There are two famous City quiz questions with the answer Denis Law.

One is which player scored his last-ever goal to relegate Manchester United at Old Trafford, although, of course, our neighbours would have gone down in 1974 anyway because of results elsewhere.

And the other: who scored seven goals in an FA Cup tie and still ended up on the losing side?

It was back in 1961, when the Scot, just short of his 21st birthday, was involved in one of the most remarkable ties in the competition’s distinguished history.

The opponents were Luton Town at Kenilworth Road where Pep Guardiola takes City for an FA Cup fifth-round game for the first time since that famous clash more than six decades ago.

City’s line-up was full of famous names from our past, including our great goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, still first choice at the age of 37, and Club legend Ken Barnes in his 11th season and turning 43 at the end of the season.


Law, meanwhile, was an exciting young talent, living in Withington lodgings, forging a brilliant career that would see him crowned as a Ballon d’Or winner four years later and he would go on to claim the rare feat of being a celebrated hero on both sides of Manchester.

But he would only ever score six goals in a game once – except he never officially did.

After breaking through as a teenager at Bill Shankly’s Huddersfield, City boss Les McDowall spent a British record £55,000 to bring him to Maine Road.

Law had already scored 16 goals following his debut when he headed to the second-tier opponents on January 28, 1961.

Kenilworth Road, still one of the most unique and celebrated stadiums in the Premier League, was struggling with a relentless downpour that had been going on for days.

Modern pitches might have coped, as would Luton’s infamous plastic pitch of the 1980s, but mudbaths then were not uncommon with one journalist describing it as like “a beach with the tide just out, then deep mud, then a shallow lake.”

Referee Ken Tuck passed it as fit to play and City kicked off a tricky game against lower league opposition, but one we were expected to win.

And we looked like we were going to, when we took a 6-2 lead with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Law was awarded all the goals, however, there was controversy around one of them which was given to him with suggestions that it was an own goal after a melee in the six-yard box.

With no replays, journalists credited the goal to Law with the quagmire contributing to the huge scramble and the final touch was unclear.

While Law may have accepted having one goal chalked off, to have all six taken away must have been agonising.

Torrential rain made the conditions steadily worse and as the game descended into farce, Tuck abandoned the match in the 69th minute.

“It’s not every day that you score six goals,” recalled Law.

“I never did it again - the most I managed in a game that counted was four, which I got a couple of times. But then the heavens opened. Obviously, it wasn’t meant to be.

“The funny thing was when we went for the replay on the Wednesday the pitch was in a worse state than it ever was on Saturday!

“At the time, I was fairly relaxed about it. I was only young. I just thought, it doesn’t matter, we will beat them in the second game anyway.

“The only time I scored six again was in a five-a-side game after I retired.

“Obviously it wasn’t meant to be.”

The game was replayed four days later with Law scoring a legitimate goal – his unofficial seventh of the tie - but Luton triumphed 3-1 to dump City out of the FA Cup.

Law, who turned 84 this week, ended the season with 23 goals before heading to Italy for a season with Torino.

He returned to Maine Road from United in 1973, finishing his career with the famous backheel goal at Old Trafford.

As we go back to the Kenilworth Road for an FA Cup tie for the first time in 63 years, just remember that if the VAR rules out a goal, it could be a lot worse!