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OTB Archive | John Giles revis...
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OTB Archive | John Giles revisits the glory days of on-pitch 'verbals'

From the OTB Sports archives, here is what the Republic of Ireland and Leeds United legend John Giles had to tell host Joe Molloy when talk turned to 1970s football and the glory days of on-pitch 'verbals' back in 2017. 

Two of the most formidable midfield players of their era, Leeds United's John Giles and Billy Bremner were not always satisfied with letting their football do the talking.

"There were always verbals in my day," explained Giles matter-of-factly of his time as a footballer in England's top flight. "Billy Bremner was brilliant at it.

"When we played against Arsenal once they had a midfield player - he was a little bit of a headbanger - and Bremner would say to me in ear shot of this player, 'This fella is a headbanger, John.'

"I would say back then, 'Did you see what was in the paper this morning? His wife has left him.' That kind of thing, madness really.

"So, yeah, I would play my part, whatever it might be."

League winners in 1968/69 and 1973/74, Giles and Bremner spent 12 seasons together at Leeds United winning more or less everything else there was to be won also.

Playing well over 1,000 games for the club combined, the midfield pairing got plenty of practice at winding any unfortunate opposing players up.

"He was a great character on the pitch," recalled Giles, before directing the conversation toward a game between Leeds and Manchester City.

"I got into a bit of a do with Franny Lee - he could dish it about - and the first player in then was (City's) Mike Summerbee and he could get stuck in as well.

"My reaction was: 'You keep your fucking nose out!' And I hear Billy saying, 'Have you seen the size of his nose, wee man?'

"There was an edge to it, but a bit of humour."

You can watch John Giles recount the glory days of on-pitch verbals below: 

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Billy Bremner Bobby Charlton George Best John Giles Leeds United Manchester United

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