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Denis Law art trail ‘can put Aberdeen on the map’ – Evening Express

An art project and walking trail celebrating one of Aberdeen’s most famous sons would attract visitors from all over the world, a local councillor has claimed.

Community campaigners are aiming to honour football legend Denis Law – widely hailed as one of Scotland and Manchester United’s greatest players – through murals on the side of Clifton Court, close to where the former striker grew up.

There are also moves to create a collage on a wall along Great Northern Road and a 10-stop walking trail to take visitors through Denis’s childhood haunts in Printfield.

The plan was backed by Aberdeen City Council last year before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

But now local councillor Neil Copland has claimed the project could bring visitors to Aberdeen from around the globe.

Mr Copland said: “If we can get it done, it will be a fantastic thing for the Printfield area. There is potential there for a huge visitor attraction because Manchester United and Scotland fans will come from all over to see it.

© Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson
Hilton, Woodside and Stockethill councillor Neil Copland.

“People will travel to see this. Denis is Woodside’s own, and something like this is absolutely fantastic. It would put Aberdeen on the map.

“Manchester United have supporters all over the world and he’s also one of Scotland’s greatest players, so there is no doubt people will want to see it.”

Denis is the only Scot to have won football’s most prestigious individual award, the Ballon d’Or, and was awarded the freedom of Aberdeen in 2017

Plans for the project include two murals on the Clifton Court multi-story building so the former striker – who celebrated his 81st birthday this week – can be seen from all directions.

© Denis Law Legacy Trust
A mural on Great Northern Road would feature images from Denis’s career.

There is also scope for local youngsters to play their part in some of the artwork, which will be led by students from Gray’s School of Art.

The project has been called Printfield 10 in honour of the shirt number Denis wore for most of his career.

Mr Copland added: “There are benefits to the whole area. Together with some of the other things we are doing, like the redesign of the Woodside Fountain and general improvements here and there, it can only help.

© Denis Law Legacy Trust
A walking trail around Printfield would also be created.

“There’s also the artwork to go on the wall along Great Northern Road, and part of the plan is that some of the artwork can be done as a community project.

“We’ve done that in the past with local kids doing the art on the side of the community centre.

“We are hoping the local youth can get involved.

“That opens up some funding streams and gives the kids a buy-in to the project. I’m sure they will be keen to learn about the area’s most famous residents.

“Dare I say it, if one local kid can do what Denis did, why can’t another?”

© Charlie Flett/DC Thomson
Evening Express photographer Charlie Flett captured Denis playing football with local youngsters in 1960.

When the plans were announced last year, Denis told the Evening Express: “It is an absolutely fantastic idea. I’m in awe of the people who have come up with the plan.

“The area I grew up in is very close to my heart. We didn’t have playing fields back then and used to just play football in the street.

“It’s really good that this idea has been put forward.”

David Suttie, a trustee of the Denis Law Legacy Trust, said: “Denis Law Legacy Trust are delighted to have been approached by the Printfield community who sought the Trust’s help and support with ideas to recognise their community as the birthplace of Denis Law.

“The trust is liaising with its partner, The Robert Gordon University, and their Communication Design team to develop some concepts for the community to consider.

“The Trust looks forward to working with Aberdeen City Council and the community to bring this project to fruition.

“This is a fantastic community-led initiative with a view to creating a lasting legacy for their most famous resident.”

Meanwhile, further plans are in place to celebrate the football legend, with Aberdeen City Council keen for a statue to be built in the city.

Lord Provost Barney Crockett will submit a motion at next week’s full council meeting calling for a bronze sculpture in the heart of the city.

Mr Crockett said: “Denis is one of the city’s best-loved heroes, he has done a tremendous amount of work for people in Aberdeen and, if anything, his influence is even stronger today than when he was at the peak of his football career.

“It would only be fitting if the statue was situated at the heart of his home city and he will also have a major role in the new Hall for Heroes which is being created at Provost Skene’s House.

“Denis has always been – and continues to be – a terrific ambassador for Aberdeen.”

There is already a statue of Denis inside Aberdeen Sports Village.

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