John Giles: Fans memories of 'The General' - a Leeds United midfield maestro

John Giles in action for Leeds United. PIC: Varley Picture AgencyJohn Giles in action for Leeds United. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
John Giles in action for Leeds United. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
He was the midfield genius renowned for his inch perfect passing.

It is said John Giles could place the ball on a sixpence from a distance of fifty yards with either foot. He made made an immediate impact when he signed for the Whites from Manchester United in August 1963 helping them win promotion to Division One after a seven year hiatus.

Read More
Billy Bremner - 12 memories of a Leeds United icon

And he would go on to form a formidable midfield partnership with Billy Bremner during the club's most successful period in its history in the 1960s and 1970s. He made more than 500 appearances for the Whites scoring 114 goals and was voted seventh in the official list of the club's 100 greatest players.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Don Revie recommended to the club's board of directors that Giles, at the time nearly 34 and approaching the end of his playing career, should be his successor. The board instead appointed Brian Clough. Giles went on to manage West Brom and the Republic of Ireland, for whom he was capped 59 times scoring five goals.

Your YEP has been asking the Elland Road faithful to share memories of Leeds United's number 10. Here is what they had to say about the player nicknamed 'The General':

Peter Collins - Giles was one of those rare breeds of player who had both sublime skill and granite toughness. He could spray a pass 30 yards across the field and land it on a matchstick. Don Revie recommended him to the board as his successor, and had they taken that advice, I believe we would have been more successful, as he did a great job as manager of West Brom and the Republic of Ireland.

Graham Turvill - Without doubt one of our most inspirational players. Watch those old games back, assists and goals, great tackles. This man could still hold a place in modern football.

Mark Aston - My favourite Leeds player. Pure class.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Neil Abbott - One of the best passers of a football I've ever seen. Like all world class players always in space.

Mark Sweeney - General Giles. What a legend.

Don Fletcher - Without doubt, Johnny Giles was THE best midfielder of his time, a genius.

Graham Caney - Leeds United made the biggest mistake in their history not making him manager instead of Clough. I'm convinced we would have had a different history.

Jim Ward - A 'Total Footballer'

Ronnie Hodgkiss - Absolute perfect midfield general. Could put a ball on a six pence piece.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Peter Young - He and Bremner were the Xavi and Iniesta of their day - an almost telepathic relationship, with both being able to anticipate movement and 'see' passes before the space was created, effortlessly switching the point of attack. The best we've ever had or are ever likely to have. A world class pairing.

John Cook - Part of a brilliant team and a brilliant manager. Super Leeds.


A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. These are challenging times but the team at the Yorkshire Evening Post need your support more than ever in the weeks ahead.

While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you. In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you - wherever possible and providing it is safe for you to do so - to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Inevitably falling advertising revenues will start to have an impact on local newspapers and the way we continue to work during this period of uncertainty. So the support of our readers has never been more important as we try to make sure that we keep you connected with the city you live in during this time. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. We need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Our team of trusted reporters are working incredibly hard behind the scenes - from kitchen tables and spare bedrooms - to look at how we can do this and your continued support to the YEP will help to protect its viability in the days and weeks ahead.

For more details on our subscription offers please visit:, email: [email protected] or call us on 0330 4033004.

Thank you

Laura Collins