This is part of the continuing series of articles looking back at Arsenal from the perspective of the managers. There is an index to the series at “The Managers” – from which you will notice we still have a long way to go – but quite a bit has been written thus far. If you want to add anything to any article you will be able to trace it through that index. And indeed – if you would like to tackle any part of the history series not yet written about, please do get in touch: Tony.Attwood@aisa.org
At the moment we are currently looking at the Terry Neill era, having written a fair amount about Bertie Mee. You can see exactly how Terry Neill got on as a manager from these two pieces…
- Arsenal managers analysed by top four finishes
- Arsenal’s managers analysed by history, games and success
Terry Neill needed to refresh the team, and he did this with such key players as MacDonald (introduced to the first team in 1976/77), Rix (1976/7), Jennings (1977/8), and Sunderland (1977/78).
Malcolm MacDonald played just two full seasons for Arsenal, and then four games in his final season (1978/9).
He was born in Fulham on 7 January 1950, and played for Tonbridge, Fulham (signed by Bobby Robson for £1000), Luton Town, Newcastle United and finally Arsenal. In all he played 84 league games for us and scored 42 goals – a remarkable record.
Curiously, for a man remembered as a centre forward he started as a full back.
With Luton Town Malcolm scored 49 goals in 88 games, which then inevitably led to his move to one of the big clubs: in this case Newcastle. He scored three goals in his first match against Liverpool – which is what made his reputation there.
In 1975 he scored all five goals in an England victory over Cyprus, but after than only scored one other for his country in a total of 14 games.
The fee for the move to Arsenal was reported rather oddly to be £333,333.33, although I can’t find out why. He was injured playing against Rotherham in the league cup in 1978 which is what cut his third and final season so short. He did try a comeback in Sweden but it didn’t work out and he retired aged 29.
There is no doubt that without that injury he could have helped Arsenal to greater things and his loss was a major blow. He did come on and play in the final game of the 1978/9 season – a 1-1 draw away to Chelsea in which he scored our goal. but for most of that season it was Stapleton who took the number 9 shirt, with Gatting, Price and Walford having the number 10 at different times.
Malcolm managed Fulham from 1980 to 1984, after retirement, and Huddersfield in 1987/8. He had some success with Fulham but could not achieve promotion and Huddersfield were relegated under him.
After football a failed business venture, a divorce and lack of success as a manager clearly affected him seriously and he suffered in his personal life although these days he appears to be on much firmer ground and he works as a broadcaster.