The OzSoccer Articles

Vale Jimmy Mackay


The following article was written by Greg Stock, with help from Laurie Schwab and John Punshon, for the Studs-Up fanzine on the occasion of the demise of Jimmy Mackay

Born in Scotland in 1943, Mackays first taste of first division football came with ten appearances with Scottish side Airdrie. Embarking on a two year working holiday in 1965 he came to Australia and was quickly snapped up by Melbourne Croatia. Instead of returning to Scotland Mackay married, decided to carve out a career in Australian soccer.

Mackay made his Australian debut on the 1970 Asian Tour against the Kowloon Bus Company club side and in total made 52 appearances scoring 5 goals. His club career from 1965 to 1972 was with Melbourne Croatia but for two seasons in 1973 and 74 he played for Hakoah-Eastern Suburbs in Sydney. He returned to Melbourne and signed with South Melbourne in 1975 till his retiremen in April 1977. In 1979 he made a brief comeback with a side in the north of Victoria.

A gentleman both on and off the field it was Mackays enormous workrate in partnership with Jimmy Rooney that was a trademark of the 1974 Socceroos. Whether in attack or defence Mackay was creative and often brilliant with his ability to read a game and be in the right place at the right time. But it was his famous goal against the South Korean side that won him the most bouquets. The goal was a 30 yard screamer which catapulted Australia into its first and only World Cup Finals. After two draws in Sydney and Seoul the match in neutral Hong Kong was to be the decider and it was Mackay who literally made the game his own. Former Socceroo defender Doug Utjesenovic describes the moment "That was one of the freakiest goals. You could try a million times to score the exact goal (and never do it). There was a free kick, the ball was knocked back and he ran onto the ball. It was a real thunderbolt."

In November 1997 the 1974 Socceroos were rewarded with a lap around the MCG prior to the World Cup Qualifier between Australia and Iran. In front of 85,000 people a grateful public were finally able to pay their respects to a side that had put Australia on the soccer map. It was a fitting reward for a man who had given his all for the green and gold shirt and with one strike had taken his team to immortal status in Australian soccer history.

Vale Jimmy Mackay.