Dave Mackay

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For the defender active in the 2000s and 2010s, see Dave Mackay (footballer, born 1980).
Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay
Personal information
Full name David Craig Mackay
Date of birth (1934-11-14) 14 November 1934 (age 80)
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 7 12 in)
Playing position Left half, later sweeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1953–1959 Heart of Midlothian 135 (25)
1959–1968 Tottenham Hotspur 318 (51)
1968–1971 Derby County 122 (5)
1971–1972 Swindon Town 26 (1)
Total 601 (82)
National team
1957–1965 Scotland 22 (4)
1957–1958 Scottish League XI 3 (0)
Teams managed
1971–1972 Swindon Town
1972–1973 Nottingham Forest
1973–1976 Derby County
1977–1978 Walsall
1978 Al-Arabi Kuwait
1983 Al-Shabab
1987 Al-Arabi Kuwait
1987–1989 Doncaster Rovers
1989–1991 Birmingham City
1991–1993 Zamalek
1994–1995 Qatar
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

David Craig Mackay (born 14 November 1934) is a Scottish former football player and manager. Mackay is best remembered for a highly successful playing career with Heart of Midlothian, the Double winning Tottenham Hotspur side of 1961, and winning the league with Derby County as a manager. He also represented Scotland 22 times, and was selected for their 1958 FIFA World Cup squad. Mackay tied with Tony Book of Manchester City for the Football Writers' Association's Footballer of the Year award in 1969 and was later listed by The Football League in their "100 Legends".


Mackay was born in Edinburgh, and began his playing career with the club he supported as a boy, Heart of Midlothian. He won all three Scottish domestic honours with the club. He captained the side in 1957–58, when the club won the Scottish league title.[1] The team broke a British league goalscoring record, with 132 goals for and only 29 conceded.

He was signed by Tottenham Hotspur for £32,000 in March 1959. During the 1960s his fierce determination and skill contributed to the team which won the Double in 1960–61, further FA Cup victories in 1961–62 and 1966–67, and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1962–63. Brian Clough claimed in 2003 that Mackay was Tottenham Hotspur's greatest ever player.[1]

In 1968 he was transferred to Derby County for £5,000, after Brian Clough and Peter Taylor persuaded him to sign. In his first season at the Baseball Ground, in which the club gained promotion to the First Division, he was chosen FWA Footballer of the Year, jointly with Manchester City's Tony Book. When he was a player at Derby County, Clough made Mackay play in a sweeping role and used his influence on the team to encourage them to turn defence into attack through a passing game.

In 1971 he was appointed player-manager of Swindon Town but left after just one season to take charge of Nottingham Forest. He remained at the City Ground until October 1973, when he returned to Derby as manager following Clough's resignation. In his first season Derby finished third in the table. In his second season in charge of Derby, he guided the team to the 1974–75 league title. The following season, he managed the club to a respectable fourth-place finish in the league, the semifinals of the FA Cup, and an unfortunate extra time second-round exit to Real Madrid in the 1975–76 European Cup. At one stage the side had been in the running for the Double. Mackay was sacked in November 1976 after a poor start to the 1976–77 season. A newspaper headline reading "Mackay Gets The Boot" was used as a visual prop in the British television situation comedy Porridge, which featured a prison officer named Mackay.

He then had an uneventful spell as Walsall manager from March 1977 to August 1978. This was followed by nine years coaching in Kuwait. He returned to the UK and was appointed manager of Doncaster Rovers in 1987, a year after being linked with the Scotland manager's job (which ultimately went to Andy Roxburgh).[2] Mackay's reign at Belle Vue lasted two seasons before he moved to Birmingham City, who had just been relegated to the third tier of the league for the first time in their history. His task was simple – to get Birmingham promoted to the Second Division. But he was unsuccessful in trying to achieve this and resigned in 1991. After that, he returned to the Middle East for two years managing Zamalek, a Cairo club team, with which he won the Championship, and then a further three years in Qatar before retiring from football altogether in 1997.


In 2004 The Real Mackay was published, an autobiography written with Martin Knight. Mackay had previously published Soccer My Spur in the early 1960s.

Mackay was made an inaugural inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his impact on the English game as both a player and manager, and in 2006 became an inaugural inductee of the Heart of Midlothian Hall of Fame in recognition of his success as a player in the 1950s.

George Best (1946–2005), of Manchester United, one of Tottenham's fiercest rivals in the 1960s, described Mackay as "the hardest man I have ever played against – and certainly the bravest".[2]



Heart of Midlothian
Tottenham Hotspur
Derby County


Derby County

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Dave Mackay: One-on-One". Four Four Two. 1 May 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Hearts realise a dream of half a century". The Scotsman. 23 April 1956. Retrieved 7 July 2014.