It was May 1972 and a remarkable first season at Newcastle United had just ended for 22-year-old Malcolm Macdonald.
Signed for a club-record £180,000 a year earlier, the buccaneering centre-forward had achieved instant hero status at St James’ Park, scoring 30 goals and earning a call-up to Sir Alf Ramsey. Never far from the headlines of the Evening Chronicle, the flamboyant Londoner was in the paper again this week 50 years ago with the news that he was opening his own high-end menswear boutique in Newcastle city center .
The Newgate Mall boutique, called Malcolm Macdonald: For The Exclusive Man, will open on May 16, 1972 – right in the middle of a fashion era characterized by flared trousers, wide lapels, kipper ties and a double jeans.
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We reported: “Three-piece suits will be available from £28, and two-piece denim suits in blue or peach with 26-inch bottoms will cost £21. Mac and business partner Alan Owen also tried a fashionable little design work.
“They have designed their own square button shirts with spaniel collars and stock a very wide range of bold print shirts in an assortment of colors. The shop is open plan and will also sell knitwear, better quality, underwear, ties, silk handkerchiefs and a small selection of shoes, some of which were designed by Mac and Alan themselves.”
A Chronicle ad for a sale at the store in early 1974 shows some of the products and prices on offer. How about an £18 tweed jacket or an £8.75 pair of shoes? The shop turned out to be a great success. Some readers might remember buying their 1970s clobber there, while those of us who were kids then might remember hanging around the store hoping to catch a glimpse of our football idol.
Years later, Malcolm told us: “It was officially opened by Tyneside athlete Brendan Foster, who was promising at the time.
“It was flares, wide lapels and kipper ties. It was good quality stuff, sold at reasonable prices. I used to wear the gear, of course, and most of the Newcastle United squad shopped there too. Even today, people still ask me questions about the store.
In the summer of 1976 and at the height of his powers, Macdonald was controversially sold to Arsenal for £333,333, breaking the hearts of legions of Newcastle United fans. As it happens, Supermac’s business partner continued to run the store after the attacker headed south and it traded until the 1980s.
The Newgate Shopping Center was demolished in 2016 and a hotel – the Maldron – stands on the site today.