It appeared in The Telegraph today
"The story sounds good but it's just not true".
On tonight's Off The Ball, John Giles was on the show as always on a Thursday and touched on a piece in The Telegraph which included a passing mention of his time managing West Brom as a player-coach when he had future Manchester United legend Bryan Robson in his squad.
The passage reads thus: "Forty years ago, Bryan Robson, West Brom’s greatest homegrown midfielder, made his first start in the top flight for the club aged 19, but only after he steeled himself to confront the player-manager Johnny Giles.
Remarkably the teenager persuaded the formidable Irishman to drop himself for an away game at Birmingham City to make way for Robson. 'I knew I was no match with words,' Robson recalled years later, of that conversation with Giles, a man whose eloquence he was in awe of. 'He had a bit of the Irish blarney, but he was no bulls---ter, that’s for sure.'"
John got Ger Gilroy to read out the passage on air before revealing that the anecdote never actually took place.
"First of all, it's totally untrue. It's not even factually right," John chuckled, before continuing.
"Because when I went to West Brom, Bryan Robson had actually played in the team the year before for Don Howe. So it wasn't his first match. The second thing about that was that I had played three matches in a week - one of them an international match against England at Wembley and we were playing Birmingham City. I had a bit of a hamstring [injury] and I decided not to play in it so Bryan would have played. So I didn't drop myself for Bryan to play and Bryan Robson never confronted me about playing or not playing in the team - ever!"
John added that Robson was a great player for him at West Brom and in his future career.
But he says one part of the story is true.
"He was a young fella. When I first went to West Brom, I had him in the team and he actually didn't play very well and I think I over-awed him, if that was the right word. He was a bit nervous with me. He was only a young fella. That's true. But he wasn't playing well so I left him out."
John explained that he developed into an outstanding player shortly after that.