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Mackay at 80 - Dave on 'that' photo...

14 November 2014|Tottenham Hotspur

It's one of the most iconic images in the history of football.

Dave Mackay grabs his fellow Scot Billy Bremner by the scruff of the neck during a feisty match against Leeds United at the Lane in 1966.

But what was the story behind the photo?

Interviewed in the Tottenham Hotspur Opus in 2007, Dave explained it all - and here's what he had to say...

Think of Spurs midfielder Dave Mackay and what do you see? A grainy black-and-white photo most probably; the image of Mackay, all tree trunk biceps and thunderous scowl, uprooting a quivering Billy Bremner at White Hart Lane during the clash with Leeds United in 1966.

Today, it’s one of the most enduring images in British football, and understandably so: Mackay’s aggression, Bremner’s apologetic shrug, a referee rushing over to break the ugly scene, whistle in mouth. There’s even a glimpse of Terry Venables peering on nervously. Mackay, more than anyone, is aware of its iconography.

“If I had a fiver for every time somebody asked me to sign a copy of that picture, I’d be a millionaire,” he says, relaxing at White Hart Lane, his once jutting jaw breaking into a broad grin.

“I have never been so angry in my life. I was just back from a broken leg for the second time (his leg was broken in 1963 and 1964). I’d had real concerns about whether I would ever play again, especially after I’d broken it in my comeback game some time earlier. So when Bremner went for me in my next comeback, I lost it.

“It had started with a throw-in down the line. I’d pushed him over so we both went down on all fours. When we got back up he gave me a whack on my bad left leg - even coming across my right leg and going for it deliberately. I was so angry I thought I could throw him over the stand.

“I would not like to repeat what I said to him but it was not complimentary,” he laughs.

“Fortunately I didn’t hit him, but to this day I still don’t know how I got away without getting booked.”

Mackay admits he is not proud of the incident and, indeed, actively dislikes the picture because it shows a rare lack of control. “It makes me look like a bully,” he says, “and I’ve always hated bullies. My whole life I’ve stood up against them.”

Mackay at 80 - gallery

Mackay at 80 - Dave on the double

Mackay at 80 - Cliff Jones, Alan Mullery, Sir Alex Ferguson on one of the greats

Below: Cliff Jones, interviewed at the Lane on Sunday, tells Spurs TV about Dave's influence on the double team