Denis Law has a new book out, I shall be checking this one out soon. Denis Law famously relegated United after joining Manchester rivals - City. His back-heeled goal sent us down and Dennis never played again after what was a sad day for him and many other United fans. He can still be seen at Old Trafford functions and matches. I heard from a freind that he along with Pele and Eric Cantona he spent the evening with Paul Scholes after his teatamonial this year and was entertaining everyone with his funny stories from his carreer. I am sure this book will give us a taste of that character, after all this guy was along with George Best one of the first football pin-ups back in the day.
Denis Law: I'm delighted that Manchester City and Manchester United still love to play attacking football
Manchester is the Capital of Football, a title that thrills Denis Law, who served the forward lines of United and City with such distinction. He enjoys the edge, the rivalry and particularly the high quality of football flowing from two famous sides.
“It’s lovely for the city of Manchester to have two good teams, as they had in the Sixties,’’ recalls the bright-eyed 71 year-old, drinking tea in his golf club on the edge of town. “It brings the city of Manchester to the world.
"City had a really good team in the Sixties – Francis Lee, Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell. They were winning everything. I’m excited by City now.
"One of my children is a City fan so he’s delighted because he hasn’t had a real good life these last few years. City went for it against Bolton recently and it’s nice to see teams like City and United scoring goals.
“United have always been famous for attacking football. As a manager, Sir Alex [Ferguson] is the spitting image of [Sir Matt] Busby really.
"He doesn’t have the same temperament by any stretch of the imagination – Busby was calmer — but he also wants to play attacking, entertaining football.
"Sir Matt wasn’t greatly into tactics. He just wanted you to entertain the people if you can, try your best. It was lovely to play under Matt with Bestie [George Best], Bobby [Charlton], Pat Crerand, Nobby Stiles.’’
Law remembers those days with a smile.
“It was the Swinging Sixties. I listened to The Beatles, Stones, Elvis. I tell my grandchildren that Sixties music was the best period ever. Roy Orbison! Fantastic. I saw Neil Diamond a few times, Manchester, Birmingham, London. He’s still going.
“I saw Rod Stewart in the Seventies. Rod’s not a bad player. He’s got a pitch in his back garden. Unbelievable pitch. Wembley would die for it.
"I was down there last year and this band was playing Rod’s team. It was one of those heavy metal bands I’m not into. Iron something.’’
Iron Maiden? “Well, I’d never heard of them. I got back into Manchester that night, turned on the computer, looked them up and there’s a picture of them playing to 100,000 people in a stadium in America. They were huge. Oh dear!”
As he talks, Law flicks through his beautiful new book, My Life In Football, his eyes lingering on that wonderful photograph of him and Best, stripped to the waist, running hard during pre-season training at the Cliff.
“That’s probably the best picture ever. We were both looking reasonably good! What a good player George was. But we didn’t see the best of George. He went on the decline from 27 when you don’t hit your peak until 28.
“I couldn’t give him a great deal of advice. I enjoy a beer and a glass of wine at night-time, when the curtains are drawn, but not in the morning. It was sad to see with George.
"He had all the qualities a great player has — doesn’t give up, gets kicked, whacked, doesn’t stay out of the fray, scores goals.
“He had courage. When I watched Barcelona play United at Wembley last season they reminded of the old days. Lionel Messi got knocked down, got back up.
"He didn’t roll around like Arjen Robben, the Dutch guy who was at Chelsea, who could roll back to Amsterdam.
“We [the Best, Law, Charlton team] would have done reasonably well against Barcelona but they played some lovely football. I enjoy watching United.
"They’ll miss Paul Scholes; you wouldn’t have a better player: lovely passer, didn’t roll about, maybe got a bit stuck in too much at times.
"I enjoy watching Wayne Rooney. When I saw Rooney as a young lad, I knew he’s got something special. He’s a goalscorer.
“My favourite goalscorer was Jimmy Greaves. When he got the ball, I thought 'that’s in the back of the net’. When he didn’t play in the World Cup final, I couldn’t believe it.
"I wrote down my prediction and it had 'Germany 6’ in it! I then went on a golf course when the final was on.
"When I came round to the last hole, all the English members were waiting for me! I thought: 'I’ll get Bobby and Nobby going on about it for the next 20 years.’ But we had a wee result the next year.”
Scotland certainly did, defeating the world champions at Wembley, Law opening the scoring. That was an era of supreme Scottish skill.
“The next day Jimmy was told to do a press conference and he asked me to come and sit alongside him for support. So I did. He said to the press: 'Denis and I decided to go out on the Clyde.’
"My wife said: 'You’ve been on the Clyde?!’ I hadn’t! I don’t even swim! Two days later Jimmy went out and annihilated England. Scotland haven’t got the players now, only really Darren Fletcher, yes, and Kenny Miller, Gary Naysmith.’’
The game’s changed. “We had more fun back then. After the game we would go to the pub for a beer with the supporters. Can you imagine that happening today?!
"We felt lucky we were playing football and not down the pit, or in the North Sea. My father was a trawler-man for 40 years.
"I remember going on the boat with him and the boat going up and down — and the North Sea was calm that day. I could only imagine when it was stormy. Some people didn’t come back.
“I didn’t even think of making a living out of football. I wanted to be an architect. I was good at technical drawing.
"I still do some drawing with the grand-daughter, designing a house on paper. I would design a nice comfortable house, a place overlooking the sea but I am in Manchester!
“I have a very curious mind. I came from Aberdeen, all working-class people, tenement houses, and a few years down the line I’m travelling with United and Scotland to Australia, America, New Zealand.
"When we went to Rio, we went up to see Christ the Redeemer. Different class.
“I enjoy watching the Discovery Channel and documentaries. It’s interesting to see what’s happening in China, Japan. I watch Al Jazeera to see what they’re thinking. I never watch soaps.
"The ones out fishing in the Bering Sea or North Sea – this is life. I look at fishermen under stress and think: 'but what about the camera guy? How’s he coping?’ Like when the [BBC 'Natural World’] cameraman was surrounded by Komodo dragons. Dear oh dear!”
Always a thinker, Law always kept his career and fame in perspective, an outlook strengthened in 2003. “After I had a biopsy, I went in to see the consultant at the Christie Hospital and he said: 'You’ve got cancer.’ I just conked out. That’s the Law trait: all my family keel over, bang, when we see a needle, blood, or a hospital.
“The consultant thought I’d had a heart attack. Then I came round and he said: 'You’ve got to have the op.’ You always think it will happen to somebody else, so why me? It makes you look at life differently.
"When I was going back and forth to the Christie, I saw kids with leukaemia and thought: 'Ah, Jesus, I’m not too bad really’.’’
Denis Law: 'My Life In Football” (Simon and Schuster, £25).