Legends - Lex Law

 

Lex Law merits a place in Queens Legends for his 332 first team appearances alone. Having represented Scotland at age group level, he turned down club football at a much higher level to play for his footballing love, the team he usually refers to as, ’The Queens’. His story though is much wider than that as a member of one of Palmerston’s great dynasties. It is also a football story touched by tragedy. Lex Law is a rounded personality who not only has a perennial boyish zeal for sport. He also has a palpable understanding of the fragility of life itself.

 



Early years, the Law Clan and international football.

“The road to Palmerston was written in the script all along the way because my dad played for The Queens. That was the first thing. Then my older brother Jackie played and he went there and it was almost certainly written that if I was good enough, I’d go there.”

Lex Law’s father, Jackie Law, Sr, joined QoS after having spent five seasons at Airdrie. 5 foot 1, he was the shortest player in the Scottish League at that time. Law senior seems to have used this to his advantage. 228 QoS first team appearances (137 in the league) and soon becoming club captain, he scored 71 QoS goals (39 in the league). He played in the 1938/39 team who finished the season as Scotland’s sixth best side. Law played in the 1937 Scottish Cup victory against Rangers (covered in detail in the article on Willie Savage). He scored twice in another win against Rangers, the 3-2 victory at Ibrox in 1938 that saved Queens from the drop (covered in the article on George Hamilton). Law was robbed of seven seasons by World War 2. He played though for Queens again and in 1946 was given a testimonial against Preston. 1948/49 was his last as a QoS player, playing in the top flight throughout his time on the Palmerston playing staff. He retired as a player at this point and coached in Dumfries until his death in 1959.

 

Jackie Law, Jr

The second of the clan to play for Queens was Jackie Law, Jr, a slightly built, goal scoring left winger and Lex’s elder brother. Jackie junior played for Queens from 1963 to 67 making 125 appearances and scoring 34 goals. He was then on the books at Stranraer in 1967/68. Jackie Jr remained a staunch QoS supporter right up until his death in 1996.

Lex Law again. “When I was young I played for Dumfries Academy and Greystone Rovers. Greystone were run for the youth boys in Dumfries and we trained at Palmerston. So it was beginning to be very likely that I would sign there. Queens had first go at signing anyone who was any good. Iain McChesney, my brother Jack, there was a lad called Bill Pearson who signed, we all came from Greystone Rovers.”

“My dad used to train us, but unbeknown to my mother because my dad had angina. He was not supposed to do anything overexertive. He told my mother and we listened, we were warned by him not to say anything and to say he used to stand on the touchline and just shout.”

“But he couldn’t give that up, he came straight on the pitch, he had a track suit on and he coached us from there. There was a player trained with us from Stranraer, his name was Dr Imrie, he was an actual Doctor. And he went up for a header with my dad. And my dad just collapsed. At that point the trainer was my uncle. Neil Gibson. He said, ’Take the two boys inside’. They took us in and they put my brother and I in the boot room. In the old boot room with the boots of the players like Bobby Black and Jim Patterson and all them, they were in there hanging up. And after about 10 minutes, my brother Jack turned to me and said, ’This isn’t good’. He was slightly older than me. I’d be 13, he’d be 15 probably. So eventually my uncle Neilly came in and told us my dad was dead. My dad died on Palmerston Park.”

“Then we got in a taxi with Neilly and he took us home to our house. He stopped the taxi about a street away from where we lived. He stopped it, got us out, both in the middle of the road. He said, ’Now listen. Don’t either of you tell your mother he was playing. Promise?’ We said, ’Yes’. And we went in, and she didn’t ask. That saved us telling a lie actually, but she never asked. She didn’t say, ’Was he on the pitch, was he doing this?’ She was too shocked and we didn’t tell her afterwards either, she never knew. We just left it at that. My dad was 48. 48 when he died. He had angina and he had these pills that he took. He would’ve been alive today, if it had happened today he would have been alive with the way the medicines have come forward. The unusual thing was the bloke he went up for a header with was a doctor. When he went down, he checked him and he must have obviously have said, ’Oh, he’s gone’.

