June 5, 2019
Everyone at the club was saddened to hear that Airdrie legend Lawrie Leslie passed away yesterday.
Goalkeeper Lawrie played for the Diamonds between 1959 and 1961, and was a huge fans favourite.
When the club ran our ‘Greatest XI’ poll in 2016, Lawrie was an immediate choice as one of the four nominees for the goalkeeping position.
The panel had this to say about him:
“Despite the brevity of his stay, Lawrie’s popularity with the Broomfield faithful grew considerably when it became evident that their heroes had signed a keeper of rare ability who ruled his goal area with commanding authority. It is doubtful whether there has ever been a more daring custodian to don the Airdrieonians No.1 jersey although the catalogue of injuries resulting from his exploits was a heavy price to pay for such bravery.
"In spite of spending less than two years at Broomfield Park, he represented his country an astonishing nine times in one guise or another. All five of his full caps were gained in the same year, 1961, and to that haul he was able to add a further three League caps and one more representative honour. In fact, it was only a nasty and, ultimately, debilitating eye injury that prevented him from playing in 1961’s infamous 9-3 defeat to the ‘Auld Enemy’ at Wembley. Much, I’m sure, to his own later regret, it was Celtic’s Frank Haffey who received the eleventh hour call to fill in for Lawrie even though Leslie was the name listed in the match programme.
"Born in Edinburgh in 1935, his earliest footballing experiences were as a right back although it was between the sticks that he earnestly cut his teeth in the juvenile and junior ranks. In 1956, Hibernian persuaded him to put pen to paper. Unfortunately, his time at Easter Road was blighted by injury problems, ultimately leading to the move which took him to Broomfield in November 1959. Diamonds’ manager Willie Steel paid £4,475 for him but, despite injury again limiting his involvement during season 1959-60 to 11 starts, the following year, as team captain, he remained fit enough to turn out on no fewer than 44 occasions, including an appearance in the Scottish Cup semi final against Celtic.
"As his reputation extended south of the border, it was West Ham United who moved quickest to secure his signature. In June 1961, he was off to Upton Park for a modest fee of £14,000. Injury concerns persisted, however, and after just over two seasons in East London, he moved to Stoke City where he featured for the Potters in the final of the 1963-64 Football League Cup against Leicester City. Subsequent moves to Millwall and Southend United completed his playing career down south although, at Roots Hall, he also went on to fill the post of trainer/coach for a time.
"2005 saw Lawrie enter the Airdrieonians’ Hall of Fame.”
Our sincere condolences go to Lawrie’s family and friends at this sad time.