On this day day (18 August) in 1962, Denis Law made his United debut, scoring the first of 237 Reds goals in a 2-2 draw with West Brom. We pay tribute to the man who would be King…
What set him apart? Denis Law wasn't just any old goalscorer, though he was an exceptional marksman. A courageous, brilliant centre-forward, his finesse and style neatly disguised an aggression that was essential during an age when centre-backs chopped and hacked at opponents to stop them in their tracks. Law possessed great positional awareness, timing and unerring finishing ability with either foot or, despite not being a towering figure, with his head. He also had shins of steel, elbows sharp as tacks and leapt like a Scottish salmon. Oh, and in his pomp he scored goals with machine-like regularity.
Crowning glory… Winning the feted Ballon d'Or in 1964, Law became the first Scot and first United player to collect the prestigious trophy, and he remains just one of four Reds to have been awarded the honour alongside George Best, Bobby Charlton and Cristiano Ronaldo. In terms of team success, Law missed the 1968 European Cup final through injury, but the year previous to that he had lifted the League championship trophy at Old Trafford in front of 61,071 fans as captain. A week earlier, Law hit two goals in a rampant 6-1 win at West Ham that had sealed title glory.
He says: "We had a brilliant team and it was a joy to play alongside Best, Charlton, Stiles, Foulkes, Stepney… so many good players. They were the best years of my career."
They say: "Denis Law was my hero as a player. I idolised him. When I first met him I was so excited. He epitomised everything a Scotsman is about. He was daring and courageous, he had that bravado about him and he had style. He was a truly fantastic footballer." - Sir Alex Ferguson