David Craig Mackay, otherwise known as Dave Mackay, was left-half back in the Tottenham Hotspur team that won the Double in 1960/61. After Danny Blanchflower retired, Dave Mackay became Tottenham’s captain, leading the team to FA Cup glory in 1967 with a 2-1 victory over Chelsea in the first all-London cup final.
Mackay was born on 14th November 1934, and began his career playing for the club he supported growing up, Heart of Midlothian. Mackay joined Hearts in 1953, and during his six years with the club, won the Scottish First Division, the Scottish League Cup twice, and the Scottish Cup. During the 1957-58 season, Mackay captained the side to the Scottish title, with the club breaking the senior British league goal scoring record with 132 goals scored, and just 29 conceded.
However, in March 1959, Bill Nicholson brought Mackay down south to Tottenham, paying £32, 000 for the player’s signature. It was rumoured that Nicholson was originally after Swansea’s Mel Charles, but Charles had opted for Arsenal instead. Nicholson maintained however, that Mackay was always his number one choice. In the end, however his transfer came about, Mackay’s signing was central to Tottenham’s success in the 1960s.
During the 1960/61 Double season, half-backs Mackay and Blanchflower patrolled the midfield, with Mackay often ensuring he covered for Blanchflower and protected Henry, Baker and Norman in defence. As a result, Tottenham had a balanced side that played with flair but also discipline. However, whilst the traditional image of Dave Mackay is that of a tough tackling hard man, Mackay was much more than that. He was an excellent passer and possessed a great first touch and an array of skills. Further, he scored 51 goals for Tottenham in 318 appearances, which isn’t bad when you consider he was either a ‘half back’ – a latter day defensive midfielder, or eventually a centre half. Mackay could strike the ball more cleanly than any player in the Tottenham side, a hat trick against West Ham in 1962 testament to his goal scoring ability.
Despite standing at just 5ft 8in, Mackay had an amazing physical presence, and was an all action player, inspiring Tottenham’s side to countless victories, through his tireless work between attack and defence, breaking up the opposition’s play with ferocious tackles, and then surging forward to assist in attacks. Mackay was also known to have a particularly long throw, although comparisons to Rory Delap end there.
The Scottish international was also courageous off the pitch as well as on it. In December 1963, many feared that Mackay’s career was over after he broke his leg whilst playing against Manchester United. Mackay would miss the Cup Winners Cup final in May 1963, and his misery would be compounded when he suffered the same break just three games into his Tottenham comeback the following season. However, Mackay did return to football, and ended up as the club captain, dropping back into defence with Mike England as Tottenham played a recognisable 4-4-2 formation. His long road to recovery was eventually rewarded with an FA Cup winner’s medal in 1967.
Mackay left Tottenham in 1968, and the Scottish international swapped the capital for Derby County, where he won the Second Division title with Brian Clough as manager. Mackay later returned to Derby as manager after Clough departed, and led the club to the First Division title in 1975.
Mackay was the heart beat of the Tottenham Double winning side in 1960/61, and is regarded as Tottenham’s greatest ever player by Brian Clough, whilst Nicholson believed the Scot to be his greatest ever signing. Legend has it that Dave Mackay played in forty cup finals throughout his career and was not once on the losing side. He was a born winner, and will always be regarded as one of the finest players ever to grace White Hart Lane.
The Lane Of Dreams author, Norman Giller is currently working on a brand new book all about the Double winning side. There will be a limited edition run of copies signed by Dave Mackay!
Do you have a Double season memory that you might wish to have considered for inclusion in this book? If so, click on the banner above and email Norman direct.
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