Johnny Giles: Wikis


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Johnny Giles
Personal information
Full name Michael John Giles
Date of birth 6 November 1940 (1940-11-06) (age 69)
Place of birth Cabra, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
000?–? Stella Maris
000?–1956 Home Farm
1956–1957 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1957–1963 Manchester United 93 (10)
1963–1975 Leeds United 383 (87)
1975–1977 West Bromwich Albion 75 (3)
1978 Philadelphia Fury 21 (0)
1977–1983 Shamrock Rovers ? (?)
National team
1959–1979 Republic of Ireland 59 (5)
Teams managed
1973–1980 Republic of Ireland
1975–1977 West Bromwich Albion (player-manager)
1977–1983 Shamrock Rovers
1981–1983 Vancouver Whitecaps
1984–1985 West Bromwich Albion
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Michael John "Johnny" Giles (born 6 November 1940 in Dublin, Republic of Ireland) is an Irish former association football midfielder who played for Leeds United in the 1960s and 1970s, and is now known as a football pundit.

After winning an FA Cup winners medal with Manchester United, Giles moved to Leeds United. He played in midfield alongside skipper Billy Bremner and went on to form a central midfield partnership which was one of the best in English club football and yielded several trophies in the most successful era of Leeds United's history.


Playing career

Giles was spotted in Dublin playing for Stella Maris Football Club, and later Home Farm, before he began his English career with Leeds's rivals Manchester United, joining for a £10 signing-on fee in 1956. He was given an early first-team debut in 1959 after eight of the team died in the Munich air disaster a year earlier. He was in the Republic of Ireland team before his 19th birthday.

Giles was a regular first team player over the next four years, playing alongside Bobby Charlton and Denis Law. Manchester United won the FA Cup in 1963, where Giles played the defence-splitting pass which started the move towards a winning goal by David Herd. He asked for a transfer shortly after that and joined Leeds for £33,000. He soon showed his worth, as Leeds won the Second Division title in his first season. In 1965 he was in the team which came close to a League championship and FA Cup "double" but which missed out on both, to Manchester United and to Liverpool respectively.

Giles formed a glittering partnership with Billy Bremner as Leeds manager Don Revie built a new team around them. The players had similarities in their styles and were a tremendous foil for one another. Giles was known as the creative force and Bremner as the ballwinner, but each was capable of doing the other's prime job. Despite his craft, Giles was later pinned down as one of the tougher and dirtier players in what was an often uncompromising Leeds side.

In the 1967–1968 season Leeds won both the League Cup and the Fairs Cup. That was the first season in which Giles was affected by injury. In 1970 Giles again had a magnificent season as Leeds chased three trophies but lost all three, the League went to Everton; the FA Cup to Chelsea after a replay; and the European Cup campaign ended at the hands of Celtic in the semi-finals.

In the fifth round of the 1971 FA Cup when Leeds were unexpectedly beaten 3-2 by Colchester United, Giles scored Leeds' second goal as they almost came back from 3-0 down. Leeds regained the Fairs Cup but lost the League title on the last day, with Arsenal getting the victory they needed to earn the championship and form one half of a successful "double" bid.

Leeds won their first FA Cup and Giles his second when they defeated Arsenal 1-0 at Wembley in 1972, yet again they missed out on the League on the final day of the season after defeat to Wolves. Sunderland and A.C. Milan beat Leeds in the finals of the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1973, rendering Leeds trophyless again. Jack Charlton's retirement in 1973 also left Giles as the most senior member of the squad. In the same year he started to combine his Leeds duties with a spell as player-manager of his country.

In 1974, a 29-match unbeaten run at the start of the season helped Leeds coast to their second title, but then controversy reigned around Giles after Revie quit to take over the England team.

Revie recommended to the Leeds board of directors that Giles, nearly 34 and approaching the end of his playing career, should be his successor. The board instead appointed Brian Clough, a brilliant manager but a controversial choice as he had been publicly critical of Leeds in the past and was not an admirer of Revie.

Clough and the players never got on — the players had wanted Giles too — and the board realised their error, dismissing Clough with a big pay-off after just 44 days in charge. Giles still didn't get the job though (that went to Jimmy Armfield) and concentrated on playing as Leeds chased a place in their first European Cup final.

Giles was outstanding in Leeds' European campaign but was no longer an automatic fixture in the side. After appearing in the 1975 final, which Leeds lost 2-0 to Bayern Munich, Giles accepted an offer in June 1975 from West Bromwich Albion to become their player manager, while still playing for and managing the Irish team. He left Leeds after 12 years, 521 appearances and 114 goals.

Player Manager

Under Giles' leadership Albion were promoted from Second Division in April 1976, and finished 7th in the First Division in 1976-77. He resigned as manager at West Brom on 21 April 1977, the very same day as his former team-mate Jack Charlton resigned his managerial post at Middlesbrough, and moved back to Ireland to manage Shamrock Rovers until 1982.

He returned to the Hawthorns for a second spell as manager during the 1983-84 season, steering the side to safety. The following season saw West Brom start well and were as high as 5th at Christmas, but finished 12th. Following a terrible start to the 1985-86 season he resigned, leaving the reins to Nobby Stiles.

Republic of Ireland Manager

As player manager of the Republic of Ireland for much of the 1970s, Giles oversaw a revival in the fortunes of the national side which had struggled for the previous decade. The 1976 European Championship qualifiers saw the international debut of Liam Brady and a more respectable showing. In the 1978 World Cup qualifiers, the side finished only 2 points short of qualification, though defeating France at home.

Shamrock Rovers

During his five and a half year spell in charge at Glenmalure Park Rovers won the FAI Cup in 1978, he scored 2 goals in 4 appearances in the European Cup Winners Cup[1] and captained Ireland nine times, scoring once. He resigned at Milltown on 3 February 1983, after having left his Ireland job in March 1980, and ventured across the Atlantic for spells in charge of clubs in Canada and the USA. In 1981, he was hired to coach the Vancouver Whitecaps of the NASL. He held that position for three season, being named the 1982 NASL Coach of the Year.

Life Outside Football

Giles later returned to Ireland and settled into a much admired career in journalism and punditry on RTÉ's Premier Soccer Saturday and its international and European soccer coverage, particularly their coverage of the Ireland internationals. Giles is currently the leading soccer analyst on the Irish radio station Newstalk 106. He is well known for his opinions on the modern football scene.


His two sons, Michael and Chris, also played for Shamrock Rovers; Michael from 1981 to 1983 and Chris from 1993 to 1995. Johnny Giles' own father, Christy Giles, played for Bohemians in the 1920s.


In 1998 the Football League, as part of its centenary season celebrations, included Giles on its list of 100 League Legends.

In 2006 Giles had a plaque erected in his honour at his birthplace at Ormond Square in Dublin.[2]

He was chosen as the best player from the Republic of Ireland of the last 50 years by the Football Association of Ireland in the UEFA Jubilee Awards in November 2003.[3]

Career Statistics


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1959-60 Manchester United First Division 10 2
1960-61 23 2
1961-62 30 2
1962-63 30 4
1963-64 Leeds United Second Division 40 7
1964-65 First Division 39 7
1965-66 40 5
1966-67 29 12
1967-68 20 7
1968-69 32 8
1969-70 32 13
1970-71 34 13
1971-72 38 6
1972-73 33 6
1973-74 17 2
1974-75 29 1
1975-76 West Bromwich Albion Second Division 38 2
1976-77 First Division 37 1
USA League Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup League Cup North America Total
1978 Philadelphia Fury North American Soccer League 20 0
Total England 551 100
USA 20 0
Career Total 571 100


External links



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