“I played for Scotland Schoolboys. My first cap as a schoolboy, I can always remember lining up doing the hand shake bit. I can remember standing there thinking about my dad. He was a good player and I was thinking, ‘This is for you’, sort of style. I knew my mother was in the stand and she’d be proud as punch. That stands out.”

 

 The England goalkeeper missing from the image above is likely to have been Everton’s Geoff Barnett.

“I played against Wales at Fir Park, I played against England and I always remember missing the biggest sitter you could ever miss in your life. This bloke crossed the ball into the box and it was fairly low and I thought, ’I’ll dive and head this’. And things going through your head, you think, ’head it down’, and I headed it down, and it bounced on the ground and went right over the bar. At the end of the game, an England guy, I’m trying to remember his name, he was a good player, anyway at the end of the game he came across and wanted to swap me jerseys. And I said [laughing], ’No, I’ll keep the one I’ve got because it might be my only one’. They picked me again against Wales and I played against Ireland. That was at schoolboy level. We beat the Welsh, we got beat 2-1 against England I think.”

“From there on in with Scotland schoolboys I then went on to play for Scotland at under 18 level. So I played at under 18 level then I got picked for the Scotland under 18 European Championship squad, that went away. In that team I was in with some absolute.."

"There was Peter McCloy who was the goalie of Rangers [future Rangers 1972 Cup Winners’ Cup winner], there was Willie Johnston of Rangers who was a fantastic player [two goals winning the 1972 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final & whose international imprint is already on this website in the article on Ally MacLeod]. There was Tommy McLean of Kilmarnock and Rangers [another 1972 Cup Winners’ Cup winner], his brother Willie played for Queens and was eventually manager of Queens. Jim O’Rourke of Hibs [1972 Scottish Cup finalist and League Cup winner], Eddie Gray of Leeds [1975 European Cup Finalist]. We went to this UEFA under 18 championship, Tommy Docherty was the manager of Chelsea at that time. They withdrew John Boyle, great player John Boyle [1971 Cup Winners’ Cup winner against Real Madrid], and also Jim McCalliog [1972 UEFA Cup Finalist], who later played [and scored] against the England first team. They were withdrawn from the squad.”

“So we went without them. We still had Bobby Clark [future League, Cup & League Cup winner with Aberdeen], the goalie, we had some terrific players. I’ve mementos of the squad that was named but some got pulled out like they do nowadays. I went to that tournament in Germany, loved it. We played the Italians and we drew with them [Group A, 1-1, 15 April 1965]. Then we beat Yugoslavia [1-0, 17 April]. But then Italy won the other game [2-0, 19 April] so we went out. But it was great experience."

"We were based near Baden Baden, which was the worst place to be based and we played in Stuttgart. Willie Johnston was fantastic in that tournament, but he had to come off in one game before he got sent off. He was fiery. You found out then playing in that kind of level just what its all about. Johan Cruyff was in that particular tournament, we didn’t play against him but he was in there, Cruyff. Germany, there’s always a Müller flying round somewhere, I’m not sure which one it was but there’s always one of them.”

Of the 16 teams Herr Müller’s side drew 0-0 in the quarters with Czechoslovakia who went through after the toss of a coin. Cruyff’s Netherlands were also beaten at this stage, 3-0 by East Germany. The Italians lost 3-1 in the semi against England. In the final in Essen a famous name in German football put East Germany 2-0 ahead, Jürgen Sparwasser (Sparwasser scored the only goal in the only ever game between East & West Germany, played at Hamburg in the 1974 World Cup finals). Two names from the England squad above brought the sides level, Dennis Bond & Peter Osgood. The clinching goal was then scored by East Germany’s Hans-Jürgen Kreische. This will have been viewed as poetic justice by the communist East German authorities in Cold War Europe. England were champions the year before. The East Germans (drawn in Scotland’s group), had been refused an entrance visa by the Dutch government.


