The Busby era, with all its glorious triumphs andAi??jubilation, had seen its day. Club legend Bobby Charlton had hung his boots while Unitedai??i??s heartthrob George Best had lost his appetite for the beautiful game. The club was a shadow of its former illustrious self – not competing for majorAi??honors any more; on the contrary, striving to stay at armai??i??s length from the ignominy of relegation. Tomy Docherty, the then United manager, had failed to rekindle the dwindling fortunes of the club; all that could go wrong had gone wrong. Old Traffordai??i??s original king, the one Denis Law, was also let go as the managerAi??couldn’tAi??fit him in his plans. The mood surrounding the red half of Manchester wasAi??somberAi??to say the least; little did the fans know the worst was yet to come.

As United faced City in yet another Manchester Derby, a familiar sight awaited them. ai???Lawmanai??i?? returned to the stage, his stage, but this time in the blue of City. Blasphemy for his devotees but there were no boos to be heard of as the game kicked off with the fortunes of the famous Red Devils hanging on by the tiniest of threads.

According to The Guardian’s Eric Todd, the second largest crowd of the season gave him a ”generous encore” and ”cheered him again when he trotted up for the toss of the coin”.

Manchester United were deep in relegation trouble by the time this penultimate game of the season came to life. United, with their top flight status on the line, strived for the elusive goal but were denied as both Willie Donachie and Colin Barrett cleared off the line. The clocked ticked past the 80 minute mark and the two sides just couldnai??i??t be separated. Then out of nowhere Francis Lee drilled a low cross into the United penalty box from the right wing. Law nonchalantly back heeled towards the United goal and into the net as the City end cheered on in elation. The king remained motionless, almost filled with regret, scoring a goal of such humungous proportion against his beloved United.

The Stretford End erupted like it used to, not in joy but sorrow and despair. What followed was a protest of sorts as Old Trafford faithful stormed onto the pitch in shock and agony. The match had to be stopped with eight minutes of regulation time yet to be played as the invasion was in full force. After the match was restarted, United couldnai??i??t conjure an equalizer. Results elsewhere confirmed the unthinkable, United were down and out, for the first time in 37 years. Birminghamai??i??s win over Norwich meant Lawai??i??s goal wouldnai??i??t have mattered, yet legend would always mark him down as the man who scored the goal that spelled doomsday on the Old Trafford club.

Law said: “I have seldom felt so depressed in my life as I did that weekend. After 19 years of giving everything I had to score goals, I have finally scored one which I almost wished I hadn’t.

Ironically that infamous back heel would prove to be his final touch in English football, one he wishes he hadnai??i??t ever made. To this day Law remains an Old Trafford legend and is indeed the clubsai??i?? leading goal scorer. His statue stands proud outside the famous Old Trafford stadium. He was a part of the ai???Holy Trinityai??i?? that brought untold glory and success to the city of Manchester and in particular to the United family.

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