John Giles tells the tale of the tackle that left him wondering whether he would play football again

Leeds and Ireland chats to Off The Ball about an incident when he was 19

BY Raf Diallo 20:25 Thursday 15 September 2016, 20:25 15 Sep 2016

John Giles at Leeds in 1970 (S&G / S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport)

The severity of tackles allowed during John Giles' time as a player would make one wince if watching today.

And serious injuries were a risk as John detailed with his own personal experience on Off The Ball tonight.

One challenge while he was still at Manchester United could have had a serious and detrimental impact on his career.

"I got a very serious injury when I was only 19 at Birmingham. A lad called Johnny Watts. I'll never forget it. It was a muddy day, ball was played up with my back to goal and he came in [with] a scissor kick and destroyed all the ligaments in my left ankle," John told us.

"This was 1960 and that was very serious. I'd also broken a bone in my leg, which wasn't really serious but I had to have an operation which was very, very unusual operation to put the ligaments together again. That was the difficult part and of course, I didn't know whether I would play football again or not at that time."

John praised the surgeon whose procedure allowed him to return to football and an excellent career.

"It was a very bad tackle. This lad was very well known for known for it as well. And I was only a young fella. It was a bad one," said John, who added that he never heard from the player again, before discussing what the era was like.

"Bad tackles were part of the game. You'd have to commit grevious bodily harm to get a yellow card in those days!"


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