The Queens.

“I signed for The Queens, when I signed for Sam Harkness who was a director then and was a personal friend of my dad’s and looked after us. George Farm was Manager. If I’d done the same thing again, people often say to me would you have done it differently? There was a lot of clubs after me when I was a schoolboy. I know for a fact that Sean Fallon of Celtic, he sat outside my house in a car.”

Fallon was responsible for bringing outstanding young talent to Celtic being instrumental in the signing of for example, Kenny Dalglish, Danny McGrain and Davie Hay.

“He had seen me play for the schoolboys. He sat outside in a car waiting for somebody to come in because he’d been to the door with nobody in so he slept in the car out in the road. So I had plenty opportunities to go somewhere. But Queen of the South were my love and that was the way I was.”

 

Lex (right) joins his brother, Jack, at Queens. Lex became third in the clan to play for QoS with distinction.


“The Saturday before my first team debut I played against Rangers reserves at Palmerston. Then I went to normal training on the Tuesday and I was told by my uncle Neilly, he said to me, ‘Now look, don’t do too much tonight, you might be needed tomorrow’. There’d been a flu epidemic and one or two of the players had flu. I turned up on the night with my boots. I played and I scored on my first team debut, playing inside left. I was lucky, I got into the box and I hit this shot with my left foot and that was it. That was against East Fife at Palmerston. I think it was 1-1 final score." This was in the League Cup, 26 August 1964. Queens finished second in the four team group having lost 5-0 in Methil two weeks earlier.

 



“I was lucky, I think my best years were my first six because for four of them at least I played with my brother on the wing, Jack was the left winger, and Iain McChesney was behind me at left half. So that little triangle that played together at Greystone Rovers and then went on to play for Queen of the South. So they two made the job a heck of a sight easier for me. I mean Ches, hard as nails, hard as nails. A good player and hard as nails, and if there was going to be any hefty tackles going on, Ches would do them for you. ‘Just you keep out of trouble and do what you do best’, he said to me.”

“I’ve played beside some good players. People like Alan Smith [37 goals in 58 league games], who came from the North East of England. Jimmy Davison who also came from the North East [signed from Bolton Wanderers & ex Sunderland], they were quality players. Danny Currie. He was class, joined from Clyde [Scottish Cup winner there and in the provisional 40 man squad for the 1958 World Cup], he came to us. He was a juggler with the ball, a real, real little showman but what a good footballer.”

"John Murphy, ex Sheffield Wednesday, solid, what a terrific, terrific player he was. And he was a hard man, a real hard man, and he lived by the sword and he died by the sword. He was a miner from Cowdenbeath. I used to watch him when I was a wee, wee boy. I was allowed to sit in the dug out, cause of my uncle Neilly. I used to sit in the dug out and there was a bar across the middle and I sat on that. I used to watch John Murphy and wished that one day I could play alongside him, and I did. Oh, what a player. Hard tackling. I can always remember we were playing at Dumbarton [1-1, 20 Aug 66], it was a [League] cup tie, evening game. My brother Jack was playing, Ches was playing, and John went into a tackle. I can tell you this, because it was my tackle, but I was never the bravest tackler in the world. He came right over the top of me, and, oh! What a crack, what a crack. The crack was just unreal. He’d broken his leg. He came back and played after that but he was never the same. It was never the same John Murphy. He was a terrific player."

“I count big Allan Ball in that. I mean for a goalie… And how many appearances [819]? He was quality the big guy. And I tell you what, he was quite good outfield. He wouldn’t play in goals in training, he used to come out and play in the 5 a sides. Skilful. I don’t think he started as a goalie. He had so many tricks with the ball at his feet. He enjoyed himself, he was good when he came out. Anyway, terrific player. Kenny Dick [61 goals in 98 league games], he was another good player that we played with, he was terrific.”

