LONDON: Dave Mackay, one of the most outstanding British footballers of the 1960s and one of the greatest in the history of Tottenham Hotspur, has died at 80.

The former Tottenham, Hearts and Scotland midfielder was a key member – from left half – of Spurs’ 1961 league and FA Cup double-winning team. He died in hospital in Nottingham on Monday evening.

Dave Mackay . . . leader on and off the field

Mackay, who played 22 times for Scotland, began his career with Hearts in 1953 and captained the Edinburgh side to the Scottish League title during the 1957-58 season.

He moved to Tottenham in 1959 and helped the north London club become the first English side to win the league and FA Cup double during the 1960-61 season.

However injury meant he missed the Cup-winners Cup Final victory over Atletico de Madrid in 1963 when Tottenham became the first British club to win a European trophy.

The Edinburgh-born player helped Tottenham retain the FA Cup the following season and was captain when Spurs lifted the trophy in 1967.

A club statement said: “We were saddened to hear of the death of our former captain Dave Mackay.

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

“He was the heart-beat 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.

“He formed a marvellous midfield combination with Danny Blanchflower and, when the Northern Ireland international left us in 1964, Mackay took over as Spurs captain and led us to another FA Cup triumph in 1967. He twice broke the same leg in our cause but, each time, came back stronger than ever.”

Former England international Alan Mullery – who joined Spurs in the same year as Mackay before the pair won the FA Cup together in 1967 – also paid tribute.

He said: “He is the most influential footballer I’ve ever met, one of the bravest of all leaders. He was the William Wallace of football. He just wanted to win every game.”

Mackay left Tottenham to join Derby in 1968 and helped Brian Clough’s side win promotion to the First Division the following year before taking up a player-manager role at Swindon Town in 1971.

A year later Mackay left the Robins to manage Nottingham Forest for a brief spell before succeeding Clough as Derby manager in 1973, with the Rams winning the First Division title in 1975.

Hearts also paid tribute to Mackay, who won four trophies in six years with the Tynecastle side.

“Heart of Midlothian FC was deeply saddened to learn of the death of legend Dave Mackay earlier this evening,” a statement on the Scottish Championship club’s website read.

“Dave lost his long battle with illness at the age of 80 with his family at his bedside in Nottingham.

“A fearless defender regarded as the club’s greatest-ever player, Dave won the league title, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup (twice) with Hearts before going on to star for Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County.

“Our sincerest condolences go to his family at this extremely sad time.”

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