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 Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Mon 24 Feb 16:26

Denis Law is 80 today. Maybe sammer could give us a critique of the great man's career.
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Mon 24 Feb 17:57


The Law Won

Nobody is really sure what the term ‘World Class’ means when describing a footballer, yet funnily enough we can all tell one when we see one. In Scotland there have been three in my lifetime- Denis Law, Jim Baxter and Kenny Dalglish- and for me Law stands above them all. You’ll see a few clips of Denis: a flash of flaxen hair; an amazing leap; a jack-knife header; a pounce on the slightest goalkeeping fumble; or his trademark scissors-kick finish, followed by a Roman salute. As Denis himself said about a football crowd, ‘Well you know, you have to give them some fanny.’

I’m not completely sure what he meant but I think he gave us that in spades. Even Denis taking a throw-in could appear exciting for his body crackled with electricity whenever he moved. But there was a great deal more to his game than showman panache. If Denis had been a duffer in front of goal he would still have played for Scotland. His tackling was hard and he covered every blade of grass, making Billy Bremner look pedestrian. Under pressure in midfield he could produce a measured pass into space then race for the return ball and twist away from the next tackle. His natural hunger and refusal to be intimidated meant Law would have forced his way into any team. Addio Mazzola, auf wiedersehen Hoeness, vaarwell Neeskens.

Twice he scored four goals in a game for Scotland and after we won 6-2 at the Bernabeu in 1963 the Spaniards said he was now better than di Stefano. Law’s bravura performance came in 1967 when we beat England 3-2 at Wembley and he scored one goal, was unlucky not to score three, played half the game in midfield, won a few challenges at full back, yet prowled the English penalty area like a puma. 46 goals in a season: Man Utd record. 30 international goals: Scottish record. He was world class.



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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Mon 24 Feb 18:09

Thanks, sammer. That's a fitting tribute. I remember having a football book showing a photo of Denis as a wee boy with NHS specs so we had something in common!
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: neils  
Date:   Mon 24 Feb 18:27

Splendid!
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: onandupthepars  
Date:   Mon 24 Feb 19:37

Excellent Sammer.
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: Buspasspar  
Date:   Mon 24 Feb 19:56

Great post Sammer my favourite pic of Dennis the Menace was him going for a header and he was horizontal 5 feet in the air I will try and find it
World class indeed
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: veteraneastender  
Date:   Mon 24 Feb 20:37

The Lawman had a colourful time in Italy - he was so focused at getting out when the opportunity arose that he left all his clothes etc. behind in a rush to depart the country.
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: Buspasspar  
Date:   Mon 24 Feb 20:55

Post deleted due to inability to attach a Pic ...again ach weel :-)



Post Edited (Mon 24 Feb 20:58)
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: sammer  
Date:   Mon 24 Feb 21:01

I think what comes across about Denis Law is that he was not just liked: he was actually loved, rather like Baxter. Every Scot could identify with him.

Denis was a great believer in playing for his country and for him that was the ultimate in football. Beyond laying for Manchester United in a European semi. We beat England four times when Denis played so he probably knows what he is talking about.
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: GG Riva  
Date:   Tue 25 Feb 07:33

Quality stuff from Sammer, as always.

I've got Law's autobiography, The King, which I'm looking forward to reading soon. As Sammer notes, he was well loved by Scottish kids growing up in the 60s, a true life, Roy of the Rovers, never-say-die striker. My favourite story of him is how he wanted to throttle Frank Haffey, the Scotland goalkeeper in that notorious 9-3 defeat at Wembley. Denis was so upset at the result and performance and there was Haffey, singing in the bath after the game. The other Scotland players had to intervene to protect the Celtic goalie, who not surprisingly never played for Scotland again and wisely emigrated to Australia afterwards.

Denis could look after himself, too and was not averse to keeping burly defenders, intent on slowing him down, at bay with a sharp elbow or two. "I liked to get my retaliation in first", he once admitted on "Parkinson." He also waxed lyrical about his team mate at Old Trafford, George Best. Matt Busby occasionally used to humour Best by allowing him to go in goal during bounce games in training sessions. Law said he and Bobby Charlton used to zip shots in from every angle but George would fly around his goal and tip them round the posts or over the bar like a demented acrobat and they just couldn't beat him.

Pity Best wasn't Scottish. He could have played in goal at Wembley in 1963....



Not your average Sunday League player.
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: Hay Fever  
Date:   Tue 25 Feb 10:15

Remember seeing him play in a Rangers/Celtic select friendly at East End, Cant remember when, for who or why but it was definitely the Law man



Post Edited (Tue 25 Feb 10:15)
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: GG Riva  
Date:   Tue 25 Feb 10:29

Quote:

Hay Fever, Tue 25 Feb 10:15

Remember seeing him play in a Rangers/Celtic select friendly at East End, Cant remember when, for who or why but it was definitely the Law man


It was a testimonial match for the late John Lunn in the early 70s. The game finished 3-3, Law scored a penalty and I think he (uniquely?) played a half for each side.



Not your average Sunday League player.
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: wee eck  
Date:   Tue 25 Feb 11:16

My recollection is that, although Denis was loved by the fans, he sometimes got a hard time from the media which mainly comprised the printed press in those days. I think it was partly due to the fact that he was considered to be our best player and expectations of him were so high that he tended to be criticised if the team failed to deliver. There was also a lot of prejudice against 'Anglo-Scots' whose commitment to the national team was often questioned.

It was sad that Scotland never managed to qualify for the finals of a major tournament when he was at his peak because his appearance in the 1974 World Cup Finals when he was 34 was little more than a token gesture.
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 Re: Happy Birthday, Denis!
Topic Originator: partime  
Date:   Tue 25 Feb 19:29

GG, certainly not unique in playing for both teams; I was at "King" Kenny's testimonial at Hampden (Scots v Anglos) and Kenny changed teams at half time. In the second half the other team was awarded a penalty which Kenny took and scored therefore scoring an own goal from a penalty - that's unique.
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