Last night marked the end of EURO 2016 but it also marked the end of an era as John Giles made his last appearance as an analyst for RTÉ. Giles has been on our screens for three decades offering his insights into football’s biggest games.
John was a fantastic footballer in his day. He began his senior career with Manchester United before moving to Leeds United where he enjoyed the best days of his career. He then spent two years at West Bromwich Albion before his retirement. Giles also represented the Republic of Ireland from 1959 to 1979 but he has since won the hearts of the nation working on RTÉ.
Giles was brought into RTÉ soccer coverage in 1986 at the behest of fellow analyst Eamon Dunphy. The two men knew each other through their playing days and went on to form a famous trio with Liam Brady commonly referred to as ‘The Three Amigos’. Over his thirty years with RTÉ he covered eight World Cups’ and eight European Championships.
Giles has one of the most recognizable voices in Irish sport and was always the voice of reason during some heated studio debates down through the years. Giles’ honesty is one of his greatest traits and he is not afraid to call it as he sees it. There has and will never be any rubbish associated with John Giles – he is a straight talking man who will never hide his views. He has played with some of the greats of the game and the incredible insights he has offered to viewers over the years are second to none.
Dunphy gave a touching tribute to Giles last night hailing him as “the greatest football man we’ve ever had”.Liam Brady also praised Giles saying “He’s always called it as he sees it, with honesty and with integrity and with no fear.” All three were on the verge of tears last night as was presenter Darragh Maloney as a true great bid farewell. RTÉ pieced together his best moments in a moving tribute to him which can be viewed below:
I was lucky enough to meet him and I can honestly say he is a true gentleman. He was happy to talk about the sport we both love and even offered to take a photography with me. I have grown up watching RTE’s soccer coverage from World Cups, European Championships,the Champions League to Irish qualifiers Giles has been an integral part of how I learned about the game. However he is in no way retiring he will continue to write his column in the Evening Herald and will still be on the airwaves working with Newstalk.
John Giles is a true footballing man whose presence will be missed from our soccer viewing. The Three Amigos may not be broadcast together anymore but as Brady alluded to last night the three men will remain close friends.
I wish John the very best of luck going forward and thank him for his incredible service.