OzWhite's Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
2018-22 - The El Loco Era: Back Where We Belong
2022-24 - Marsch back to the Championship
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

Giles: Michael John (Johnny)

1963-1975 (Player Details)


Born: Cabra, Dublin: 06-01-1940

Debut v Bury (h): 31-08-1963

5’7” 10st (1973)

#7 in 100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever

Inside Left in Greatest LUFC Team

Giles’ early career spanned Brunswick Street School, St Columbus FC, Dublin and Republic of Ireland Schools, Dublin FC, The Leprechuans, Stella Maris and Home Farm. Giles was spotted in Dublin playing for the famous Nursery Stella Maris Football Club in Drumcondra and he began his English career with Manchester United, joining them in November 1957. He was given an early first-team debut in 1958 after eight of the team died in the Munich air disaster. He was a right winger at Old Trafford and won his first cap at eighteen years three hundred and sixty-one days, the youngest Eire International at the time. 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, and it was Giles' defence-splitting pass which started the move towards the winning goal by David Herd. Shortly after he had won his F.A. Cup winner’s medal, he asked for a transfer and joined the then Second Division Leeds United for £33,000 in August 1963. 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 Liverpool respectively. Once Giles took over Bobby Collins’ role of midfield general, his career took off and Leeds’ glory years began in earnest. 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 each other. 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. It is said that Giles could place the ball on a sixpence from a distance of fifty yards with either foot. He was a master of the passing art and he and Billy Bremner crafted a partnership which became the envy of football. He was the complete midfielder and added to that the ability to score his fair share of goals, particularly from the penalty spot. 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 on the last day; 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's 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 a 2-1 defeat at Wolves. Sunderland and AC Milan beat Leeds in the finals of the F.A. 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 (in age) 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 twenty-nine-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 thirty-four 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 forty-four 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 from West Bromwich Albion, to become their player manager, while still playing for and managing the Irish team. He left Leeds for £48,000 after twelve years, five hundred and twenty-one appearances and one hundred and fourteen goals, a quantity of which came from the penalty spot. Under Giles's leadership Albion were promoted from the Second Division in April 1976, coming seventh in the First Division in1976-77. Giles brought Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis into the first team at a time when black players were only beginning to appear in the English League. He resigned as manager at West Brom on 21st April 1977, the same day as his former team-mate Jack Charlton resigned his managerial post as Middlesbrough, and moved back to Ireland to manage Shamrock Rovers until 1982, winning an F.A of Ireland Cup winners’ medal in 1978. A stint with Philadelphia Fury, where he made twenty-one appearances, in the NASL followed and he was a highly successful coach with Vancouver Whitecaps. He returned to the Hawthorns for a second spell as manager during the 1983-84 season, from February 1984 to October 1985, steering the side to safety. The following season West Brom started well and were as high as fifth at Christmas, but twelfth place eventuated. Following a terrible start to the 1985-86 season he left the job, leaving the reins to Nobby Stiles. Giles also proved to be a successful businessman and then went into journalism. Penning a column for the Daily Express and working for Irish Television. He is Nobby Stiles’ brother-in-law and hence John Stiles is his nephew. Altogether his International career lasted nineteen years partially covering a spell when he managed the Irish team from 1973 to 1980. He gained sixty full caps for the Republic of Ireland. 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 two points short of qualification, though defeating France at home. His two sons Michael and Chris also played for Shamrock Rovers - Michael from 1981 to 1983 and Chris from 1993 to 1995. His father Dicky played for Bohemians in the 1920s.

League 380/385
F.A Cup 6115
League Cup 191
Europe 61/111
Charity Shield 20