Earlier this year - May to be precise - Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson unveiled a homage to three former sons of the club. Set in bronze by Scottish sculptor Phillip Jackson was a statue depicting three Great British legends: World Cup winner and Munich survivor Bobby Charlton; legendary number 7 and naturally gifted George Best; and pacy skilful striker Denis Law. 'The United Trinity' as it was known was set to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Old Trafford firm lifting the European Cup for the first time.
For many Manchester United
fans, Law was the favoured of the trinity. He was signed by the club in
1962 for a then record purchase of £115,000... seems a pittance
compared to the stratospheric fees being bandied about for players
possessing just a modicum of talent, but that's the modern market for
you. Law was a goalscorer, and worth every penny of his six-figure sum.
Everyone knows Cristiano Ronaldo and his well-publicised
goal-scoring haul last season, 42 to be exact, but the Portuguese
winger was still four shy of Denis Law's prolific second term (1964) in
the North West, when he bagged 46. He was 'The Lawman', or simply 'The
King' to the Stretford Enders. European Player of the Year. A domestic
champion the following year. And in 1968 he was part of a side that
became the first English representative to lift the European Cup.
was a feared forward. Known for unforgiving pace (helped by his slight
frame in comparison to the brickhouse British defenders slugging their
way around the backline at the time) with a deft touch and an
effervescent zip in and around the penalty area. Not only good with his
feet he also boasted great strength and skill in the air. A United
legend, of that there is no doubt; but for all the good he did for the
club, he also had a helping hand in their relegation during a barren
decade in the 1970s.
Either side of his 11 years as a Red Devil,
Law spent two spells at local rivals Manchester City. The first arrived
in the 1960-61 season, five years after making his professional debut
for Huddersfield Town. He scored a sound enough one goal for
every two games played before joining Torino briefly, and then United.
He returned to the blue side of Manchester for one further season to end his career in the 1973-74 campaign.
years after winning the European Cup, Manchester United saw themselves
slide down the First Division ladder and, on the last day of the season
- April 27 1974 - local rivals City and United lined up at Old Trafford
and Law's instinctive backheel into United's goal sealed their fate and
relegated them to the Second Division (results later that day would
have seen them doomed anyway). Law though remained gracious in the
aftermath of his goal. Ever the gentleman he refused to celebrate his
actions, knowing that on his last game as a professional he had damned
his former club. He later said:
"I have seldom felt so depressed
in my life as I did that weekend. After 19 years of giving everything I
had to score goals, I had finally scored one which I almost wished I
Manchester derby may not be as nationally/globally anticipated as the
north London derby, but it certainly brings up as many talking points.
The two Manc sides line up this Sunday, and if recent trends are
anything to go by (the fiery battles of the '70s, Law's goal of 1974,
City not beating United once in the '90s, Roy Keane setting out to
deliberately injure Alf Inge Håland,) then rest assured, with City's
mega money and United's misfiring in their past two games, the
impartial observer (and indeed fans of both clubs) may well be in for
further treats by the end of this week.
What are your thoughts on this topic?
Is Denis Law your favourite member of the 'United Trinity?' Will
his record of 46 goals in a season ever be broken by a member of the
current squad? Which club will prevail on Sunday? Goal.com wants to know what YOU think!!!
Alan Dawson, Goal.com
Caveat: Do not read if you are an Arsenal fan...
legend of Denis Law was not restricted to Manchester, or even the
United Kingdom for that matter. The Scottish striker had such an impact
around the continent that two football fanatical parents in the
Netherlands named their son after him. Dutch authorities refused to
recognise the name with only the one 'n' as it was deemed too close to
Denise. So they had to double up. Their blond-haired bambino boy later
went on to play for Arsenal, and was recently named one of the greatest Gunners to have ever played for the club.