Obituary: Peter Lorimer, Scotland and Leeds footballing great

Peter Lormier, footballer. Born: 14 December, 1946 in Dundee. Died: 20 March, 2021 aged 74

Peter Lorimer pictured in 1962, the year he signed for the club (Picture: PA)

Peter Lorimer is regarded as one of the greatest players in the illustrious history of Leeds. An attacking midfielder with an eye for goal, the Scot was an integral member of the Leeds side that Don Revie transformed from an ordinary Second Division outfit into one of the most feared, and indeed loathed, teams in Europe during the 1960s and ‘70s.

Having made his Leeds debut aged 15 years and 289 days, Lorimer went on to net 238 goals in 705 appearances during two spells, becoming the club's record scorer – a mark that is likely to stand the test of time.

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But Lorimer was known not only for his spectacular goals, but also for the awesome power he generated with his explosive right boot.

Earning nicknames such as “Hotshot”, “Thunderboots” and “Lash”, Lorimer once smashed a penalty that was recorded at 107mph.

He lived and breathed Leeds, both during and after his career, and his loyalty was evident from the moment he arrived at Elland Road in 1962.

Lorimer rejected Manchester United's offer of £5,000 to his parents in favour of linking up with Revie, who had been the first to show an interest in securing his services.

Born in Dundee on December 14 1946, Lorimer caught the attention of Revie playing schoolboy football in Scotland and soon entered the history books as Leeds' youngest ever player.

It took him two more years to start making headlines at the club, hitting 19 goals in 34 league appearances during the 1965/66 campaign.

Combining with the likes of Billy Bremner, Eddie Gray, Jonny Giles and Norman Hunter in a team that had a win-at-all-costs mentality, Lorimer helped Leeds claim seven trophies during his first spell at Elland Road between 1962 and 1979.

Leeds started securing major silverware under Revie in the 1967/68 season, completing a European Fairs Cup and League Cup double as Lorimer netted 30 times.

The Whites also won the First Division twice, the European Fairs Cup again, the FA Cup and the Charity Shield, with Lorimer continuing to find the net regularly.

He finished as a runner-up 11 times during his Leeds career and he could be forgiven for thinking luck was not on his side when it came to cup finals.

Lorimer was denied a certain goal during Leeds' shock 1-0 defeat to Second Division Sunderland in the 1973 FA Cup final by a sensational save from Jim Montgomery that was later compared to England goalkeeper Gordon Banks' famous stop from Pele at the 1970 World Cup.

With the goal gaping, he thought he had equalised from close range, but Montgomery somehow diverted the ball on to the crossbar.

It even bamboozled commentator Brian Moore who shouted: “Goal. No! My goodness I thought Lorimer had got that one.”

Then, during the controversial 2-0 1975 European Cup final defeat to Bayern Munich in Paris, Lorimer crashed home a trademark volley from the edge of the area which looked to have given Leeds the lead. However, despite referee Michel Kitabdjian appearing to award the goal, having earlier waved away two strong penalty appeals, he changed his mind, insisting Bremner was in an offside position. United felt a huge sense of injustice and a European Cup was arguably the only thing missing from the Revie era.

Lorimer was the subject of a verbal attack from Brian Clough during the ex-Derby boss' ill-fated 44-day spell in charge of Leeds, labelling the winger a diver as Revie's approach and former players came under fire.

He also courted controversy during his international career, which was limited to 21 caps, as he was issued a life ban for missing a Scotland tour in favour of a coaching/playing trip to South Africa.

The ban was later lifted by Tommy Docherty and Lorimer was handed a place in Scotland's squad for the 1974 World Cup, scoring in a group match against Zaire – one of his four international goals – but, despite not losing a game, they exited the tournament on goal difference.

Lorimer called time on his Leeds career in 1979 when a first-team place was no longer certain and took in spells at Toronto Blizzard, York and Vancouver Whitecaps before returning to Elland Road, with the club in the second tier, in 1983 at the age of 37 to break the club's scoring record.

He hung up his boots following stints at Whitby and Hapoel Haifa in Israel and his love for Leeds was still evident after retirement.

Lorimer remained in the area, running a pub, working for local media, acting as a director and becoming United's first football ambassador.

He had a suite named after him at Elland Road, received a lifetime achievement award and in 2017 the club spent £24,000 on buying his medals and international caps for their new museum.

In February it was announced that Lorimer was in a hospice battling a long-term illness, the news hitting the club hard in a 12-month period which saw the death of his former team-mates Hunter, Jack Charlton and Trevor Cherry.

Lorimer is survived by his wife Sue.

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