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Spurs and football greats say goodbye to Dave

24 March 2015|Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs, Scottish and English football legends gathered to pay tribute to the late, great Dave Mackay at the legendary double-winner's funeral today (Tuesday, March 24).

Dave's former team-mates Cliff Jones, Terry Medwin, Alan Mullery, Phil Beal, Pat Jennings, Alan Gilzean, Mike England and Steve Perryman were joined by Clive Allen, representing his father, Les, Non-Executive Director Ron Robson and members of staff were joined by the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Denis Law, Iain St John, Frank McLintock, Willie Henderson, Roy McFarland and John McGovern.

The funeral cortege left from Tynecastle Stadium, the home of Dave's first club Hearts, for a remembrance service in Mansfield Traquair in the capital.

Streets around the stadium were lined by hundreds of fans who applauded the cortege as it drove past, with some throwing scarves and flowers on top of the funeral car.

It was a fitting tribute to Dave, a legend for Hearts, Spurs and Scotland, who sadly passed away at the age of 80 on March 2.

Double-winning team-mate Cliff joined us just a year earlier than Dave in 1958 and shared the glory, glory years of the early 1960s with him as Bill Nicholson's team won the league and FA Cup double in 1961, retained the FA Cup in 1962 and then became the first British team to win a European trophy by landing the Cup Winners Cup in 1963.

Dave went on to captain the side to the 1967 FA Cup and played 318 times for us before departing for Derby County in 1968.

Welsh legend Cliff delivered this eulogy at the Mansfield Traquair, written in full below...

Isabel, David, Derek, Valerie and Julie, all the Mackay family, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I look around this room and it is filled by familiar faces, some of whom have travelled the length of the country to be here today. That speaks volumes about the love and respect we all have for Dave Mackay.

When Isabel asked me if I would say a few words about Dave, I of course said yes. I am honoured to talk about someone who gave so much to football with Hearts, Tottenham, Derby and of course his beloved Scotland.

I first met Dave in 1957 as we were both doing our National Service. The British Army had a football team and Dave and I were picked to play in it. The team also included Willie Duff, Alex Parker, Bill Foulkes, Eddie Colman, Bobby Charlton and Duncan Edwards. Safe to say we never lost a match!

In 1958 Bill Nicholson took over the manager's job at Tottenham. Bill had played in the great Spurs 'Push and Run' team of the early 1950s so he knew what was required to be a winning team. Our team at that time had the nucleus of a very good side with the likes of Danny Blanchflower, Maurice Norman, Terry Medwin, Les Allen, Bobby Smith and yours truly to name but a few, but we were missing that something special that makes the difference between a good and a great one.

It's called desire, commitment, a will to win. Bill recognised that and in March 1959, came up to Hearts, who had just won the Scottish League Cup, and signed their captain Dave Mackay. Immediately Dave made an impact at the club. Bill had a saying 'you play the way you train' meaning if you lack effort in training it would transfer to the matches. Dave was a great trainer and showed the same spirit in everything he did. He was always first pick in five-a-sides!

At the end of the 1959 season Bill took us on tour - to Russia. What a place it was. Communism was rife, Lenin and Stalin were lying in State in the Red Square mausoleum, the KGB were watching our every move and to top it all, I had to room with Dave!

Back then, he wasn't the tidiest of people and pretty soon, our room became a tip. Also, I couldn't understand a word he said, so I went to Bill and asked for an interpreter. Bill said 'what do you want a Russian interpreter for?' and I said not a Russian one, I need a Scottish one, I haven't got a clue what Mackay is saying! Apart from that we got on great and that Russian tour was very successful. We played Dynamo Moscow, Kiev and the Russian Army XI, they were tough games, we won all three and Dave was in his element.

Bill then came back up to Scotland to sign a brilliant goalkeeper Bill Brown from Dundee and to Falkirk to sign the exceptional John White. The 1960-61 season saw Spurs become the first post-War team to do the double and at the heart of it all was Dave. His desire and will to win was infectious and we all became better players because of it.

Dave has been described as a hard man, which he was, but he was also a naturally gifted footballer with a lot of skill. During the early 1960s Spurs were THE team and in 1963 became the first British side to win a European trophy. The year ended badly for Dave as he suffered a broken leg. He recovered only to break it again nine months later. That might have been the end for most players but Dave, showing his grit and determination, recovered full fitness and in 1967 captained Spurs to win the FA Cup against Chelsea.

In 1968, after nine years at Tottenham, Dave left the club and signed for Derby County, managed then by the enigmatic Brian Clough. Together they won the Second Division championship and Dave was voted player of the year by the Football Writers Association. Clough, like Bill Nick, recognised was Dave could bring to a team and always stated that Dave was his best-ever signing.

After his playing career ended, Dave went into management and in 1973, returned to Derby as manager. His side won the First Division championship in 1974-75. Throughout his career as both player and manager, Dave was a winner.

Off the field, he was full of life and great fun to be around. Our friendship continued through the years and our families have always kept in touch. In recent years, Dave's health had suffered with various progressive illnesses. We were all saddened when Isabel told us Dave had been admitted to hospital and was unlikely to come out. He passed away peacefully on March 2nd.

Whenever I hear the swirl of bagpipes playing 'Flower of Scotland' I think of Dave, a proud Scotsman who never forgot his roots, a great family man who loved life and was a truly great footballer.

On behalf of myself, Tottenham Hotspur and all of football, we thank Dave for his football legacy. It was an honour to know him. Until we meet again, dear friend, rest in peace Dave. Diolch-yn-Fawr. Thank-you.