago I was watching Soccer Saturday, and they cut from the studio to Craven Cottage, where a statue of Fulham great Johnny Haynes was being unveiled. The irrepressible Chris Kamara was interviewing Jimmy Hill, who in turn gave a moving tribute to his former team mate.

Rather typically, Jimmy was involved in some controversy later that afternoon. Fulham were playing Sunderland that day, and Jimmy was spotted in the crowd by some Sunderland fans who hadn't forgotten Hill's role in Sunderland's relegation some 30 odd years ago.

At the end of the 1976-77 season, Jimmy, then managing director of Coventry City, ensured that their game against Bristol City, kicked off late so that they would know what relegation rivals Sunderland were doing in their game at Everton. When news of Sunderland's defeat filtered through to Highfield Road, Hill relayed the score over the tannoy the players proceeded to pass the ball around for the remainder of the game to achieve the draw that would mean Coventry & Bristol City stayed up.

Football fans have long memories - and on the day of the Haynes statue being unveiled, Hill was given some verbal abuse by Sunderland fans in the crowd. Hill's response in waving & blowing kisses, only served to inflame the situation, and Jimmy was led away from his seat by police for his own safety.

Anyway, the reason I posted this was because it reminded me Jimmy Hill's enormous chin, and the subsequent playground taunt to anyone telling a supposedly tall story. Not sure how it all came about, but the gist of it was that anyone telling an unlikely tale would be greeted with other children stroking their chins in response, saying "Jimmy Hill! Chinny reck-on!" As put-downs go, it was bizarre, but effective. As an example:

Child A: "Did you see that TV programme about Evil Knievel last night?"
Child B: "Yeah, he jumped all those buses on his motorbike"
Child C: "That's nothing - last night I was on my BMX and I went up the kerb and jumped over my Dad's Cortina"
Child A & B (stroking chins) "Yeah right! Chinny Reck-on! Jimmy Hill!"

So, I've decided to start a campaign to bring back this put down into the nation's vocabulary. My ultimate aim is for Jeremy Paxman to use it the next time he interviews Gordon Brown if Brown declares that the economy is in good hands - Brown would be finished. Next time you're in a meeting at work, and someone makes an exaggerated claim, look them firmly in the eye and start stroking your chin....