Ex-Hatter Malcolm Macdonald credits former Luton boss Harry Haslam in helping him beat the cloggers

Striker never allowed his opponents to see his pain
Ex-Luton forward Malcolm Macdonald with team-mate Mike KeenEx-Luton forward Malcolm Macdonald with team-mate Mike Keen
Ex-Luton forward Malcolm Macdonald with team-mate Mike Keen

Former Luton striker Malcolm Macdonald revealed that a chat with ex-Town boss Harry Haslam was the main reason he was able to complete a century of games for the Hatters in just two seasons.

Back in 1969 and aged just 19 at the time, Macdonald headed to Kenilworth Road from Fulham, going on to play on to play 101 times, scoring a hugely impressive 58 goals.

During the attacker's two league campaigns for Town, he didn’t miss a single match, which for a striker in the those days, up against some no-nonsense centre halves, is no mean feat.

However, it was a chat with Haslam when the pair were at Tonbridge Angels together prior to his move to Craven Cottage, that led to Macdonald being so robust, as he said: “There was a whole different mentality back there and what I had learned at Tonbridge, and this was from Harry Haslam, no matter how much it hurts, get up, jog away.

“He said ‘you can limp in your head, but you don’t limp for an opponent to see it,’ and I found it stood me in very good stead, as playing in the Southern League, there were some right cloggers.

“They clog you and you just get up and walk away and they wouldn't do it again.

“So I learned that at Tonbridge and it didn't matter how hard I was hit, I was not going to go down.”

Macdonald admitted he had come close just the once to having to miss a Luton match, but thankfully the weather intervened.

He continued: “I had an ankle injury one time and we travelled to Mansfield, but we got there and because it was icy, it was postponed.

"I was carrying a really dodgy ankle from the game before, and I was so relieved, because I really wasn't sure if I was going to be able to start.

"It was put off until the end of the season and that really was the only time I got a bit of a knock.

"I kept the physio busy with all sorts of little things, but basically you play with the knocks, it’s all so different these days.”

Macdonald was part of a successful Luton side in those days, as the Hatters won promotion from Division Three in 1970 and finished sixth in Division Two the following term.

That saw Macdonald was sold to Newcastle United for £185,000 and elevate his career to the next level, moving to Arsenal five years later and also winning 14 England caps too.

On his time at Luton, he added: "When we were in the Third Division, I played upfront with Laurie Sheffield and then Matt Tees came.

"The following season Matt Tees was still there, when we were in the Second Division, but Harry Haslam did a real piece of business with Manchester United, as he had been a Manchester United player as a youngster.

"He knew people there, he pulled off one hell of a coup, as for next to nothing, he signed Don Givens, Jimmy Ryan the winger, Peter Woods and Ken Goodeve (for £35,000), so he got four Manchester United players for next to nothing.

"I was upfront with Don Givens and we had quite a partnership him and I, while if he was ever injured, Viv Busby came in as reserve.

“John Moore was the six, playing with Terry Branston, he previously had been the captain of Northampton who had got three promotions in consecutive years.

“Frenchy (Graham French), my word, oh what a lad he was, he had a lovely life.

“Alan Slough, local lad, John Collins in midfield, it was a great team."