Denis Law Profile

Name Denis Law
Born Feb 24, 1940
Age 81 years
Birthplace Aberdeen, Scotland
Height 5ft 9ins

Currently the highest scoring Scotsman of all time, Law is also held in the highest regard by Manchester United fans despite his time across town with Manchester City.

A Scotsman with the tenacity to match, Law was a legendary centre-forward for both Manchester United and Manchester City after his humble beginnings with Huddersfield.

He enjoyed his prime years at Old Trafford and was part of the famed holy trinity alongside George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton.

Law boasts an impressive trophy haul, including a Ballon D'or, two league titles, an FA Cup and a European Cup.

Early years as a Terrier

Now considered a legend of the game, Law's career began at Huddersfield Town.

After enduring a rough childhood which involved Law not owning a pair of shoes until he was 12, the Scotsman was spotted by a Huddersfield scout aged 14 and invited to go for a trial.

Despite facing criticism for his short and slim stature, Law was signed by the Terriers in 1955, just months before their relegation to Division Two.

In the second tier, Law's chances of playing time increased massively, and he was handed his debut on Christmas Eve, 1956, against Notts County.

To the surprise of many, Law made an immediate impact and nailed down a starting spot. After standing out in the first team, Law attracted the attention of Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby, who offered £10,000 to sign him - a sum that was turned down by Huddersfield.

Bill Shankly was in charge of Huddersfield at the time and upon joining Liverpool as manager, he intended to bring Law with him to Anfield.

Law does move to Manchester - but to City not United

Despite efforts from both Shankly and Busby, it was Manchester City who won the race for Law's signature. The £55,000 fee was a new British transfer record.

After narrowly avoiding relegation the year before, Law played a pivotal part in City's survival in the 1960/61 season.

In the second half of the season, Law showed his ability on the big stage and scored six in an FA Cup game against Luton Town - only for the game to be abandoned and the goals chalked off.

Nevertheless, in a relegation-fighting team, Law stood out as a star performer, earning a move to Italian side Torino in 1962.

Glory years at United

After a sole season in Torino, Law eventually did find himself at Old Trafford in 1962, signing for a side who were still rebuilding under Busby following the Munich Air Disaster.

Despite United suffering from inconsistency, Law was never far from the goals and enjoyed a hugely successful debut season which included an FA Cup final win over Leicester City.

The 1963/64 season saw United fail to pick up any silverware, but it was not the fault of Law who bagged a club record 46 goals.

Law followed up with 28 goals in 1964/65 as United won their first league title since the disaster. The Scotsman also capped off an impressive year by being awarded the Ballon D'or. He remains the only Scottish player to have won the award.

Injuries began to hinder Law from 1965 onwards, particularly to his right knee, but he continued to find the net for United, scoring 23 as they went on to win a further title in 1967.

He was also on the sidelines for Manchester United's European Cup final in 1968, a game they went on to win 4-1 against Benfica.

Scoring to relegate Manchester United

He rejoined City for the 1973/74 season after being handed a free transfer by United boss Tommy Docherty.

And in a cruel twist, the 'Lawman' ended up condemning his former Manchester United team-mates to relegation.

In the final game of the season, the two Manchester rivals met, knowing a City victory would consign the Red Devils to relegation.

After a goalless first half, Law's 81st-minute back-heel broke the deadlock.

Aware that his goal was the final nail in the coffin, Law refused to celebrate. He was substituted shortly after and left the pitch with his head down. The game was subsequently abandoned in the 85th minute due to pitch invasions from United fans. However, the result stood.

As it turns out, results from elsewhere meant the result turned out to be irrelevant. Nevertheless, the goal has taken on an iconic status.

It proved to be Law's final kick in professional soccer. He retired at the end of the seasonmaking 24 appearances and scoring nine times for City.

A royal record for Scotland

As well as boasting incredible records for his club sides, Law was also hugely successful for his native Scotland.

He made his international debut in a British Home Championship match against Wales in 1958, and scored in a 3-0 win.

Despite his league title with United in 1967, he described Scotland's 3-2 win over then-World champions England as even more satisfying.

Towards the twilight of his career, Scotland qualified for the 1974 World Cup and Law was selected despite ongoing injuries.

He featured in the opening match against Zaire, which Scotland won 2-0, but failed to make the side for the following matches against Brazil and Yugoslavia.

Scotland's elimination marked the end of Law's international career. He had scored a record 30 goals from his 55 matches, a mark that was later matched by Kenny Dalglish.

Personal life

Law married childhood sweetheart Diana in 1962 and has five children. One of his daughters, also named Diana, worked in the Manchester United press office for several years.

Following his retirement, Law became a pundit and summariser for television and radio.

He set up the Denis Law Legacy Trust in 2012, an Aberdeen-based charity aimed at promoting sports, arts and culture to young people in deprived areas.

In 2020, Law had a documentary made about him and his career, titled The Lawman.

In 2021, Law was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.

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