Forget 1966. It was 1999 when we really thought it was all over. No not the baby-faced assassin’s jammy Nou Camp winner, worse than that. For ’99 was the year when world football’s most famous chin would cast its last and longest shadow into our living rooms. Yes, Jimmy Hill retired. And those of us left behind would have to look elsewhere for guidance. If you were sports betting at BetUS, you’d have got long and generous odds we’d ever again be treated to the wisdom of the game’s moral compass.
Or so we thought. As the beautiful game lurched from scandal to crisis in his absence, Jimmy could stand for it no more. He would find a way to bring back reason and what’s more, he’d do it without leaving the house. And so Jimmy Hill’s Sunday Supplement was born. With this new lease of life, Jimmy addressed his flock every Sunday morning from the comfort of his kitchen. Not only that, each week he invited three of Fleet Street’s oiliest scribes into his home to be cleansed. And to think some folk looked elsewhere to explain declining church attendance.
It meant however, that Jimmy’s favoured guff technique had to evolve somewhat. In the old days, he’d perfected a flawless good cop, bad cop guff-fest with El Tel. In his new role, you were more likely to encounter the rather scarier prospect of Jim leaving the breakfast table to “pop out and baste my meat.”
But here are some of Jimmy’s choicest cuts:
“England now have three fresh men, with three fresh legs.”
“We’re not used to weather in June in this country.”
“It wasn’t a bad performance, but you can’t tell whether it was good or bad.’
“In the words of the old song, it’s a long time from May to December but, you know, it’s an equally long time from December to May.”
“Beckham has two feet, which a lot of players don’t have nowadays.”
“Even if you tap it in from one yard it counts in the record books as a goal, unlike the chances you miss.”
“If England are going to win this match, they’re going to have to score a goal.”
“It is a cup final and the one who wins it goes through’
“We have one David Beckham playing abroad and if Owen goes, that would be two”