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.
"I retired before the start of the 1979/80 season – I remember walking out through the East Stand entrance one last time, looking left and right down Avenell Road, and crying. It was a horrible moment – I was only 29 but I was no longer a professional footballer"
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.
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.
This list of 50 Gunners Greatest Players was determined by tens of thousands of Arsenal fans from across the world. The vote took place on the club’s official website in 2008. To help prevent multiple voting by a single person, only registered members of Arsenal.com could take part.
Copyright 2019 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.