Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Toon 1970s Superstar Malcolm Macdonald at 65; Dave Morton Enjoyed a Question and Answer Session with His Boyhood Newcastle United Hero, Malcolm Macdonald Who Is 65 Today (Part II Tomorrow)

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Toon 1970s Superstar Malcolm Macdonald at 65; Dave Morton Enjoyed a Question and Answer Session with His Boyhood Newcastle United Hero, Malcolm Macdonald Who Is 65 Today (Part II Tomorrow)

Article excerpt

THE years pass oh, so quickly, and it's hard to believe Malcolm Macdonald is eligible to pick up his free bus pass today.

For a generation of Newcastle United fans, Supermac was the undisputed king of Tyneside. Signed by manager Joe Harvey for a massive PS180,000 in 1971, Macdonald became a Tyneside legend at St James' Park.

His return of 121 goals in five seasons tells only half the story.

The bustling Londoner's electric pace and power, allied to natural swagger and supreme self-confidence were deeply appealing to a Geordie public in need of a hero during the sometimes dark days of the '70s.

His first season saw him net an incredible 30 goals and a call-up to Sir Alf Ramsay's England squad at the age of 22.

Subsequent seasons in black and white saw him | Why did you choose to |join Newcastle United from Luton Town in 1971? THEY were really positive about signing me. I'd heard noises early in '71 that Newcastle were keen on me, and that happened to be the case.

There'd been whispers about Chelsea and Manchester United, but it was Tyneside I was destined for. Remember, Newcastle has just recently won the Fairs Cup and they'd bought some good players so there was clearly ambition within the corridors of St James' Park. Luton manager, Alec Stock, sent me up to meet Newcastle boss Joe Harvey to thrash out the deal at a secret hotel meeting.

However, on meeting score 24, 28, 32, and 24 times. Imagine that today. A recent feature by the Chronicle sport team estimated Supermac would be worth PS50m at current Premier League prices.

In 1976, he was controversially sold to Arsenal for PS333,333 by manager Gordon Lee, before a knee injury ended his career prematurely in 1979.

Macdonald, like many ex-pros, has faced off-field challenges in the decades since he hung up his boots.

But today, he is happily settled on Tyneside, where he has lived for many years, and works as a football pundit, broadcaster and journalist. He is fondly remembered in the region as one of Newcastle United's greatest ever players We asked him a series of question, mainly about his time at St James' Park.

Happy 65th birthday to Malcolm Macdonald.

and shaking Joe's hand, the first thing he said was "What the hell are you playing at?" which came as a bit of a surprise.

The problem was I'd just scored a hat-trick for Luton, and Joe said: "Those three goals have cost us thirty grand."

It turned out a fee of PS150,000 had been agreed, but that hat-trick meant the final fee would be PS180,000.

| What do you remember |of your home debut, the 3-2 win against Liverpool? IT'S a game that's been well-documented, but I remember that even very early on in my Newcastle career, we played some really neat, cute stuff.

If you watch the footage of that game today, you can see the interplay between myself and the likes of Terry Hibbitt and John Tudor. There was an understanding there straight away.

The game was the stuff of dreams really, and I scored a hat-trick. The pick of the goals was the second one at the Gallowgate End where I turned on the edge of the 18-yard box and just buried it.

The Geordie public knew straight away what I was all about.

After the third goal, the cheering turned into a crowd chant: "Supermac, superstar, how many goals have you scored so far?" The chant was adapted from that famous song in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, of course - and it was almost as if the crowd had been given song sheets. It was so spontaneous. An amazing day.

What was Joe Harvey |like as a manager? he could convey a message with just a glance if he was displeased.

He had very fierce eyes and that was often enough. He was very rational in the dressing room.

One little ritual he had, JOE was from the old school and he could get his message across very subtly.

He didn't rant and rave, or use the "hair-dryer" as people might imagine, but which might surprise people, is that if we played well, he'd light up a couple of cigarettes as we entered the dressing room, hand one each to me and Terry Hibbit and say "well done". …

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