Peter Lorimer, the Leeds United hotshot whose nickname and records tell a story

Facts and figures rarely tell you everything about a footballer's career, but in the case of Peter Lorimer, they can tell you a lot.

LEGEND: The power of Peter Lorimer's shooting was the stuff of folklore

At 15 years, 289 days, Dundee-born Lorimer, who has died after a long illness aged 74, remains the youngest player to have appeared for Leeds United. He was 39 when played his last game for a club only Jack Charlton, Billy Bremner, Paul Reaney, Norman Hunter and Paul Madeley turned out more often for.

Thirty-six years after his retirement, his 238 goals in all competitions are still a club record – not bad for someone who was not a centre-forward. He hit double-figure goals in 11 consecutive seasons.

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Only once in their history have the Whites won a major honour without Lorimer in the team and, aged 45, he had a legitimate excuse, instead taking on the role of passionate fan of the club which took his heart when the 1991-92 title was won.

WINNER: Peter Lorimer claimed every domestic honour in his first spell at Leeds United

Fellow Scot Gordon Strachan wore Leeds's No 7 shirt as he lifted the famous trophy but not even he could claim to be the best player to have graced it – that honour remains Lorimer's alone.

His achievements are impressive considering how often he was a nearly man in his career, runner-up five times in the Championship, three in the FA Cup and in all three major European competitions. He ought to have scored in the 1975 European Cup final, but the goal was chalked off for a highly dubious Bremner offside at the insistence of opposition captain “Kaiser” Franz Beckenbauer.

His free-kick equaliser in the 1967 FA Cup semi-final was controversially chalked off because the (ultimately victorious) Chelsea players had not retreated 10 yards and he would have scored in the 1973 final but for Sunderland's Jimmy Montgomery pulling off one of the competition's iconic saves. He did score for Scotland at the 1974 World Cup, but felt cheated out of the knockout stages by a Brazil side he felt “got way with murder”.

For all the disappointments, Lorimer brought a lot more joy to Leeds supporters.

LIFELONG DEVOTION: After retiring from playing, Peter Lorimer became a committed Leeds United fan and club ambassador

He played for Don Revie's side as an “inverted right-winger” or a “No 10” long before either term reached English footballing consciousness, never mind parlance, cutting in from the flank or arriving late to devastating effect. He brought velvety skills to Elland Road but his nicknames tell you about the iron feet behind the bulk of his goals – “Hot Shot”, “Thunder Boots”, “Lash”, you get the idea. Lorimer was a comic book hero in an era when just about every young boy had a comic book hero.

One of his penalties was clocked at 107mph, faster even than the speed Revie was going when he was stopped for speeding driving to Scotland to sign the teenager, whose parents Manchester United's scouts had offered £5,000 to. Having scored 176 goals in one season, it was hardly surprisingly England's leading managers took notice. Revie ensured he got the young man's autograph on a contract before heading home.

An injury crisis prompted Lorimer's debut in September 1962 but it would be two-and-a-half years until his next league game under Revie, and three before his maiden goal. It was in 1965-66 that he established himself as a mainstay not only of the side but the club far beyond his 705 appearances across two spells.

Lorimer scored 30 goals in 1967-68 when Leeds won the league and Fairs Cups and it says much for the quality of Revie's side that he was only named Leeds's player of the year once, in 1970-71. To have now lost four players from the era – after Hunter, Trevor Cherry and Charlton – in 12 months is beyond cruel.

PARTNERSHIP: Peter Lorimer's success was synonymous with his Leeds United manager Don Revie

Lorimer stayed with the club for five years after Revie's departure to manage England, scoring a crucial goal in the 1975 European Cup semi-final away leg in Barcelona, only to be frustrated in the contentious final against Bayern Munich in Paris. Who knows how history might have changed had they won that night?

Only in 1979, having lost his place in the side, did he finally leave Elland Road, and not for long.

Canada came calling, his time with Toronto Blizzard interrupted by 29 games and eight goals for York City, then Vancouver Whitecaps and a short loan at University College Dublin before returning to his spiritual home in 1983.

Then in the Second Division, managed by Lorimer's former team-mate Eddie Gray, Leeds and the 37-year-old were not what they had been but Lorimer's second spell allowed him to dethrone “King” John Charles as the club's most prolific goalscorer before Gray's successor Bremner called a halt shortly before Lorimer's 40th birthday.

Short spells at Hapoel Haifa and at Whitby Town under another old team-mate, David Harvey, brought his playing career to a close.

Like Charles, he ran a pub close to the ground – the Commercial Hotel in Holbeck – and like Hunter he worked as a BBC Radio Leeds pundit.

He served on the board as the club went into its second fall from grace in 2004, acting as a fans representative when Ken Bates took over in 2005, and in later years became an ambassador.

Even if his records do fall – and no one since has come close to his goals tally, few to his youngest debutant mark – Lorimer will always be an Elland Road legend.

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