The further removed we are from Graeme Souness’ first experience of the RTE panel, the greater his astonished reaction to this Wild West of football punditry becomes.
Scarcely a shrinking violet when he turned up alongside Eamon Dunphy, Liam Brady and John Giles over 10 years ago, the venerated “senior panellist” Giles does admit the Liverpool legend was somewhat taken aback by the new-found freedom.
“I think when Graeme worked with us, he was a bit shocked,” Giles admitted in conversation with Off the Ball tonight, as he joined us always on a Thursday.
“He really enjoyed it, and he was saying a lot more than he felt he was entitled to say, and allowed to say on Sky.
“To be quite honest, I think the time he had with us was very, very good for him as a pundit. I think he’s by far and away the best pundit on English television.”
Revealing that Souness had informed the panel he had “learned a lot” from his spell with them, it was down to the relative freedom with which they spoke about football.
Diving deeper into his relationship with the former Liverpool man, Giles recalls a player far less tentative about expressing himself on the pitch.
“I had a few clashes with him on the pitch,” Giles admitted.
“It was mostly when he was at Middlesbrough, I never played against him at Liverpool, but we had a couple of clashes alright.”
By Arthur James O'Dea