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Spurs and Scotland great Mackay dies aged 80.

By Mike Collett

Dave Mackay, described by Tottenham Hotspur as one of their greatest ever players and the heartbeat of their Double-winning team of 1961, has died aged 80, the club has announced.

The barrel-chested midfielder won 22 caps for Scotland and was a Footballer of the Year at home and in England, winning 10 major honours including three FA Cups with Spurs.

He had a glittering playing career at Spurs, Hearts, where he won every domestic Scottish honour, and Derby County, where he later returned as manager and took them to the English League title in 1975.

He also had stints managing Swindon Town, Walsall, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham City as well as managing sides in Kuwait, Dubai and Egypt.

But it is as a player for Spurs in their golden era of the early 1960s that he is best remembered.

He formed a formidable midfield with Danny Blanchflower and Maurice Norman as Spurs became the first club in the 20th century to win the FA Cup and League Double.

In their statement Spurs said: "He was one of our greatest ever players and a man who never failed to inspire those around him.

"He was a superb player who possessed all the technique, passing ability and talent to be the complete footballer.

"He was the heartbeat of our 1961 'Double' side, was then a key member of the team that retained the FA Cup the following season and, although injury kept him

out of our 1963 European Cup Winners' Cup final triumph, he had played a vital role in getting us there."

The late Bill Nicholson, who signed him from Hearts in 1959, wrote of Mackay in his autobiography: "He was my best ever signing. He did more than anyone to forge a team capable of winning the Double".

His former Spurs team-mate Jimmy Greaves wrote in his autobiography that Mackay was "the best player ever to pull on a Spurs shirt".

After leading Spurs to a third FA Cup win in seven seasons in 1967, Brian Clough signed Mackay for Derby in 1968 and he was named joint Footballer of the Season the following year after leading the Rams back to the top flight after a 16-year gap.

His death after a long illness comes just two months after that of Ron Henry, another stalwart of the Double team, who died also aged 80, at the end of December.

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 3, 2015
Words:416
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