It was 1971 and 21 year old Malcolm MacDonald, who was to go on to become another one of our legendary centre forwards, had arrived. A transfer from Luton Town costing an eye watering £180,000, huge money at that time, he would go on to take not only Newcastle but a lot of the country by storm.
Scoring a hat trick on his home debut against a Liverpool side which featured the young Kevin Keegan, and while attempting to go for a fourth, had a collision with the keeper which saw him being stretchered off to rapturous applause, a new Geordie hero was born. From that moment Newcastle fans adored him.
“Supermac” as he became known was a flamboyant character. He enjoyed the good life; nightclubs, champagne, cigars, eating out at expensive restaurants; always well dressed (if you can call 70’s fashion good) with his own mens clothes boutique in the Newgate precinct. Crowds flocked there to try to catch a glance of their idol.
He was a devastating all round striker, with blistering pace, power and great goal scoring ability. His confidence and willingness to always go for goal meant he netted 95 goals in 187 league matches at Newcastle during his 5 years on Tyneside averaging one goal every other game. Winning 14 caps for England he scored all 5 goals in the 5-0 win over Cyprus in the 1975 European Championship qualifier at Wembley. It was strange to hear the old Wembley stadium ringing to the famous geordie chant of ‘Supermac! Supermac!’
However the appointment of Gordon Lee as the Newcastle manager was the end of Supermac’s reign on Tyneside and Lee quickly sold him to Arsenal at the start of the 1976/77 season where his prolific goal scoring continued. This caused outrage on Tyneside, no longer would be able to watch the sight of Supermac with his huge sideburns, and characteristic bandy legged running knocking goals in for fun. He left in flamboyant style taking a private jet to whisk him back down South.
Knee injury forced him out of the game at the young age of 29. After spells in management at Fulham where he built a good team out of nothing and briefly at Huddersfield, life caught up with him in the mid 1990’s and an increasing dependence on whiskey to try to dull the pain of the knee injury, a complicated personal life, bankruptcy and probably the frustration of unfulfilled potential started to the downward spiral. This culminated in a well documented battle with drink which to his credit he conquered.
Settling in the North East we now know SuperMac as the football analyst on the radio. Love him or hate him, always a controversial figure, you can’t help remember that glorious goal scoring ability that we would have given anything for last season.