Dave Mackay passed away yesterday at the age of 80, the day after Tottenham’s defeat in the League Cup Final against Chelsea at Wembley.
Some 48 years earlier, Mackay proudly led Tottenham Hostpur to victory over Chelsea at the same venue in the 1967 FA Cup Final.
A natural leader of men, he had the respect of his team mates, opponents and fans alike. To be labeled a legend at three different clubs speaks volumes.
He joined Spurs from Hearts in 1959 after leading the side to a famous Scottish title win and was regarded as the missing piece of the jigsaw which resulted in the historic Double in the 1960-61 season.
He complemented the majestic Danny Blanchflower in midfield and was the natural successor to the captaincy when Danny left in 1964.
The photo that we all know and love of Mackay holding Billy Bremner by his shirt was a source of embarrassment to the great man. It was his first game after the second of his broken legs and the Leeds midfielder attempted what Mackay thought was a deliberate attempt to injure him again. Mackay reacted and it was captured on film forever. Speaking some years later, he said “It makes me look like a bully and I’ve always hated bullies. My whole life I’ve stood up against them.”
Mackay went on to make 318 appearances and scored 51 goals in our colours before going on to join Derby County in the summer of 1968 and he guided them to the League title as manager in 1975.
The term “Legend” is often over used but it is appropriate for a genuine Spurs hero. Dave Mackay will always be part of Tottenham Hotspur.
May he rest in peace.