Great Scottish and Manchester United player Denis Law was honored in his hometown of Aberdeen this morning. Law, along with Sir Alex Ferguson, unveiled a statue in the city center that captures Law in his goal-scoring stance, right arm raised, finger pointed.
The pose was based on Law’s reaction after scoring against England at Wembley in 1967 and in front of his extended family, Law pulled the reveal cord and said: “I have to express how humiliated I am. The city and the people of Aberdeen have always been important to me.
Ferguson added: “I think this statue captures him – although I don’t see him wiping his nose with his sleeve. He was a fantastic player and in my opinion, and in the opinion of a lot of people, he was the greatest Scottish player of all time.
Law, 81, is the only Scotsman to win the Ballon d’Or, named European Footballer of the Year in 1964. He was the first of three United winners in the space of five years, followed by Bobby Charlton and George Best. With them, Law formed a famous triumvirate under the leadership of Matt Busby.
Law won the Championship, FA Cup and European Cup at Old Trafford. He spent eleven years at the club and he is most closely associated with United, although he has signed twice for Manchester City and also played in Italy for Turin. His professional career began in Huddersfield Town, where he was headed by Bill Shankly.
Law joined Huddersfield at the age of 15. Invited for a trial in Yorkshire, Huddersfield manager Andy Beattie saw the child in front of him and later said: “The boy is a monster. Never have I seen a less likely football prospect – weak, puny, and bespectacled. ”
Law had a serious strabismus which affected other members of his family. He took off his glasses to play and kept one eye closed. Eye surgery soon after joining Huddersfield transformed his life and career.
Born in February 1940, Law was the youngest of seven children raised in the Printfield area, about a mile from Aberdeen’s Ground Pittodrie. His father, George, was a fisherman who fought in World War I at age 17 and was in the Royal Navy during WWII, part of a fleet making trips to Murmansk.
Law was mainly raised by his mother Robina and older sisters in a house without carpeting, central heating or television.
But he turned out to be a fierce and brilliant striker who was known as ‘The King’ in Stretford End. The little boy has become a hero who now has three unique statues in his honor, two at Old Trafford and one here in Upper Kirkgate. There is also a replica of this statue in another part of Aberdeen, but this central location is important – Law is located opposite the Robert the Bruce statue.
“Aberdeen is always the first results I look for, with my first club Huddersfield,” Law said in his autobiography.
The Denis Law Legacy Trust, an Aberdeen charity working effectively with the city’s children, was behind the statue which should be a tourist attraction, as well as recognition for a local hero.
(Photo: Craig Williamson / SNS Group via Getty Images)