Conferment of Honorary Award by the Robert Gordon University

On Thursday 13th July 2017 Denis was  awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws (Hon LLD) by the Robert Gordon University in recognition of his support for city’s Streetsport initiative.

Denis Law’s life is an astonishing and uplifting tale of triumph over adversity that saw a young Aberdeen boy rise from humble beginnings in the area of Printfield to become one of the greatest football players the world has ever seen.

Denis played for Huddersfield Town, Manchester City, Torino and Manchester United and became the greatest footballer that Scotland has ever produced; an icon of the game revered and loved throughout the football world.

He is best known for the eleven years that he spent playing for Manchester United, where he scored 237 goals in 404 appearances and was named The Lawman and The King by their supporters.

Denis Law is still the only Scottish football player to have won the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or Player of the Year Award.

As a player Denis was a showman and an inspiration to those around him at club and country level and to younger generations of fans everywhere. Team-mates adored him, opponents feared him and fans revered him. He is a free spirit, an extrovert, a complete one-off, a rare combination of impudence and intelligence, class and clout. Denis Law is, was and always will be The King.

Pictures courtesy of STV News.

Conferment of Honorary Award

Presented by Graham Hunter – European football Journalist and Author

“This moment is for a great sportsman, a great Aberdonian footballer.

A high achiever, somebody who ranked not just in the world elite but in the all-time world elite.

However I think the thing that makes it appropriate that you as a University, and a student body, are conferring this Honorary Degree on Denis Law is that he has also proven over his life to be a great man.

He’s exhibited values at every stage of his life to which you and every graduand and graduate should aspire.

He’s honest, he was tough, daring, creative, ambitious, impish, inspirational, determined… a high achiever.

Curious about life, curious about the world and capable of overcoming obstacles.

It’s famous now that, as he left this city to begin his professional football career, he bore, and I’m not being rude, no resemblance whatsoever to what a professional footballer would have looked like then or now.

Yet, he became somebody who wasn’t simply very, very good but is today revered around the world.

I’ll give you a small example because I know that most of you aren’t old enough to have seen Denis play at his greatest but most of you will have seen Wayne Rooney play football.

And Wayne Rooney just scraped by Denis’ goal-total for Manchester United, having taken 150 games more to do that – I think that gives you some context.

More, would be that the current Manchester United captain, Michael Carrick recently asked me to go and help with his testimonial, to organise La Liga players to perform in it, and outside the stadium that day, a couple of weeks ago, the queues to look at the statue of the Holy Trinity, Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law, were much bigger than the queues to get into Old Trafford early on.

That’s because, if you say Manchester United you instantly hear the name Denis Law and you see his goals and his single-arm upraised salute in triumph at the team’s and his achievements.

Right now, his 46 goals in a season in the 60’s are still the most that any man has scored for Manchester United in a season.

He has the most hat-tricks. He was part of one of the most remarkable eras in British football in that a true tragedy of social and human proportions at Munich Airport in 1958 took away many great footballers, great men and when Sir Matt Busby turned to people to rebuild the club, he turned to men like Denis Law.

I should have known, we should have known…. that a man of Denis’ class would have this day organised via whoever it is up in the sky that looks after him!

His first professional team, Huddersfield just got promotion to the Premier League.

The city where he was born, Aberdeen, had a very powerful season, second in two cups and second in the league.

Torino, where he played in Italy had their best season for ages.

Manchester United beat Ajax to a European trophy – and they’re the two sides which competed in Denis’ hugely attended testimonial at Old Trafford in 1973.

Manchester City…. trophy-less but in the hands of Pep Guardiola – the No.1 disciple of Johan Cruyff, who I know, having spoken to him, adored and loved watching Denis play football …

….and whose organisation, the Cruyff Foundation have just backed Denis and Streetsport, RGU and the Denis Law Legacy Trust by putting a huge six figure sum into giving people in this city a free, 24 hour astro-turf football court where they want youngsters to go and learn social skills, leadership, creativity, enjoyment, ambition..

All the things that I just mentioned represent Denis’ personality and his life.

I’d like to point out as well that he’s been a great family man.

He met and fell in love with his beautiful wife, Diana, so many years ago, they’ve been friends and partners all throughout his life, from the early 60s until now.

It’s fantastic that she’s here with us today.

I have the great privilege to know his daughter, Diana, without whom the Class of 92 – Gary Neville, David Beckham,  Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs  – could not function as successfully as they do today.

She’s a brilliant representation of this admirable man.

And for that reason, I commend Robert Gordon’s University for this award.

But more importantly, graduands, I commend Denis Law’s attitude, style, determination, skills, elegance, honesty and ambition to all of you in the exciting and challenging years ahead of you.

Do the best you can. Do it like the Law-man.

Vice-Chancellor, I present to you for the award of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa…. Denis Law”.

Transcript courtesy of Graham Hunter @BumperGraham