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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Watch: Five memorable moments John Giles gave us on RTE

Published 24/03/2016 | 03:00

John Giles
John Giles

Saturday night sing-songs on national TV and starring in advertisements for an international brand are not roles you would normally associate with football punditry.

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But John Giles and Eamon Dunphy are not your typical, conventional analysts. Led by the late Bill O’Herlihy, the duo have been a part of the Irish football public’s lives since before the heady days of Jack Charlton. The arrival of Liam Brady completed the team and Giles often found himself as the buffer between the other pair when conversation turned to a more volatile nature.

Here are five memorable moments that Giles and Co gave us down the years.

Dunphy slams pen down during the World Cup in 1990

Vintage Dunphy and for once, Giles was left a little stuck for words.

Ireland had just drawn 0-0 with Egypt in the World Cup in 1990 and that was enough for Dunphy to reminisce and list off all the great players the country has produced – Giles included, of course.

Dunphy argued that these great men, and the Irish fans, had been let down by Jack Charlton’s approach to the Egypt game.

“I felt embarrassed for soccer, embarrassed for the country, embarrassed for all the good players, for our great tradition in soccer,” raged Dunphy.

An uneasy Giles was slow to agree when invited into the conversation by O’Herlihy before Dunphy had the final say and famously threw his pen down on the table and letting out a trademark scoff.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is a con”

While their opinions have changed somewhat over the years as Cristiano Ronaldo proved that he is in fact a world-class player, there was a time when the former Manchester United man could do little to earn the respect of the RTE panel.

The 2009 Champions League semi final between Manchester United and Arsenal was no different.

“Ronaldo’s performance tonight was a disgrace to football. Petulance, temperament, throwing himself on the ground at least half a dozen times,” raged Dunphy.

“This fella Ronaldo is a con. This was a big match. To go out and behave himself in a big game, in a semi final the way he did tonight – he is a disgrace, he is a disgrace to the game.”

O’Herlihy leaned towards Giles for some balance but it did not come.

“I found his performance last week against Arsenal was disgraceful. He wasn’t far off that again tonight. Waving his arms at his own players, I have seen him do that before.

“His goal scoring has been brilliant but his general play has not been up to scratch at all. If you watch his performance in the Arsenal match, it was awful. He was letting players run.”

O’Herlihy suggested that that’s what the manager wants him to do, but Giles responded: “I don’t care who is allowing him to do that” before adding: ““I don’t care about Ferguson’s attitude, Bill.”  

The time Giles accidentally burned Richie Sadlier

This was both brilliantly awkward and awkwardly brilliant. While Richie Sadlier has the punditry skill to match anyone on the RTE panel, a career-ending injury meant the Millwall striker could never match his colleagues in terms of playing achievements.

This was painfully - and accidentally - acknowledged by Giles when he, Didi Hamann and Sadlier were analysing another Arsenal Champions League collapse.

“I was very lucky, I played in matches like this and so did Didi,” said Giles as he gestured towards his fellow panellists.

“Richie not so big...I don’t mean that disrespectfully Richie,” added Giles as Sadlier soaked it all in with an awkward smile.

When Dunphy and Gilesy got into character

Nobody knew what to expect when the RTE pundits showed up in a Cadbury's ad... but this was still a big surprise. Giles was in great form, caricaturing himself with references to “personal stereos” ruining the game today, while Dunphy was pure Dunphy, baby.

Their acting could probably do with a bit of work but it was good to see the duo have a bit of fun at their own expense. Oh yes sir, I can boogie.

Sing song on the Miriam O’Callaghan Show

It’s not just behind the desk analysing football where the affable John Giles can entertain.

The 75-year-old is well-known to partake in a sing-song and on the eve of the 2008 European Championship final between Germany and Spain, Giles dusted down the mic on the Miriam Show to sing Nat King Cole’s classic The Very Thought of You.

Giles serenaded Miriam with a smooth couple of verses while Dunphy miming every word in the backround has to be seen to be believed.

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