Saturday 23 March 2013 idiots?’ But they’d already started worry about us and so had Holland.”
I’d been keen to interview Lorimer ever since Eddie Gray told me how he used to warm up for charity kickabouts in his later years: “The purest striker of a ball I’ve ever seen, he’d just blooter it into an empty net. None of your stretching nonsense for Peter.” How could anyone with such great gifts be so nonchalant? That’s Lorimer, though. “You probably appreciate by now that I was a bit more relaxed about my football than others. Playing was something I loved but if I lost I didn’t take it out on the family. I’m still like that now: nothing bothers me.”
Lorimer has much to thank Revie for and this he does but when he talks about that “overpowering” reign, you sense he might have been better suited to life under Brian Clough who, as Frank Gray confirmed, would break off from training to lead his players on a meadow walk to a nice pub. “Maybe,” he says. “I don’t think [the David Peace book] was very fair to Brian. Some of the guys were unhappy they were portrayed as having got him the sack from Leeds but, really, we did.”
Underplaying to the last, he says super-shooting came naturally to him. Yes, he can just about remember the goal against Man City, how he lifted it over Willie Donnachie, but he never practised. There was a competition, newspapersponsored, for the hardest-hit shot and Bobby Charlton, Franny Lee, David Herd and others trooped along to a munitions factory in the Midlands to be tested by a machine for measuring the velocity of bullets. Lorimer won. “Aye well,” he says, “it’s quite irritating to me, having apparently been able to hit a football 300 yards, that I can’t do this to a golf ball.”
Never mind, I say, and get him to autograph the programme for an epic Uefa Cup tie in 1973 when Leeds eventually overcame my team Hibs on penalties. Great game – shame about the result. “Ah,” he says, “there’s a story to that one. Leeds always over-committed, didn’t win as many competitions as they should, so Don decided to let that one go and sent up Billy and me and some reserves. Us two had a bet on Hibs winning, but the young Scots lad in goal, John Shaw, who wasn’t in on it, saved everything. And I’m afraid your lot still couldn’t beat us.”
Aged 14, Peter Lorimer was a hero of mine and I’m really glad to have met him (I think).