Dave Mackay: Roy McFarland remembers 'fearless' friend

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay played alongside and managed Roy McFarland at Derby

Dave Mackay, the former Tottenham, Derby County, Hearts and Scotland midfielder, has died, aged 80.

Ex-Derby defender and manager Roy McFarland, who played with and for Mackay, remembers a "fearless" man and a great player.

Mackay the player

"He was a tremendous player - a great player. People tend to forget about the ability he had. He was a tough guy and brave, but more importantly he had all the skills required to play anywhere in the team.

"I was 20 years of age when he came to Derby [in 1968] and there was John Robson, John McGovern, Kevin Hector, John O'Hare - all of us very young players and the majority of us had not experienced real success.

"There was an opportunity for all of us. Brian Clough brought in Dave Mackay and what an experience it was to play with him.

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay, seen here in action at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge in 1969, was Derby's "leader" in the Division Two title-winning team of 1968-69

"He taught me everything. But it wasn't just me, he taught the senior players too. Willie Carlin, Alan Durban, Alan Hinton, Les Green - he was unbelievable in terms of what he could do and he was brave.

"The majority of the pictures you see of Dave are with his chest out and that's how he played and how he lived his life.

Dave Mackay factfile
1958: Captains Hearts to the Scottish league title
1959: Joins Tottenham from Hearts in a £32,000 deal
1961: Wins the league and FA Cup double with Tottenham. He won two further FA Cups at Tottenham, in 1962 and 1967
1968: Sold to Second Division Derby County for £5,000, where he helped Brian Clough's side gain promotion to the First Division in his first season
1969: Named joint winner of the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award
1971: Appointed player-manager of Swindon Town
1972: Becomes manager of Nottingham Forest
1973: Succeeds Brian Clough as manager of Derby County
1975: Leads Derby County to the league title
1977-1995: Manages Walsall, Birmingham City and Doncaster, and a number of clubs in the Middle East
2002: Made an inaugural inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame
2015: Dies aged 80

"Every player in that 68-69 team has wonderful stories about him and what he did in terms of how he helped us to become better players.

"What a leader he was. Nobody else could have done that at the time.

"Mackay was the leader and he was the star player. Brian and Peter [Taylor] were the people off the pitch that made us a great team and they managed us and coached us, but Mackay was the leader.

Dave Mackay (right)
Brian Clough and Peter Taylor both said Dave Mackay was one of the best signings they made

"He had won the [league and FA Cup] double with Tottenham. When he came to us, he had all the medals but typically of his attitude and ability, he took a bunch of young, inexperienced players and all of a sudden we had a guy who took us there."

Mackay the manager

"He came into a volatile situation because everybody at the club wanted Brian Clough and Peter Taylor back and that was obvious why because of what they had done to our careers.

"Dave had left and gone to Swindon and ended up at Nottingham Forest as manager, so for him to take it on after Brian and Peter was a tough legacy in terms of the atmosphere. But he calmed everyone down.

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay led Derby County to the First Division league title in 1975

"He brought in Francis Lee - one of his first signings - and other quality players who were adding to what Derby was about and the success we were having.

"I watched the majority of that season and only got back in the team for the last four games. I had snapped my Achilles, but I watched home and away and the whole team deserved to end up on top."

Mackay the man

"He was fearless. A great friend. There are loads and loads of stories about Dave and his generosity and what he was like as a person, but the main thing with Dave throughout his life was that he was fearless.

"Whatever was in front of him he would just walk straight through it and could handle it.

"He was a gentleman. This brashness in terms of what he was like on the football field belies what a great man he was. He was unique as a person."

Dave Mackay
"Whatever was in front of him he would just walk straight through it and could handle it"

Roy McFarland was talking to BBC Radio Derby's Ian Skye.

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