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In defense of Keane, Dunphy knocks Giles

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — The controversial Roy Keane autobiography, which was published last week, has sparked an extraordinary row between the book’s author, Eamon Dunphy, and one of Ireland’s most respected soccer pundits, John Giles. In a discussion about the book, Dunphy alleged that Giles deliberately broke the leg of a former Manchester United player in a tackle, a charge that Giles vehemently denied.

Dunphy was answering questions regarding an admission by Keane in his book that he set out to deliberately injure the Manchester City player, Alfie Haaland, and in Keane’s defense he referred to what he believed Giles had done when he was a top-class player. Although Dunphy and Giles are close friends and work together as analysts for Ireland’s national television station, RTE, Dunphy’s allegation will surely sour their relationship.

Asked about the Keane-Haaland incident on radio, Dunphy said: “John Giles broke the leg of a friend of mine called John Fitzpatrick, who was playing for Manchester United. John never played the game again. John Giles was a notorious merchant for going over the top of the ball, something Roy Keane has never done in my experience, except in rage. Now 20 minutes before he [Giles] broke John Fitzpatrick’s leg, he told another player, Nobby Stiles, that he would break his leg if Fitzpatrick didn’t stop irritating him or doing what he was doing.”

In an effort to explain why it was wrong for Keane to be branded a “thug” for his tackle on Haaland, Dunphy continued with the Giles comparison. “A nice word for John Giles would be ‘hypocrite,’ but I don’t think John was a thug, let me make this clear. John is one of my closest friends. He’s a total gentleman. Very decent guy, fantastic knowledge of the game. I didn’t approve of what he did when he was playing, but that’s the way it was at that level of the game.”

As a former Republic of Ireland captain and manager, Giles responded by saying that he had never set out to deliberately injure Fitzpatrick and that the player didn’t suffer a broken leg but, rather, damaged knee ligaments.

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“First of all, you have to get your facts right and I would pleaded guilty to a lot of things I have done in the past, but this is just not true,” he said. “I’m upset about it because I’m ashamed of some of the things I did, but to elaborate or embellish or make things up like that is totally wrong. . . . The words have been insulting, to say the least.”

Meanwhile, Ireland’s soccer manager, Mick McCarthy, whose own World Cup diary is about to be serialized this week, has refused to be drawn by comments in the Keane autobiography. “My book is a separate issue,” he said. “It’s my reflection on the World Cup and that’s for me to do.”

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