THERE were plenty of clues that Town’s home Division II clash with Hull City was not going to be a run-of-the-mill contest.
With the transfer deadline four days away it was notable that Huddersfield manager Eddie Boot was not in attendance as Town took on the bottom of the table team – the reason given that he was away on a scouting mission.
Boot clearly knew that he would have money to spend, but little time to act, as Town’s inside forward Denis Law looked set to make the clash with the Tigers his last outing in the blue and white striped shirt.
It was to be a winning finale on the Saturday for Law as Town won 1-0 courtesy of a Les Massie strike after just two minutes, but by Wednesday’s transfer deadline the young Scot was putting his signature to a deal with Manchester City that brought the Leeds Road club the biggest transfer ever paid in British football as the player moved to Maine Road for a fee of £55,000.
The sale was greeted by Town, who had taken Law on as a trainee in 1955 and had given him his debut as a 16-year-old in December 1956, with the vow to ‘take their time’ in spending the money.
“We are going to take our time and there will be no mad rush to buy new players before the season is out,” said Town chairman Stephen Lister.
Law marked his last outing for Town with a strong attacking display and he had a hand in the move that led to Massie hitting the winner in the opening moments of the game.
However, the game against the Tigers, who had former Town player Roy Shiner playing at centre forward, turned out to be a frustrating one as chance after chance went begging.
There were a number of opportunities for Law to mark his farewell with a goal – his tally in 81 appearances for Town was 16 – but his best opportunity came and went on 65 minutes when he was played in on goal by Jack Connor only for Hull keeper Billy Bly to get off his line quickly to smother the young Scot’s shot.
For their part City were obviously pleased to have their signing and jump the gun on local rivals Manchester United who had been reportedly closely monitoring Law’s progress at Leeds Road.
“This is a very big step for City,” said City chairman Alan Douglas.
“We have never spent more than £20,000 on a player, but believe me we are very happy about getting a player like Law.”
Town: Wood, Gibson, Wilson, K Taylor, Coddington, McGarry, Ledger, Law, Connor, Massey, McHale.
Hull City: Bly, Davidson, Garvey, Collinson, Feasey, Bulless, Morris, Sewell, Shiner, Gubbins, Clarke.
Referee: M Dixon (York)