“I never ever quite classed myself as a goal scorer. I was a creative midfield player. I would put myself as somebody who made goals for others. There’s one thing I wasn’t and that was a tackler." Law found this laughable before continuing, "I left that to Billy Collings, Collings did all my tackling, and Johnny Murphy. I classed myself as a skilful midfield player. I never ever looked upon myself as going to score that number of goals that I did do for Queens. But if you play with good players... I played at a time when there was a lot of good players who if they were coming back now, I think would do really, really well. The guy Jimmy Davison, he only played for 20 minutes each game, but the 20 minutes he played could win you the game. Just a quite incredible type of player like that. I played with some really, really good players.”

“The game that sticks out in my mind was a New Year’s derby game against Ayr United [January 1968 at home]. I was at university in Durham then, I’d come up and I brought some of my friends from university up to see the match, they were keen footballers. Then when I got to the game I thought, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have brought them, I might have a stinker here’. I scored a hat trick in the win against Ayr United and I think Kenny Dick got the other goal. I got two in the first half and one in the 2nd half. That game stands out.”

“There were other games you played in where if you scored, you thought you’d done well. I scored quite a few goals. I was quite taken a back when I was well up in the Queens scoring list. I reckoned that I was a creative midfield player and I’m delighted to have scored all those goals. I used to be more a tricky little player and buzz around. Good times."

"I was there the year they finished second. That was their best accomplishment in my time. Did we not just miss it by a point? We missed it by a point, I always remember it. And if we got, I can’t remember the actual score but if we’d beaten East Fife up at Methil, at old Methil when we played up there, I think we’d have gone up that season. We were involved in that real heavy game with them, I scored that day, but I think it was a draw [1-1]. If we’d won I think we’d have sneaked it. That was my biggest achievement at Queens.”

If this had been any of the preceding seasons Queens would have been promoted back to the top tier. This though was the season at the end of which was the restructure forming the Scottish Premier League. Instead of going into the top flight, Queens thus instead went into the middle of the new three divisions.

“People have said to me, ’Why didn’t you go and move on from the club?’ Likes of when I went to university I wasn’t training in Dumfries at all. The Queens could’ve said to me, ‘Now your not doing that’. But they were really, really fair to me. They let me go and because I was doing a PE course I was bound to be fit anyway. They said, ‘You train, make sure you’re doing your stuff’, and I did. I didn’t let them down in that respect, I definitely trained. Queens were good to me. People have often asked me, ’Why didn’t you get a benefit? I often get asked that question. To be honest with you, I don’t really think that I merited a benefit game. I played a long time. I mean Allan Ball, he played double the number of games I played. And Queens had paid me and they had paid me well, I had no complaints. They allowed me to play at a level against good teams, I played against Celtic, I played in matches against them, I played at Ibrox, things like that."

"You have to be thankful they allowed you that opportunity. I was pleased, I was proud to have played for them. A man called John Ennis, he was a reporter for the Express, he did the Queen of the South stuff way back at that time. He put a little article in because Clyde in those days were in the top division. They put a bid in, I think it was between 500 and 1000 pounds."

How transfer fees have changed.

"The Queens turned it down. There were others but The Queens were never going to tell you. There was a scout I used to know and he would say, ‘Oh, so and so are interested in you, and so and so are interested in you’. But no regrets, no regrets at all.”

"And I worked under some good managers. When I signed George Farm was just there but was leaving. Harold Davis, Bobby Shearer [both 1961 Cup Winners’ Cup finalists at Rangers with another future QoS manager, Davie Wilson]. Bobby Shearer was my first manager as Farm had actually gone by the first time I played.”

“One of the best managers I played under was a man called Jackie Husband [he of the Partick Thistle stand named after him and 3 caps for Scotland]. He was way ahead of his time, he was way ahead of his time. His training. His training was absolutely fantastic. If you watch these guys nowadays and they look as if they are running along a ladder, with little steps, on sticks in the ground, fast to get your footwork fast, we did that with him, way back, 1967. That’s when we did it with him, he had all these little drills, different drills, different things. It wasn’t all running round the park like it used to be, a lot of the time when I first started we just ran round the park doing various exercises, work with the medicine ball and then a little 5 a side game. But this guy Jackie Husband, way ahead, way ahead of his time. Fantastic manager. And he was such a gentleman.”

