John TOSHACK MBE (1949-)

John Toshack
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THIS IS YOUR LIFE - John Toshack, footballer and football manager, was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at London’s Roehampton Club.


John started his footballing career with Cardiff City, signing for them as a 16-year-old. After four years with the Welsh club, he was signed by Bill Shankly for Liverpool in November 1970.


During his time with Liverpool John scored 96 goals, and was part of the team that won the First Division on three occasions, an FA Cup victory and two UEFA Cup titles.


His playing career was blighted by injuries and he was transferred to Swansea City as player-manager in 1978. He was an immediate success, taking them from the Fourth Division all the way to the First Division in four seasons.


“Does this mean we’re not going to get the nine holes of golf in?”

Screenshots of John Toshack This Is Your Life

John Toshack's autobiography

John Toshack recalls his experience of This Is Your Life in his autobiography Tosh...


I was awake early the following morning ready to drive to London for a pro-celebrity golf match with Gareth Edwards, Brian Huggett and Bernard Gallagher. I picked Gareth up at his Porthcawl home shortly after 8am and we set off down the M4 to Roehampton Golf Club. It seemed a funny place to me for a televised golf match, but Gareth had made all the arrangements, and apart from one telephone conversation with Renton Laidlaw, the ITV commentator, I knew very little about what was going on.


We practised on the first nine holes during the morning, and at about 1.30pm we sat down for some lunch. I was naturally full of myself after the previous night's result, and was feeling very relaxed and looking forward to my round of golf. I had played with both Brian and Bernard before, and was not only keen to get out and hit the ball myself but also anxious to see how they themselves would score.


Just as we were about to begin an interview on the first tee with Renton Laidlaw, an avalanche of plastic golf balls came towards us, and they were followed by all the lads from the Vetch. I looked up and saw Phil Boersma and Doug Livermore first, and then suddenly from behind the crowd Eamonn Andrews popped up with that now famous grin on his face to announce: 'You won't be teeing off after all, because today, John Toshack, This is Your Life!'


What a joke! I felt like saying something like 'What kept you, Eamonn, I was beginning to think you would never turn up!' but really it was a complete surprise to me. Every one else knew, of course, and Gareth sat laughing to himself in the corner while everyone made for their cars and drove to the television studios in town. I was concerned about going on the programme in my golfing clothes, but Sue had taken care of everything with her usual attention to detail, and a change of clothing awaited me when I arrived back at Thames Television headquarters. The drive took us about an hour, and I remember asking Eamonn Andrews dozens of questions about the show. It was to start at about 4.15pm and go out at 7pm the same evening, so there was not too much time to hang around.


It was a great day, and marvellous to see so many friends and relatives together under the same roof. Mr Sperry, the man who first started me off in the game at Radnor Road Junior School, and David Gurney, who was my best mate in those days, were both there, and I had not seen either of them for years. Peter King was there, the player I roomed with during my five years at Cardiff City and whom I had not seen since about 1975, and I was also pleased to see John Charles. Gareth, Barry John and Max Boyce represented the rugby code, and all in all everything went very well. I was pleased to see Nessie looking so well and smiling as though she was enjoying herself. It had been five months now since Shanks had died, but she seemed to be coping admirably. Lots of the family had travelled up to be in the audience, and I could not help but be impressed with the way the show was run.


We were all booked into a hotel for the evening afterwards, and cars were ready and waiting to take everyone home the following morning. Sue had really excelled herself on this one! She had known for almost a month beforehand, but never at any time did I have the slightest idea that something was up. She did not even mention it to the children until after I had left in the morning to pick Gareth up.


We returned to Swansea on the Thursday at about 1pm, and to save Sue from cooking dinner we drove straight to the Gower Inn, which is only about two miles from our home. That finished, we went to the house and straight away watched a video of the programme before I drove to the Vetch to catch up on a couple of days’ work.


It was now back to the bread and butter on the Saturday with a trip to Sunderland, and after the events of the week we were all in good spirits. I don’t know which happens more often, being the subject of This Is Your Life, or beating Liverpool! But both had happened to me that week, and now I looked forward to another three points from Alan Durban’s team.


programme details...

  • Edition No: 593
  • Subject No: 590
  • Broadcast date: Wed 17 Feb 1982
  • Broadcast time: 7-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Wed 17 Feb 1982 4.15pm
  • Venue: Royalty Theatre
  • Series: 22
  • Edition: 20
  • Code name: Tall

on the guest list...

  • Renton Laidlaw
  • Bernard Gallacher
  • Brian Huggett
  • Gareth Edwards
  • Swansea City football team
  • Malcolm Struel
  • Sue - wife
  • Cameron – son
  • Sally – daughter
  • Craig – son
  • Phil Boersma
  • Bob Paisley
  • Emlyn Hughes
  • Kevin Keegan
  • George - father
  • Joan - mother
  • Colin - brother
  • Lyn – sister-in-law
  • Hella Heinman
  • John Light
  • Paul Light
  • Phil Ivens
  • Cathy Light
  • John Mahoney
  • Roy Sperry
  • David Gurney
  • Peter King
  • Nicky King
  • Penny King
  • Barry John
  • Max Boyce
  • John Charles
  • Nessie Shankly

external link...

production team...

  • Researchers: Brian Klein, Tom Wettengel
  • Writers: Tom Brennand, Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Paul Stewart Laing, Terry Yarwood
  • Producer: Jack Crawshaw
names listed in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
Series 22 subjects: Bob Champion > Bill Fraser > Wayne Sleep > Ian Botham > Cannon and Ball > Rob Buckman > Angela Rippon > Julia McKenzie > Jackie Milburn > Paul Shane > Peter Adamson > Kiri Te Kanawa > Mickie Most > Anita Harris > Mike Brace > Faith Brown > Robin Bailey > Rod Hull > Bob Monkhouse > John Toshack > Wally Herbert > Joe Gormley > Roger Whittaker > Alan Whicker > Peter Davison > Douglas Bader