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Dave Mackay - legends' tributes to a Spurs great

03 March 2015|Tottenham Hotspur

Our legendary double-winners have led the tributes to their inspirational team-mate Dave Mackay, who sadly passed away on Monday evening, aged 80.

Widely regarded as one of the best players to ever pull on a Spurs shirt, Dave was the heartbeat of Bill Nicholson's all-conquering team of the early 1960s.

He joined us from Hearts in 1959 and went on to make 318 appearances in nine years at White Hart Lane, helping drive the team to the famous league and FA Cup double of 1960-61, retain the FA Cup in 1962 and play a huge part as we became the first British team to win a European trophy in 1963, although he was injured for the Cup Winners Cup Final against Atletico Madrid.

Dave overcame huge personal blows of breaking his leg twice to captain the side and lift the FA Cup at Wembley in 1967 before departing for Derby County in 1968. He helped lead the Rams back into the First Division and later, as manager, took them to the championship in 1975.

Spurs 1959-65

"Dave was such a great player. He was good at everything. He reminded me of United great Duncan Edwards, who I played against a few years before. Dave was at that level. He was a class above everything. I had some good times with Dave because when he went to Swindon as manager, I was his right-hand man for a couple of years, so I had a lot of contact with him. The double team was the greatest and it hits hard when something like this happens. He was such a genuine person, excellent company to go out with and respected everywhere he went."

Spurs 1955-65

"Dave was an inspirational player, the things he did on the pitch you wanted to emulate. He would just throw his body in front of people. It was all about desire and that toughness, but he could play as well, he had great skill. It was a special era for the club and he was a key part of that success. We used to go out together all the time, myself and Dave. He was my best pal at Tottenham and we had some great times. He was a fantastic guy, great to be around, great company."

Spurs 1958-68

"He was the most influential player I ever played with. He changed teams. He did it with Hearts, he came down to Spurs and we really took off. That commitment, desire and will to win, Bill Nicholson saw that in Dave, brought him to Spurs and we really took off. He did the same when he moved from us to Derby County. It’s no coincidence. He was an absolute winner and a very skilful player. He had a real presence about him and commanded respect wherever he went. He was special, Dave Mackay."

Spurs 1955-65

"He was a tough nut to crack, Dave. He was so strong, it was unbelievable. I’ll always remember our tussles with Leeds United and the likes of Billy Bremner, Norman Hunter, Jackie Charlton. He would say to Billy Bremner ‘if you come over that half-way line, that’s your lot!' He was one of the greatest players I ever played with and was everything to our team. It’s a sad day for the club."

Spurs 1964-1972

"There was a great song many years ago by Tina Turner called ‘Simply The Best’ and that’s what Dave Mackay was. He was the best player, the best captain and what he achieved in his playing career and managerial career was exactly that, simply the best. Dave's influence was enormous at this club. When he played five-a-sides in the gym, he had to win and when you stepped out on the pitch, you had to win. When we lost he was irate. He always believed if you were losing 4-0 with five minutes to go you could still win 5-4! He was an inspirational captain who lifted players off the floor with his man-management out on the pitch. Bill was the manager off the pitch, he was the manager on it."

Spurs 1964-1977

"Dave was a born leader. Of all the teams I played in, he would be the number one choice on my team sheet as a captain and leader. He had everything and led by example. As a captain he commanded that respect because he was so good. I joined Spurs at 18 and I always remember he was one of few players who had a Jaguar in those days, but he thought nothing of throwing you the keys, that’s how generous he was. He used to take the mickey out of us as well. He’d say ‘put your caps on the table’ and when I’d say ‘well, I’ve got a few’ he’d always have a laugh and say ‘Irish caps don’t count!' I’m not sure if he used to say the same to Danny Blanchflower! He was a magic bloke and he’ll be missed."