Tottenham legend Dave Mackay has died

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Mackay was an FA Cup winner with Spurs in 1967
Mackay was an FA Cup winner with Spurs in 1967

Tottenham and Scotland football legend Dave Mackay has passed away at the age of 80.

Mackay was the heart-beat of Tottenham's legendary 1961 ‘Double’ side and was also a key member of the team that retained the FA Cup the following season and, although injury kept him out of their 1963 European Cup Winners’ Cup final triumph, he had played a vital role in getting his team to the latter stages of the competition.

He formed a famous midfield combination with Danny Blanchflower and, when the Northern Ireland international left Tottenham in 1964, Mackay took over as club captain and led the club to another FA Cup triumph in 1967.

He twice broke the same leg in the Spurs cause but, each time, came back stronger than ever and was a real old school warrior who never gave any quarter in a challenge.

He left Spurs for Derby County in July, 1968, and was named joint ‘Footballer of the Year’ the following season, along with Tony Book. He would return to Derby as manager and lead them to the League title in 1975.

Mackay also won all three Scottish domestic honours - and was also voted Scotland’s ‘Player of the Year’ - while with Hearts and was renowned for his fierce determination, enthusiasm, power, commitment and bravery.

George Best once described him as: “The hardest man I have ever played against – and certainly the bravest.”

Mackay was one of the football greats from an era when hard men really were just that. May he rest in peace.