Goodbye To Another Hero

Indelibly etched on GJ Strachan’s life canvas is the verve resultant from 1960’s/70’s football commentator David Coleman exclaiming “Lorimer. One-nil!” A regular childhood soundscape heard as a Leeds United number seven Peter Lorimer power driver thundered into an opponents net. The ball striking the netting with such ferocity that if the crowd roar hadn’t have drowned it out, I’d swear you’d have heard the net wince.

Footnote – ‘Lasher’ Lorimer didn’t always score the initial goal in games, but that particular Coleman shout has stayed with me for five decades. Thoughts of the BBC broadcasters habitual three word cry a trigger to wonderful boyhood memories, an era I fondly remember as utopia in socktags.

Despite a memorable season or two on the field. losing Lorimer, along with the recent passing of Charlton, Hunter and Cherry, have made it a melancholic twelve months for the Leeds United family.

The grim reaper’s recent purge of Don Revie’s boys dished out with spite occasionally seen from the games governing body towards LUFC in the 1970’s. For example, those administrators hampering Lorimer and team mates chances of a 1972 league/cup double, forcing them to play a season defining league fixture a mere 48 hours after lifting the FA Cup….. Malevolent unprofessionalism which I find hard to forgive even almost half a century on.

Lorimer also robbed of a European Cup goal due to baffling officiousness and the influencing skills of Bayern Munich’s legendary defender Franz Beckenbaur. Courtesy of the ‘The Kaiser’ and his team mates, the referee and linesman incorrectly deciding Leeds captain Billy Bremner was offside

The euphoria Peter Lorimer and his team mates imparted into my fledgling years makes news of a Don Revie squad member passing akin to hearing of an old uncle’s death. I’ve never met any of these idols, but I can’t put into words how frequently these guys supplemented yours truly’s childhood brio levels.

To be honest, even bulletins relaying the deaths of any iconic players from that era, regardless of club they represented evoke melancholy. Footballers who adorned my sticker albums between the ages of 6-12; players from every Division One club, whose names I could recount in that era, such was my child-like obsession with the game.

Collecting the sticker albums, though, could be a frustrating pastime. Especially when attempting to secure the remaining few outstanding footballers. One year, I just couldn’t get QPR’s Stan Bowles sticker to complete the collection. In my bid to attain this adhesive stamp, I ended up buying enough packs to bequeath me fourteen copies of Everton’s Brian Labone.

Out of the frustration of being unable to obtain Bowles, I ended up penciling hair onto a spare picture of his bald team mate Terry Mancini. A lame attempt to further ‘fool’ friends I penned the name Stan Bowles underneath a crossed out Terry Mancini….,. Unsurprisingly this ruse didn’t bear fruit.

Great days, enhanced in no small measure by ‘Lash’ Lorimer and his warrior team mates in white, who stood shoulder to shoulder in the football trenches for a decade from the early 1960’s. A man of such quality he played his first game for Leeds as a 15 year old, and remains the club’s record scorer with 238 goals in over 700 appearances.

Thanks for contributing to an idyllic childhood, Lasher….. Incidentally, does anyone want a Brian Labone sticker?

RIP Peter Lorimer

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