We are sad to bring the news that former Walsall manager Dave Mackay has passed away aged 80.
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. 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.
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.
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 semi-finals of the FA Cup,and an unfortunate extra time second-round exit to Real Madrid in the 1975-76 European Cup.
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.
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.
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.
Although his stint at Walsall was a short one in which we finished ninth in his only season as Walsall boss he will be remembered as a footballing great.
Rest In Peace Dave Mackay.