The wife texted me yesterday. “Did I want a ticket to see any Macdonald?”

Reasonably enough, I was a little taken aback. At last, finally, after 36 long years, I thought we were actually singing from the same hymn sheet. Having shown almost zero interest in the other great love of my life, she was offering to book an audience with the one and only Malcolm Macdonald, the bandy-legged, lightning fast, toothless but ruthless centre-forward who is probably still giving Colin Waldron nightmares, a mere 43 years after the Burnley defender tried and failed to wrestle Supermac to the floor seconds before he struck the first of his two goals in Newcastle’s triumphant FA Cup semi-final. With his right foot, by the way.

On an unforgettable day at Hillsborough on March 30, 1974.

Check the footage below if you don’t believe “any Macdonald” found the net with his right foot. That’s not the only surprise. Years after the event he tells a television interviewer, in atypical style, how Burnley “absolutely murdered us” in the first half. Supermac had many attributes in his prime but modesty was not among them.

From the day he arrived at St James’ Park in a chauffeured Rolls-Royce in the summer of 1971, aged 21, he seemed destined to hit the heights, even though he had not until then played in the top flight. In geographical terms he was as much a part of the Cockney Mafia as Mike Ashley, though that counted not one jot to the adoring fans. Which proves yet again that Newcastle United supporters are not prejudiced against southerners, they simply hate being taken for a ride. A converted full-back with a left foot capable of firing cannonball-like shots, Macdonald scored memorable goal after memorable goal before departing for a small club in London five years later.

My favourite (and the one he singles out as his finest in black-and-white stripes) was a first-time piledriver that would have broken all but the strongest of onion bags. He struck it from 20-plus yards in a run-of-the-mill league game against Leicester City at the end of a flowing move started on the edge of our box by Alan Kennedy and carried on by Irving Nattrass rampaging down the right wing. Or at least that’s how I recall it. The only minor flaw was that I was watching from the Gallowgate End as United powered towards the Leazes, my usual vantage point. What I would give to have seen the ball rocket towards me.

No television cameras were there that day, so the poor unfortunates unwilling or unable to attend will just have to rely on my unreliable memory. Alternatively, they could ask Supermac, who in his post-match interview said he knew the Leicester keeper was a bit of a novice. How so? Because a young Mark Wallington bothered to dive, Macdonald replied. The implication was that Wallington’s predecessor, a certain Peter Shilton, who eventually played 125 times for England would have more sensibly merely stood and applauded.

Supermac had his critics, mainly because he was considered by some to be a lazy forward who contributed little to the team ethic. But his goals to games record of 138 from 257 silenced those killjoys.

And in the days when most fans just rocked up to pay at the turnstiles, he was worth a few thousand on the gate. Chronicle stalwart John Gibson must have written dozens of “Supermac fitness test” stories on Thursdays and Fridays, keeping alive the faint prospect of our talisman recovering from injury. If he was definitely out, the attendance was definitely down.

Back to the text. Excitement barely contained, I asked Mrs R for details of when and where Supermac would be appearing. Bloody predictive texting. The initial message should have asked: “Did I want a ticket to see Amy Macdonald?”

Not at £49.50 plus booking fee, thanks very much. And don’t bother calling me Mr Rock ‘n’ Roll.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

(Watch below the two Malcolm MacDonald goals that defeated Burnley 43 years ago today. More than that though just soak up the incredible atmosphere from back in the day. If you want to go straight to the goals they are at 16.45 and 24.06 – Enjoy)



  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    He used to live beside me & he was always out walking his dog, he was very approachable and a nice guy to talk to. he moved on up to Gosforth i think.
    i never seen him play but my dad did

    • Leazesl Ender

      He lives at Seaton Sluice doesn’t he near Alexander Hurst of Gallowgate flags fame

      • Porciestreet

        Travelled down with me mates in the car and parked about a mile from the stadium. We thought we were much closer judging by the crowd numbers and I was already losing my voice when we got there . Right in the middle of the “Spion Cop” with a lot of lads from the Leazes end, like home from home. I dont think we stopped screaming till after the final whistle. An absolutely fabulous day away.
        I seriously tried to buy anything at all to drink on the way back to the car but everything was either sold out or shut. How ever, opposite the car was a chemist and the only thing we could find was 5h!tloads of Lucozade which I still enjoy to this day. It took about 3 days to get me voice back…Very happy days indeed.

  • hetonmag

    I was at the Leicester game as well Simon and also in the Gallowgate end my memory of the goal was slightly different the way I saw it was goalkeeper to Nattrass a glorious pass from right to left into super Mac’s path and wallop what a goal.

    • Simon Ritter

      As I say, Hetonmag, the old memory plays tricks. But I’m fairly sure Kennedy played a square pass across the front of our box (something we were told as kids never to do) to Nattrass, who galloped down the wing and squared it back into Supermac’s stride. About 15 seconds of pure magic; the reason you watch year after year of dross, on the off chance that something fantastic will lift you off your feet.

      • hetonmag

        Wished it had been on camera mate but you are correct the mind does play tricks over the year’s.

    • TerryC

      The next day in the papers, Macdonald said that a young Mark Wallington showed his inexperience by even trying to attempt to save it. lol

  • Steve Hughes

    That ball by Hibbitt for the second goal!!!

  • nevfur

    My second hero as a lad after the Mighty Wyn. My biggest memories apart from the semi v Burnley are a stormer away at Bolton in the FA cup 1976 I think. Apart from Sunderland the first away game I ever went to on the train with my dad.
    Also a brilliant diving header in the Gallowgate goal to beat Leeds 1-0. The packed crowd went mental including me and my dad chinned someone for knocking off his glasses. Ah the terraces, happy days lol

  • Rich Lawson

    1st time I’ve watched it since the day.As a callow teen (having won a ticket in the postal draw for the folks who attended a miserable 0-0 draw with Everton) got on a packed supporters train in the morning,had just enough money for one beer on the way to the ground,what a great game,the euphoria in the ground and on the way home was unbelievable,yet another reason why we should not be putting out a weakened team for any cup match ?

    • HappyToons

      Yeah, I went to every game that year and didn’t get a ticket. 40,000 turned up for the midweek Everton game. So many loyal fans missed out that they introduced a token system, so I got my deserved ticket for the 76 final.

  • Mark Harrison

    I was only 8 in 1974 at the time but the Burnaly game was talked about by older family members and I grew up on the stories. There was about 5 minutes of clips on the first history video, (released 1990 ish I think?) Me and a few mates used to play the clips constantly and literally jump around in his living room, going mental when MacDonald scored the second, as if it was live. Brian Moore almost screaming when it went in and ‘that was the ball by Hibbitt and what a magnificent ball.” The commentary was as much a part of if for us. This match summed up everything it is to be a Newcastle fan and had half a dozen blokes on their early twenties completely emotional 16 years or whatever after the match. For me it is one of the greatest bits of Newcastle history and I wasn’t even there. Still brings a tear to my eye, even at 50. Terry Hibbitt RIP

    • Scottpaige

      My old man said it was best goal super Mac ever scored. He was at that game.

  • mike

    a brilliant player when he got the ball all the crowd had a intake of breath as to what would happen next. the excitement was amazing i loved him to death as a kid and i even went into his fashion shop for a look! (yuk!!) ha ha .if you get the chance read his book, try and see him do his after dinner speeches warts an all but a REAL bloke!!!