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DAVE MACKAY RIP

3 March 2015

Former Saddlers' boss passes away...

FORMER Saddlers' boss, Dave Mackay, passed away at the age of 80 on March 2nd 2015.

Born in Edinburgh on November 14th 1934, he had a superb career as a player, accumulating over 800 appearances at various levels despite breaking the same leg twice.

He progressed through junior football in Scotland to become one of the game's celebrities, a most inspirational wing-half, being the driving force of the great Tottenham Hotspur side of the early 1960s.

A schoolboy international at the age of 15, Mackay played for Slatefield Athletic and Newton Grange Star before turning professional with Heart of Midlothian in April 1952. He helped Hearts win the Scottish League title in 1958, the Scottish Cup in 1956, the League Cup in 1955, gained the first of his 22 full caps against Spain in 1956, represented the Scottish League twice and appeared in four Under-23 games for his country before transferring to Spurs in March 1959 for £32,000.

Mackay quickly settled at White Hart Lane and became part of the magnificent half-back line which also included Blanchflower and Norman. The medals continued to flow; the League and Cup double in 1961, two more FA Cup triumphs in 1962 and 1967 and a European Cup-Winners'Cup prize in 1963, although he did not play in the Final. He made 318 appearances for Spurs, bagging 51 goals and skippered the side on numerous occasions. In July 1968, after nine marvellous years in London, he moved to Derby County for £5,000 and in his first season at the Baseball Ground his experience and know-how guided the Rams to the second division title under Brian Clough, with Mackay being voted joint FWA Player of the Year (he had earlier been voted Scottish Footballer of the Year in 1958).

In May 1971 he left Derby to take over as player-manager of Swindon Town. In November 1972 he was appointed boss of Nottingham Forest and then returned as manager of Derby County in October 1973 in the wake of Clough's controversial resignation. He took Derby to their second League Championship and an FA Cup semi-final before himself leaving in controversial circumstances in November 1976. He then had four months away from football before returning to the game as manager of Walsall in March 1977.

He stayed at Fellows Park for 14 months - up to May 1978 - and in August of that year he became manager of the Arabic Sporting Club in Kuwait (Al-Arabi), later taking a similar position with Alba Shabab in Dubai. Mackay did well in the Middle East but couldn't resist the offer made to him by Doncaster Rovers in 1987, returning to The Football League as manager at Belle Vue.

In April 1989 he came back to the West Midlands, taking charge of struggling Birmingham City, but he couldn't get the Blues going and in January 1991 he lost his job at St. Andrews, being replaced a month later by Lou Macari.

His spell at Walsall saw The Saddlers finish sixth in Division Three and reach the fifth round of the FA Cup in 1977/78.

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