OBITUARY: Peter Lorimer was one of Leeds’s treasured sons. The club’s youngest ever player became their all-time leading goalscorer and proved crucial to their Sixties and Seventies success… the Scotsman truly was one of their own
- Leeds United legendary midfielder Peter Lorimer died on Saturday aged 74
- Lorimer is Leeds’ all-time goalscorer with 238 goals in 705 appearances
- He was a pivotal player in Don Revie’s Leeds side of the Sixties and Seventies
- Lorimer became Leeds’ youngest ever player aged 15 after joining from Dundee
- After his playing days finished, Lorimer was a Leeds director and ambassador
Leeds United lost another of its treasured sons on Saturday but the man fondly known as Hotshot or Lash will live on in the record books.
Peter Lorimer made an indelible mark at the Yorkshire club from the moment he travelled south from Dundee as a 15-year-old to become their youngest ever player. When he hung up his boots 23 years later, he did so as Leeds’ all-time leading goalscorer with 238 across all competitions. It is hard to envisage either of those two marks being surpassed.
Tributes poured in from across football after his death at 74 following a long illness. It was arguably more deeply felt at Elland Road because he was truly one of their own.
Leeds’ all-time record goalscorer Peter Lorimer has passed away at the age of 74 after illness
Known as ‘Hotshot Lorimer’ for his striking power, the Scot became a legend for Leeds
Fans placed flowers by Lorimer’s plaque that lies outside Leeds’ Elland Road stadium
Arriving in 1962, he never really left, aside from a four-year spell in which he featured for York City and at the North American Soccer League for Toronto Blizzard and Vancouver Whitecaps. After finishing his playing days with United, he moved onto the board of directors and later became a local radio and newspaper pundit as well as running the Commercial Inn pub in the Holbeck area of the city. In 2013, he became a club ambassador and up until last month he still wrote in the match day programme.
‘Peter’s contribution to Leeds United will never be forgotten and his passing leaves another huge hole in the Leeds United family,’ read a statement from the club.
‘He will always remain a club icon and his legacy at Elland Road will live on. Our thoughts are naturally with Peter’s wife Sue and the rest of his family at this difficult time. Rest in peace, Peter.’
Lorimer (pictured here in 1968) became Leeds’ youngest ever player at the age of 15
Lorimer was admitted into a hospice in February and his passing was announced on Saturday
Lorimer will be best remembered for his time at Leeds, where he spent 19 years as a player and also briefly served as a board member after his retirement
No one knew him better than his fellow Scot Eddie Gray, a team-mate in Don Revie’s great Leeds side of the Sixties and Seventies, and a lifelong friend.
‘Peter was a truly great player and a great man,’ Gray said.
‘I first saw Peter play at Ibrox in 1962 for the Scottish Schoolboys against England, I was a year younger than Peter and I couldn’t believe how good he was.
‘I thought to myself that night at Ibrox, “If I want to be a player, I have to step up to the mark,” because he was truly sensational.
‘As well as being a great player and a great goal scorer, he was a great lad, he was my roommate for 12 years, travelling all over Europe and up and down the country together.
Lorimer (back row, second left) was part of the Leeds side that dominated English football under Don Revie in the 1960s and 1970s
Lorimer (2nd from the right) won seven trophies with Leeds, including two First Division titles in 1969 and 1973
Lorimer (third right) celebrates with his Leeds team-mates after winning the FA Cup in 1972
‘Today you hear managers say they’re not going to be in the market for a £50-60m player, but you would need a lot more money than that to get a player like Peter.’
Indeed, it was his fellow wing man Gray who as manager brought Lorimer back to the club in 1983. He had earned his reputation and various nicknames during a trophy-laden first spell in West Yorkshire. To those who traipsed down Gelderd Road on match days, decked in white, he was known as Hotshot, Lash or Thunderboots for his shooting prowess. His efforts on goal regularly touched 90 miles per hour.
He is the fourth member of the showreel Seventies side to have died inside the past 12 months following Norman Hunter and Trevor Cherry last April and Jack Charlton in July.
‘It’s so sad we’ve lost so many greats of the club this year. It’s some team looking down on us now,’ said former manager Simon Grayson.
‘He was a true legend and to play the number of games he did, and score that many goals, says it all.’
His first appearance of 705 came against Southampton early in the 1962-63 season, after Leeds beat off competition for his signature that summer. He was 15 years and 289 days.
He also played 21 times for Scotland and represented them in the 1974 World Cup
Fellow Scot Eddie Gray called team-mate Lorimer (left) ‘a great goal scorer and great lad’
The first of his record goal haul came three years later, in September 1965, during a season in which he would finish as the club’s most prolific scorer with 19 goals.
It was the one in which he would become an integral member of an ensemble including Charlton, Billy Bremner, Johnny Giles and Gray.
His trophy haul included two First Division titles, FA Cup and League Cup winners’, two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups and the Charity Shield.
Arguably, his most talked about goal was the one controversially ruled out in the 1975 European Cup final as Leeds went down 2-0 to Bayern Munich.
News of Lorimer’s illness emerged last month when it was revealed he was being cared for at a hospice.
Other tributes were placed outside the Leeds stadium following the news of Lorimer’s passing
‘My prayers with the family. It has been an honour to meet you and host you at Elland Road, your home,’ tweeted Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani.
‘Fly High Peter. A legend that we all aspire to be like,’ added club captain Liam Cooper.
Stuart Dallas, who played in the 2-1 win over Fulham on Friday, said: ‘After the high of last night, we learn of such sad news this morning.’
Lorimer won 21 international caps for Scotland, playing at the 1974 World Cup in Germany, and the Scottish Football Association said it was ‘deeply saddened’ by his death.
But it was in his adopted city that tears were shed for another of their true greats on Saturday night.
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