It was May 1976 and Newcastle United superstar center-forward Malcolm Macdonald was leaving for new pastures after five seasons at St James’ Park.
Much to the dismay of fans, the club and their manager Gordon Lee had accepted an offer of £ 333,333 from Arsenal for the prolific London-born striker.
Supermac signed for the Magpies in a 3-0 win over Spurs at White Hart Lane at the end of April. He’s scored twice and even now, 45 years later, the sheer folly of selling him seems staggering.
Just two years later, United were relegated to the second tier of football, beginning a long period of decline for the club on and off the pitch.
It might have been a coincidence, but at the same time that the 26-year-old No.9 was sold to Arsenal, there was a sale at the trendy downtown boutique he owned.
Mags of the 1970s might well remember the store at Newgate Shopping Center in Newcastle. As kids, many of us young fans would walk outside, hoping to get a glimpse of our idol.
For The Exclusive Man opened in May 1972 at the end of the young striker’s superb first season at the club. His 30 goals (imagine that today) and his filibuster style had earned him instant hero status among supporters and a call to Sir Alf Ramsey’s England squad.
The Chronicle covered the opening of the new store under the headline “Mac Hopes To Score In The Fashion Game”.
“The three-piece suits will be available from £ 28, and the two-piece suits in blue or peach denim with 26-inch stockings will cost £ 21,” we reported.
Mac and business partner Alan Owen also got into a little fashion design job.
“They have designed their own square button shirts with spaniel collars and have a very wide range of boldly printed shirts in an assortment of colors.”
Years later, remembering the store, Malcolm told ChronicleLive, “It was officially opened by athlete Brendan Foster who was booming at the time.
“There were crowds there, and the place was swarming, both inside the mall – and outside.
“It was flares, wide lapels and kipper ties,” Malcolm added. “They were good quality products, sold at reasonable prices.
“I used to wear the equipment, of course, and most of the Newcastle United squad also shopped there.
“Even today, people still ask me about the store.”
Supermac’s business partner continued to run the store after the striker left for Arsenal in the summer of 1976, and he traded until the 1980s.
Newgate Shopping Center was demolished in 2016 and a hotel – the Maldron – can be found on the site today.
This month marks the 50th anniversary of Malcolm Macdonald signing for Newcastle United. He lit St James’ Park between 1971 and 1976, scoring 138 goals in 257 appearances. The 71-year-old remains the hero of the fans to this day.
Don’t forget to check out our The way of memory Local history website that is full of archival photographs and has an easy-to-use image colorizer.