It was May 1972 and a remarkable first season at Newcastle United had just drawn to a close for 22-year-old Malcolm Macdonald.
Signed for a club record £180,000 fee one year earlier, the buccaneering centre-forward had attained instant hero status at St James’ Park, smashing in 30 goals and earning a call-up to Sir Alf Ramsey’s England squad. Never far away 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 men’s clothing store in Newcastle city centre.
The shop in the Newgate Shopping Centre, called Malcolm Macdonald: For The Exclusive Man, would open for business on May 16, 1972 – smack bang in the middle of a fashion era characterised by flared trousers, wide lapels, kipper ties and double denim.
READ MORE: From Barley Mow to Stereo Bar – the life and times of a lost Newcastle pub
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 his business partner Alan Owen have also been dabbling in a little fashion design work.
“They have designed their own square-buttoned shirts with spaniel collars and are stocking a very wide range of boldly printed shirts in an assortment of colours. The boutique is open-plan and will also sell knitwear, better-quality T-shirts, underwear, ties, silk handkerchieves, and a small selection of shoes, some of which have been designed by Mac and Alan themselves.”
A Chronicle advert for a sale at the shop in early 1974 shows some of the products and prices on offer. How about a Tweed jacket for £18 or a pair of shoes for £8.75? The shop proved to be a big success. Some readers might remember buying their 1970s clobber there, while those of us who were kids at the time might recall hanging around outside the shop hoping for a glimpse of our footballing idol.
Looking back years later, Malcolm told us: “It was officially opened by Tyneside athlete Brendan Foster who was up-and-coming at the time. There were crowds there, and the place was heaving, both inside the shopping centre – and outside.
“It was flares, wide lapels and kipper ties. It was good quality stuff, sold at a 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 about the shop.”
In the summer of 1976 and at the peak of his powers, Macdonald was controversially sold to Arsenal for £333,333, breaking the hearts of legions of Newcastle United fans. In the event, Supermac’s business partner continued to run the shop after the striker headed south and it traded until the 1980s.
The Newgate Shopping Centre was demolished in 2016, and a hotel – the Maldron – is located on the site today.