There will be a minute’s applause held before kick-off tonight in honour of legendary midfielder Dave Mackay, who sadly passed away yesterday, aged 80.
Mackay served this evening’s opponents Derby County with distinction, first as a player between 1968 and 1971, helping Brian Clough’s Rams win the Second Division title in 1968/69, and claiming the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year trophy in the process.
He left in 1971, a year before they won the First Division title, but returned to the Baseball Ground in October 1973 as manager – following Clough’s resignation – and in his first full season he led the club to another top-flight crown.
Aside from his time at Derby, the former Scotland international – who started his career north of the border at Hearts – is fondly remembered for his nine-year spell as a player at Tottenham Hotspur, where he was a member of the club’s famous double-winning team of 1960/61. He won two further FA Cups with Spurs, likewise the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1963.
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His former Tottenham team-mate and current Albion ambassador, Alan Mullery, paid the following tribute.
“Dave was the Roy of the Rovers of football,” said Mullers. “He had great skills like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo today, but they couldn't play in every position.
“When he joined Derby, we [Tottenham] went up to play them. I had taken over the captaincy and we shook hands. He said, ‘We’re going to stuff you today’ and, true to form, they beat us 5-0.
“I just wanted to copy the things that he did when I became captain. He was the best all-round footballer who has ever lived, the most influential footballer I’ve ever met, and one of the bravest of all leaders.
“He was built like a tank and I don’t think there will be anybody built like him again. It’s just a shame he wasn’t English. If he was, I’m sure we would have had far more success.”
We send our condolences to Dave’s family and friends at this very sad time.
Watch Derby County's tribute to Dave Mackay below