Law men '“ father of Rangers and Motherwell stars talks family life
Alfreton Town boss Nicky Law will have a special interest in Rangers' clashes with Motherwell next season in the Scottish Premier.
Last night his son Nicky secured promotion back to the top flight with the Glasgow giants, and if he signs a new deal at Ibrox will line up against younger brother Josh, who plies his trade for Motherwell.
Nicky senior played for the likes of Barnsley, Rotherham and Chesterfield, before managing the Spireites, Bradford and since 2007, Alfreton.
His role as the boss of a National League North club makes it difficult to spend much time in the stands as a fan, when Nicky or Josh are in action.
But the prominence of their clubs helps him to keep tabs on his boys.
“I get to see them play as much as I can,” he said.
“They both get quite a lot of exposure on TV in Sky games, so if I can’t get to the game I can still watch.
“Last year I got up a bit more than this year.
“It’s not just around the corner, it’s a proper day’s journey up there and back, but I like to see them play when I can.”
Football plays a huge part of family life for the Laws, but on the rare occasions they all get together, the patriarch is keen to ensure the sport doesn’t dominate proceedings.
“We tend to try and steer clear.
“If you don’t, your whole life becomes about football. There are other members of the family who’ve probably had enough of it so we try to steer clear.
“We talk about it as individuals, but with me working down here and them playing up in Scotland, we don’t get a great deal of quality time.
“They’ve both got kids as well so now there are grandkids, you don’t want your time together being swallowed up by football.”
For Nicky junior, last night capped a long journey back to the top with Rangers, a club he joined from Motherwell in 2013, one year after they were demoted to the Third Division following liquidation.
Law helped Rangers to the League One title, and was top goalscorer at Ibrox last season.
The success has vindicated his decision to move north of the border, says his father.
“He got off to a good start at Sheffield United, playing in the Premier and making a debut against Manchester United,” said Nicky senior.
“For different reasons it didn’t work out there and he had to go and start again, which he did.
“It’s a big, big shout going up to Scotland, I think you can gete lost up there, but it’s proved fruitful for him.
“He established himself and had a couple of promotions with a massive club, and got promoted back to the Premier which is great for them.
“Josh is there already and has got another year up in Scotland so they’ll be clashing on the pitch again.”
It might not be the most comfortable 90 minutes of viewing for their dad, but the Law boys cope just fine when they come up against each other on the pitch.
“They deal with it fairly well.
“They’re best mates off the pitch and that’s obviously forgotten when they’re on it, as they proved last season in the play-offs. Josh came out on top in that one.
“It’s difficult enough watching your kids play football. You want them to do well, especially with the volume of crowds they have, crowds who are very expressive with their thoughts.”
With a dad who has worked in the game for more than 35 years, the Law brothers have a sounding board during times of adversity.
But Nicky senior insists they’re very much their own men.
“Maybe when they have times when they’re not playing, or things aren’t going quite right, I’m someone they could talk to.
“But they’re experienced people and they deal with things well.
“I try not to get too involved in it.
“It’s difficult, seeing things from a football manager’s point of view, but as a parent you’re disappointed when they’re not playing.
“They keep their heads down, keep doing what they’re doing and do things the right way.”
When he’s not watching his sons play in front of thousands in Scotland, he’s working hard to keep Alfreton in a midtable position in the National League North.
And although the 54-year-old admits there are days when the club’s comparitive lack of resources make life an uphill struggle, he says the appetite to win is still there.
“It’s a constant challenge,” he said.
“I think the appetite will always be there, football has been the biggest part of my life since I was 15 years old, I’m knocking on 40 years in the game.
“It would be difficult to go and do something else, it’s still quite rewarding, every team has a different challenge and for us at the minute, the challenge is to stay standing still and solidify in this league.
“Sometimes you think same old, same old, there might be something else – but you have a couple of days and then you get back to it again.”