He was fearless, and could look after himself in an era where rough justice was the norm on the pitch.
Spurs’ half man half tank of a midfielder certainly wasn’t afraid to stand his ground and there are stories of blazing rows with White Hart Lane overlord Bill Nicholson.
And those all-action displays in the centre, as well as endearing him to the fans, also landed him in trouble. Opponents knew it was easy to rile Mullery; he was quick to lose his temper and he made history in 1968 against Yugoslavia when he became the first England player to be sent off during a game.
Even when the crowd got on his back, he would give it straight back and, in Hunter Davies’ book, The Glory Game – one of the best sports books ever written – he revealed the worst scrap he ever got himself into.
Davies had been granted exclusive access to all areas of the club for the duration of the 1971/72 season and Mullery was recalling an incident from the previous year when him and his wife, June as well as the player's dad, were approached by a fan outside White Hart Lane.
They were making their way to the car when “this yob opened the door and pushed my wife and said I was fucking useless,” he explained.
Of course that was like a red rag to a bull. “I got out [of the car], took me jacket off, and knocked him out.
“The police were rushing round trying to calm me down, and I began fighting the police,” he said, adding that it took three of them to eventually send him on his way.
“I must have been mad.” True, and presumably now he feels incredibly lucky to have played in an era without camera phones, Twitter and Instagram.
Not that Mullery’s evening wasn’t without worry, a feeling compounded when a couple of reporters arrived at his front door.
“They said they’d interviewed the boy and got a full statement,” he told Davies, explaining the journalists told him the kid would prosecute as they read his statement to Mullery.
“It was right, word for word. I let them finish and said if one word was printed I’d sue them for everything they’ve got.”
Nothing made it into the papers the following day and when he turned up on Monday for work, Bill Nicholson called him in where the young lad he had laid out was waiting.
Mullery apologised and the yob – a Spurs 'fan' – agreed not to sue.
“Luckily nothing came out in the papers about it.”
Mullery left Tottenham in 1972 after eight years, having joined from Fulham for £72,500. During his time in north London he won the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup.