My Mentor: Martin Tyler on Jimmy Hill
'I now coach two of his grandsons. Will my tactics stand scrutiny by the great man?'
Monday 06 March 2006
"Take the job .You never know where it might lead you." That advice ended my far-from-promising stint as a non-League footballer and put me on to the path to 30 years of television commentary on the game that I still love with a passion. It came from Jimmy Hill, and it changed my life.
The job in question was editorial assistant on the football programmes made for ITV by London Weekend Television. Jimmy had been the inspiration there, but he was on the point of leaving to join the BBC. Through a mutual friend and another big influence, the renowned journalist Brian James, I had been helping with the research for some of the many writing commitments Jimmy had at that time alongside his television work.
As my direct mentor it was a short stint, but he'd had a similar effect on those he left behind at ITV back in the Seventies, such as Bob Gardam, a pioneering director of TV football, who took time to listen to my first commentary attempt.
When I first met Jimmy, he had already been a footballer who made the most of his ability, a players' union man who opened the way to the riches on offer today, and a football manager who had revolutionised Coventry City.
Since then, he has spoken up for the game in a crusading way in a variety of roles, from Match of the Day's major analyst to his current show on Sky Sports, Jimmy Hill's Sunday Supplement. He is always opinionated but always informed, and always fair - and even now a source of energy to me and many others.
Oddly, I am rather worried about our next meeting. I now coach two of his grandsons, Danny and Tom, and he wants to come and watch them play in their primary school team, which I manage. We are doing quite well, but are my tactics up to the scrutiny of the truly great Jimmy Hill?
Martin Tyler commentates on Arsenal vs Real Madrid on Wednesday on Sky Sports 1 (kick-off 7.45pm)
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits - see advert: Ashdown Group: .N...
£25 - 30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an exceptional 3D Package Designer / 3...
£Competitive: Guru Careers: We are seeking a strong Middleweight / Senior Inte...