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Mackay the main man

04 March 2015|Tottenham Hotspur

The debate to name our greatest-ever player will forever rage on, but Cliff Jones has no doubts about the most influential player to wear a Spurs shirt - Dave Mackay, who sadly passed away this week.

Dave provided the inspiration for the team that went on to win the double in 1961, retain the FA Cup in 1962 and become the first British team to win a European trophy in 1963.

He then recovered from breaking his leg twice - one break would often end a career in his era - to captain the team to the FA Cup in 1967.

"When people ask me about the double team I always say that the most influential player I ever played with was Dave Mackay," said the Welsh legend.

"Bill Nicholson went up to Scotland in 1959, Hearts had won everything and one of the main reasons for that was Dave Mackay. Bill Nick signed Mackay and he brought that will to win, that commitment and we took off from that moment.

"He was one of the biggest reasons why we were so successful in those glory days.

"People always talk about how tough he was and of course he was, but he was also very skilful. He had the lot, the whole game. He had the skill that was right up there with the best of them and mixed that with his commitment, his will to win. He was a special player.

"He eventually left us for Derby (in 1968), Brian Clough recognised his ability and they took off as well. They won the championship soon after. He was a special character.

"Away from football, he was a great lad, enjoyed his life, loved a round of golf and was involved in everything that was going on. He was a great character.

"That was one of the reasons we did so well. We were all different characters and temperaments, we all got on well socially and we took that onto the field. And Dave Mackay was always right in amongst it all!"