Book review: Dave Mackay; Football’s Braveheart by Mike Donovan

Book review: Dave Mackay; Football’s Braveheart by Mike Donovan

There have been many great players that have played for Tottenham; Mackay, Greaves, Hoddle, Jones, White, Jennings, Ardiles, Villa, Blanchflower and the list goes on, and one of these great names, I mentioned – a true legend – has just had a book written about him. Yes, Mike Donovan has just written a tome of a book about our legendary player.

Mike Donovan, an award-winning author, has written numerous books on Tottenham Hotspur. Mike has also been following Spurs since the 60s, so he is well qualified to put pen to paper about one of his (our) heroes. Mike’s other books include The King of White Hart Lane (Alan Gilzean), Glory, Glory Lane, Spurs’ greatest games, Spurs’ Unsung hero (Terry Dyson) and Takenote!  about Darren Anderton. And I’ve read them all. All 100% enjoyable reads. I’ve been fortunate to meet these footballers, Mike has mentioned, and in the Dave Mackay book, I even reminisce about my experience with Dave Mackay in his fans section at the end of the book (true!).

David Craig Mackay was born on 14 November 1934  and was a successful football player and then a manager of a Division one trophy-winning team. Dave was first known for a highly successful playing career with Heart of Midlothian, then in 1959, he was poached by Tottenham. From there, he never looked back, becoming a  Double-winning medal holder in the famous 1961 Spurs side. After playing for Spurs, he played for Derby County, where he won another league medal and then as their gaffer, he won the Division One league title.

Dave also represented Scotland 22 times and was selected for their 1958 FIFA World Cup squad. Our club described him as one of our greatest players and was known as ‘the heartbeat’ of that double team he graced.

Mike Donovan goes deep into his career/ and life and reading his book, you get an accurate account of this legend. You get a feel of the man and what he did to make his name synonymous with our club, not just our club, but Derby County and the footballing world.

This book is foreworded by his son Derek Mackay and the legendary Denis Law.

The book is broken down into six parts: Beginnings, Heart of Midlothian, Tottenham Hotspur, Derby County, Management and Post career. But that isn’t the end of Mike Donovan’s thoroughly researched book. There are sections for Eulogy, Historians, Fans (where I play my small part, along with others), Poets, Quite interesting (facts) and then to his Honours and career record.

All this in 507 pages; a fantastic ride from when he was born in 1934 to his sad death in 2015 and beyond. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the astonishing photos that accompany this fantastic tome of a book.

His major Honours


Heart of Midlothian

Scottish League Division One: 1957–58

Scottish Cup: 1955–56

Scottish League Cup: 1954–55, 1958–59

Tottenham Hotspur

Football League First Division: 1960–61

FA Cup: 1960–61, 1961–62, 1966–67

European Cup Winner’s Cup: 1962–63

FA Charity Shield: 1961 (won), 1962 (won), 1967 (shared)

Derby County

Football League Second Division: 1968–69

Watney Cup: 1970


Derby County

Football League First Division: 1974–75

FA Charity Shield: 1975

Senior career*

Years         Team         Apps          (Gls)

1953–1959         Heart of Midlothian   135   (25)

1959–1968         Tottenham Hotspur   268   (42)

1968–1971         Derby County   122   (5)

1971–1972         Swindon Town  26     (1)

Total          601   (82)

National team

1954–1958         Scotland U23    4       (1)

1957–1965         Scotland   22     (4)

1957–1958         Scottish League XI     3       (0)

1958 SFL trial v SFA     1       (0)

1959–1962         SFA trial v SFL     3       (2)

Teams managed

1971–1972         Swindon Town

1972–1973         Nottingham Forest

1973–1976         Derby County

1977–1978         Walsall

1978 Al-Arabi Kuwait

1983 Al-Shabab

1987 Al-Arabi Kuwait

1987–1989         Doncaster Rovers

1989–1991         Birmingham City

1991–1993         Zamalek

1994–1997         Qatar

Trust me, this is a great book and will be a classic (have no doubt). If you are a Spurs fan and interested in the club’s history and players, then this is a must book for you!

If you are interested in seeing the 1972 UEFA CUP WINNING SPURS TEAM, click on the link below. They will be proudly presented to you in a live Christmas Show.  That is Martin Chivers, Steve Perryman, Phil Beal, John Pratt, Pat Jennings and Alan Mullery all in front of you in their full glory for your pleasure.

That will be On December 6th 2021 (Monday), Agent Fox Media Limited and Mooney and Lambert are proud to be sponsoring The Spurs Show LIVE CHRISTMAS SHOW at The 100 Club. With no less than SIX members giving a Q&A.

Click “HERE”, and full details will be revealed.

All the best, Glenn

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