Few arrivals at Highbury sparked as much excitement as Malcolm Macdonald's.
'SuperMac' was a legend on Tyneside after topping Newcastle's scoring charts for five consecutive seasons. No wonder Arsenal fans had a spring in their step when Macdonald swapped the North East for North London in August 1976.
|Arsenal Career||1976 - 1979|
|Appearances||108 (107 starts, 1 as a sub)|
For two seasons Macdonald delivered what was expected - a hatful of goals. His partnership with Frank Stapleton became one of the most potent in Arsenal's history and, after two successive relegation battles, the Club was on the up again.
Macdonald's pace and power was complemented by a ferocious shot and great heading ability. Those attributes brought him 29 goals in his first season at Highbury, including a looping header against his old club Newcastle in December 1976.
Macdonald's second season followed the same pattern but, by the New Year, knee trouble began to affect his mobility. The injury was certainly responsible for a lacklustre performance in Arsenal's FA Cup Final defeat against Ipswich in May 1978.
Worse was to follow. After just a handful of appearances the following season, his knee injury forced Macdonald to retire at the age of 29. It was a huge blow for the player and also for his club, who had championship aspirations again thanks to their prolific strikeforce of Macdonald and Stapleton.
Macdonald ended his Arsenal career with an impressive tally of 57 goals in 108 appearances. A clean bill of health would have surely brought many, many more.
WHAT THE FANS SAID:
As a 12 year old boy standing in the schoolboys' enclosure at Highbury, Supermac was everything a hero could be. When he came to us he was already a superstar and probably the most sought-after player around at the time. Even his transfer fee at the time stood out, a reported £333,333. Supermac was at Arsenal and I remember all the excitement surrounding him. Every match at Highbury I was willing him to score and when he did I would go crazy. One time during the warm-up before the match, Supermac came towards where I was standing to retrieve a ball and I shouted out his name. he looked straight at me and winked. It may not seem much but when you're 12 and your hero winks at you it's a really big deal.
Charalambos Charalambous, Chingford