In the 1960s pomp of United’s ‘Holy Trinity’, the trend-setters, the women and the swanks thought George Best was the main man. The older denizens of the main stand found in Bobby Charlton’s Corinthianism an embodiment of the values United should espouse. But for the lads on the terraces, the foot soldiers of the Red Army, filling away grounds with their songs and banter, Denis Law - 70 today - was the one.
Like Eric Cantona, Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney since, there was something about Law’s anti-establishment dash that appealed to their sense of what United was about. They saw in him what they would like to be and, by way of recognition, crowned him in song the first King of the Stretford End.
“We’ll drink a drink a drink to Denis The King,” they chanted to the tune of the Scaffold’s Lily the Pink. And for four years the King ruled; his performance in the 1963 FA Cup final ranks among one of the finest in Wembley history; his incredible 46 goals in 42 games in the 1964/65 title-winning season is a club record that still stands.
As a finisher, Law has never had an equal, at United or beyond. His sharpness was razor-like, his ability to unnerve a defence extraordinary, his reflexes set to constant twitch. Then there was his heading. Slight he might have been, but