In an international career spanning 20 years, John Giles was one of the greatest ever players to wear a green shirt.
Aged 18 and still finding his feet at Manchester United, he made his debut in 1959 against Sweden at Dalymount Park scoring Ireland's opening goal. He was to go to win 59 caps scoring five goals over the next 20 years, though he never played in a major finals.
After over 100 appearances for Manchester United, he was sold to Leeds. At the time, Leeds were in the second division, but after winning promotion in Giles' first year, the club was to go to become a major force in the European game between 1963 and 1975 with Giles as a driving influence. At Elland Road, Giles won two league titles, two European Fairs Cups, one FA Cup and one Second Division title.
In 1973, he was also made Ireland's first, and only, ever player-manager while three years later he was also appointed player-manager of West Bromwich Albion. He led West Brom to promotion in his first season, though he found it harder to lead Ireland to success as they controversially missed out on World Cup qualification in 1978.
He quit the Ireland job in 1979 for health reasons and after further spells in management with Shamrock Rovers, Philadelphia Furies, Vancouver and West Brom again, he quit management altogether to concentrate on his work as a media pundit.
He was voted the best Irish player in the last 50 years by the FAI. Currently he is a football pundit for RTE and arguably the most highly regarded analyst for the sport in Ireland.
John is an entertaining and extremely personable after dinner speaker.
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