RTE Television


John Giles wants to tell his life story, in his own words. Sticking with the habit of a lifetime, he's going to say it as he sees it.
This is the tale of a young Dublin boy raised in the inner city markets area, a gifted teenager who signed for the Busby Babes two years before the Munich Air disaster, who grew into one of the most revered names in English soccer with an all conquering Leeds United team. It is the story of a father figure of Irish soccer who went on to manage for club and country and who with Eamonn Dunphy became one of the most memorable double acts in the history of Irish television.
This documentary looks at key moments and memories in John's life. In Ireland, locations will include his childhood home in Ormond Square in Dublin's market areas, the famed Dalymount Park and the Wexford beaches where John and his family spent their holidays. In the UK, John visits the iconic Old Trafford, as well as making a trip to a crucial Leeds United game at Elland Road.

GILES will observe 60 years of change for the fans, players and managers who make up the world of football. The programme will recall an era where John - a gifted footballing talent - lived in cold, attic digs and worked during the week as a factory apprentice, before playing a club game for Manchester United on the Saturday afternoon. He will remember ferrying overnight to Dublin and walking with his boots in a brown paper bag to play in his international debut for Ireland. It's all a far cry and a poignant contrast from the multi-millionaire teenage superstars of the modern era.

For the sports lover, there will be evocative archive of champagne moments on the field but the documentary offers much more than football highlights to the RT audience.

GILES is a social history of the working class cities in which John was reared and lived. It is a memoir of an Irish emigrant in England. It is a warts-and-all account of dressing rooms, players and managers that have entered the pantheon of the all time greats. It is the story of a wife and family that have loyally followed John around the world throughout his nomadic career. And it is a case study of the football industry over half a century of change.

GILES is produced by Loosehorse, the winners of four Sports IFTAs and the programme makers behind previous titles like All Ireland Day, The Rod Squad, Naked Election and Guess Who's Dead.