“I played under Willie McLean, Willie McLean was my last manager. Don’t ask me the question I was asked before, ‘Did Willie McLean finish your career?’ The answer is, ‘No’. We didn’t get on eye to eye but I was finished by then. I was finished by then, I knew it myself. But a lot of people asked me because I was still quite young really. I was 29 when I finished, going on 30, I think I was 30 when I finished. But I’ve no regrets on that. I had a great time at Queen of the South.”


Back to school – teaching and coaching.

“I taught at one school for 40 years, same school. I was there for 36 years permanently then I retired and went back and did another five or so covering for staff when they were off so I was there for 40 years exactly. I’ve been privileged with the school I taught at. It was a hard comprehensive but we turned out some good footballers. We turned out some really good footballers. The lad Steven Harkness who played for Liverpool [and Benfica among others]. Steven McCall who played for Ipswich [1981 UEFA Cup winner with Terry Butcher and John Wark] and played for England under 21s. We had some absolutely fantastic players. A lot of them went to Carlisle United because obviously it was the local club. I was fortunate that we had some really good lads when I was a PE teacher."

"There was one lad, I saw him the other week in a pub. He’s 55 now and he’s the best footballer I ever seen at schoolboy level and he never signed for anybody. He went to Liverpool for a trial. He went down, came back, I said to him, ’Come on then, what’s the deal for you?’ He said, ’I didn’t bother, I want to be a plasterer’. I am not joking. And I tell you what, he’s a plasterer, he’s still a plasterer the little fellow, but what a wonderful, wonderful player. I wanted him to sign, when I speak to him it doesn’t bother him. He could strike a pass, I don’t know if you remember Chris Balderstone who played for Carlisle and Queen of the South, he could strike a ball 50 yards right to your foot. This fellow could do that we he was 12 or 13. He was just magic. Magic."

"His name was Leslie Fuller, and he was a magic little footballer. I took him to Egremont for a cup semi final, he was playing for the under 15s when he was under 13. At the start of the game the main PE teacher came over and said to me, ’The best player’s missing, we need a midfield player’, I said, ’Play this lad’. He said to me, ’Hang on, he’s only in his 2nd year’. I said to him, ’Play this lad’. At the end of the game when he came off, the people watching, the parents that were there from Egremont ’cause we played on their ground, they came across and the said to me, ’Could we speak to the wee fella for a minute’. I said go on then, and they said, ’Listen son, whenever you’re here in this area, tell us, let us know and we’ll come and watch you again’. Absolutely priceless. I see him and he has no regrets and he speaks to me happily about his school days and about the football”

"I went to university in 66, I was born in 46, so I would have been 19 when I went. That was 3 years studying PE, I was there 66 to 69 then came back. The funny thing is that my wife, we were at school together, I went to Durham and we decided the week before we finished we would get married and I would go and teach in Scotland. I did teacher training within the PE course. I’d done my three years, I was qualified to teach. We got engaged, got the wedding arranged, I was back at college for a week and one of my mates said to me who was best man actually, he said to me, ‘Where you going to work?’ I said, ‘We’ll just go where we like.’ He said to me, ‘You’ve got a problem you know, because you’re trained  in England, your wife’s trained in Scotland. You’ll have to do a year’s probation in England. And she’ll have to do 2 years in Scotland.’ So I had to do a year in England. I said to my wife, ’How are we going to live, you’ll have to go to Scotland, I’ll have to go to England?’"

"We tried the Berwick area, near to the Scottish border, couldn’t get in there, no jobs. Then my wife got a job at Springfield near Gretna and I took a job not teaching PE, but teaching primary school kids in Workington. I did that for the year, so we stayed in Carlisle, we made Carlisle our home base, and we both stayed in Carlisle and travelled because there was some good jobs coming up. And I got that job as I say at Morton School with the football talent that they had there was right up my street. If we hadn’t got in in Carlisle I don’t know what we’d have done."

