Johnny Giles conferred with honorary degree at Trinity
Footballer turned pundit says he is ‘always amazed’ by unexpected affection from people
John Giles on the ball, watched by (back row) David Went, TCD provost Dr Patrick Prendergast, John Laver, (front row) Lelia Doolan, TCD chancellor Mary Robinson and Jane Goodall, after the award of honorary degrees. photograph: alan betson
John Giles, the former soccer player turned television pundit, was among those awarded honorary degrees at Trinity College, Dublin, yesterday.
Others honoured were the ethologist Jane Goodall, best known for her 54-year study of chimpanzees in Tanzania; producer, film-maker and theatre director Lelia Doolan; phonetician John Laver; and the outgoing chairman of The Irish Times, David Went.
Giles described it as “a great honour” for him, his family and the soccer community.
He played for Manchester United and Leeds United as well as playing 59 times for Irelan. He later became a soccer analyst and commentator and in 2011 established the John Giles Foundation which aims to promote soccer as a positive influence in the lives of disadvantaged young people.
He said he had been surprised to receive the honorary degree from Trinity. “You play football and you do your stuff and as far as I’m concerned you’re just doing your job and I’m always amazed with the affection from people because I don’t really expect it,” he said.
Mr Went has been chairman of the Trinity Foundation over the past 11 years and “has given freely of his time,” according to Trinity, who said he also had “ a distinguished career in banking and insurance, including as chief executive of Irish Life & Permanent”.
Yesterday’s ceremony included a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to Nelson Mandela who the university awarded an honorary degree in 2000.