"If I hadn’t got a job at Workington we might have had to cancel the wedding. But we didn’t so we were OK. I taught at a Catholic school in Workington for a year, and quite funny, the lady who was there, the nun who was there, who was in charge of the school, became quite football fanatical. Because the kids obviously have known a lot about football, the parents were saying, ’I wonder if that’s the Lex Law that’s playing over the border?’ So a lot of the kids knew that I played, so she obviously learned from them. She became quite football fanatical, I think she even did the pools actually, she was quite funny.”

“For a nun she’d plenty of money. At Christmas time everybody got a gift, and some of the gifts were quite, incredible even, so somebody had money somewhere. But it was a good starting school. The headmaster was a big Everton supporter. He was quite incredible when he interviewed me. He’s still alive, I still see him, a big Everton man and he liked his football. He was chuffed because, it made his day, Denis Law & Ian St John came to the school. Because we’d actually supported a wholesale firm, Booker, and we were selected, and Ian St John and Denis Law would come to Morton School and they would present this cheque for £200, from Booker to the school. It was fantastic, and the head would interview them on his own to start with, then I got a phone call in the sports block to hurry up and come up."

"Denis Law was absolutely brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. He was fantastic in fact. He was supposed to be doing some coaching but nobody told them that, and of course they arrived in their suits. Denis Law, he immediately realised, he said, ’Oh, I am sorry, I’ll tell you what, I’ll play in goal’. In the 5 a side hall he went in goal. He was great."

 

Lex Law is far left beside the cheque holding Denis Law. Ian St John is in the grey suit.

"I’ve met him two or three times cause there is a link between us, and its Aberdeen. My uncles came from Aberdeen, Denis Law was born in Aberdeen, Denis Law’s father was a trawlerman. So there is that link, its just through relatives up there but there is a link. So I got to know Denis Law when he came to Carlisle to do a speech at one of those celebrity dinners and I had a chat with him then. He’s a really nice guy, a really nice guy. So our head, he thought it was Christmas, because he had these 2 footballers in his office, and he could talk football with them. I’ve got a picture of Denis Law and I together, he was in the picture with the kids in the football team, and in that football team was Harkness and these guys, and Denis said, ’They’ve got some good players’.”

“I did one year after I finished, I went to Gretna, and I coached their young lads, and I went to Carlisle and I coached there. Then I decided I’d like to play a bit of golf and things so that was that.”

“I had cancer, I had an operation, thinking about it I thought to myself, ’If I’m maybe not going to come round here... I’ll go on a tour”. And I went on a tour of all the grounds and watched a game at them all, that I played on. I did 42 in one season. Did them all, took the pictures, and I also kept a log, a diary, with information about the pitch, the weather, the curiosities that went on, the funny things that happened to me at the grounds and that. There’s also a cutting from the paper of the teams and scores etc. I did that and put it into a book form. I’ve threatened to publish it but never quite got round to it. I went to all the grounds, the whole lot. I finished the whole 42 on the last day of the season on a Sunday. My two sons came with me to finish it, to be there when I’d done the 42.”


To wrap up, some stock Queens Legends staples. Favourite goal scored for Queens.

“I scored with a header in injury time of a Scottish cup tie, it was against Stirling Albion [1-1, first round, 27 January 1968], it was touch and go, and I scored with my head. It came in from the corner and I headed it in. I wasn’t good for heading but I got this goal and it took us up to a replay up there and we actually beat them up there [3-1]. Or against Ayr United, in the hat trick when I hit this... I take it forward, towards the Terregles Street end, then I step inside this bloke and I hit it and it went right in the roof of the net. It was terrific to score, it just zoomed in, one of these ones where you just hit it right, I just caught it right on the sweet part of the ball, it zoomed in. That’s my favourite goal.”


Best other players:

“The best player I played with at Queens, I think John Murphy has got to be in there because he was so skilful with his left foot, he was an aggressive player, and he had skill, talent, and he was just what epitomised an old fashioned half back. And he was good to me because he was the guy who was around all the time in my first three or four games, he would say, ’I’ll get that’, ’I’ll get that’, ’My tackle’, and he eased me in. John Murphy, terrific player. Unfortunately that leg break finished his career, but a good player.”

“The best players I played with anywhere. Jimmy O’Rourke of Hibs. He was quality as well, he was absolute quality, a striker. He could play and he could shoot, he could shove it about, he could mix it, he was a lovely player, and he was a lovely bloke, a really nice man. I became relatively friendly with him. We met up when I saw him, he was playing for St Johnstone once when he came down and I had a wee chat with him before going on the pitch and that. Really nice guy, good player, Jim O’Rourke.”

“If I go for another one its got to be wee Willie Johnston because he was class as well, another class player, Willie. I’ve seen him, not recently, but I’ve seen him a few years back. He was running a pub then up in Kirkcaldy. Good wee guy, he’d never forgotten us, he spoke to me when I went. He was a good player, he took some stopping when he was in full flight when he was playing with us in the Scottish boys team. Those two when I played in the Scottish team, Jim O’Rourke and Willie Johnston.”

But there’s more with someone to trump those two.

“Best guy I played against? Now then. I’ve got to think here now. We played against Celtic quite a few times and there was a big bloke who played on the wing, John Hughes. He was a big, big, big left winger, he was great. Billy McNeill was playing that night. It was in a testimonial for Jimmy McKinnell [1968], the former manager / secretary, and we played the team that the year before had won the European Cup. Billy McNeill was in there, so too was big John Hughes, little Jimmy Johnstone was playing. It’s quite hard to pick out one and say. Little Jimmy Johnstone, you could never catch him. But probably the best player that I ever played with or against was a lad called Tony Green.”

“He was quality. He and I made up the left wing with that Scotland youth team at one time. I remember saying to him in the hotel after a Scotland game, and we were all talking about who we’d signed for. Big Frank Munro [yet another from that group to go on to a European final, namely in the 1972 UEFA Cup for Wolves defeat to Spurs], he was going to Dundee United. Bobby Clark, we asked him where he was going. Then the wee fella, Tony, we asked him where he was going, and he said, ’Albion Rovers’. Tony Green actually signed for Albion Rovers when he first set out, when he was playing for the Scottish Schoolboys. We just couldn’t believe it because he was such quality. And then he said, ’But I’ll be all right,’ he said, ’A year after I get there, they’ll sell me’. And I went, ’Oh, well’. And they sold him to Blackpool, then he went to Newcastle."

Tony Green’s ball playing sorcery was indisuptable. He was also astute. Rather than spending his teens on the fringes at one of England’s big spenders where he was inevitably destined to end up, he wanted the experience that came with regular first team football. He got that at Rovers before his move to Blackpool where again if he was fit, he played. And when he played, he starred. Then came his big money transfer to Newcastle. He played only 39 sparkling, idolised games for the Geordies in less than a year before injury ended his playing days, aged 25. Joe Harvey, a managerial legend on Tyneside, said of Green’s retirement, "It was the saddest day of my life. He was my very best buy." Such was the impression the 5 foot 7 magician made in such a short time, he has been inducted into the Newcastle United Hall of Fame. He is similarly an inductee at Blackpool. Post football he became....... a teacher.

Last word on Mr Green from Mr Law. "He was a star at Newcastle. I take the rest back because Tony Green was probably the best player that I ever played with, I thought he was absolutely world class and his skill level was fantastic.”



As at 3 November 2017 Lex Law is 19th in the Queens all time appearances chart with 332 first team games. In the QoS all time goal-scoring charts, Law is currently in 18th place with 68 goals. His father’s 71 goals rank him two places above in 14th.

 

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