Milija Aleksic

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Milija Aleksic
Personal information
Full name Milija Anthony Aleksic[1]
Date of birth (1951-04-14)14 April 1951[1]
Place of birth Newcastle-under-Lyme, England[1]
Date of death 17 October 2012(2012-10-17) (aged 61)[2]
Place of death Johannesburg, South Africa[2]
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1968–1969 Port Vale 0 (0)
Eastwood
Stafford Rangers
1973–1976 Plymouth Argyle 32 (0)
1976Oxford United (loan) 0 (0)
1976Ipswich Town (loan) 0 (0)
1976–1979 Luton Town 77 (0)
1979–1982 Tottenham Hotspur 25 (0)
1982Luton Town (loan) 4 (0)
1982–1983 Barnet
1983–1984 Wits University
1985–1987 Durban City
Total 138+ (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Milija Anthony Aleksic (14 April 1951 – 17 October 2012) was an English football goalkeeper who made 138 league appearances in the Football League.[3]

Released by Port Vale in 1969, he played for Eastwood before lifting the FA Trophy with Stafford Rangers in 1972. The next year he returned to the Football League with Plymouth Argyle, before he was signed by Luton Town in December 1976, following loan spells with Oxford United and Ipswich Town. Three years later he moved on to Tottenham Hotspur, and played in the club's FA Cup victory in 1981. In 1982, he was loaned back to Luton Town, before he went back into non-league football with Barnet. He later migrated to South Africa and played for Wits University.

Playing career[edit]

A goalkeeper born to a Yugoslav father, he grew up in a small Serbian community in Chesterton, Staffordshire; he was a childhood friend of future England international Mike Pejic.[4] His career started with Gordon Lee's Port Vale.[1] He played two FA Cup games for the "Valiants" as a 17-year-old in the 1968–69 season, both First Round games with Shrewsbury Town in which he conceded one goal in both the original game and the replay at Vale Park.[1] An emergency replacement for the injured Stuart Sharratt, he was so keen that he used to iron his bootlaces before playing.[1] He was given a free transfer in May 1969 and moved into non-league football with Eastwood, and then Stafford Rangers.[1] With Rangers he was a member of the 1972 FA Trophy winning team, following a 3–0 win over Barnet at Wembley Stadium.[5]

In 1973, he returned to the Football League, signing for Tony Waiters's Plymouth Argyle. The "Pilgrims" posted a 17th-place finish in the Third Division in 1973–74, before winning promotion with a second-place finish in 1974–75 (they finished one point behind champions Blackburn Rovers). They then held their own in the Second Division, finishing in 16th place in 1975–76. In August 1976, he played two games on loan at Oxford United; both games were League Cup clashes with Cambridge United.[6] He was then loaned out to Ipswich Town.[5] Aleksic left Home Park permanently when he was moved on to league rivals Luton Town in November 1976, who were managed by Harry Haslam.[7] The "Hatters" finished sixth in 1976–77, four points behind promoted Nottingham Forest. Luton then dropped to 13th in 1977–78 under new boss David Pleat, and then finished 18th in 1978–79. He played 77 league games in his three years at Kenilworth Road.

Aleksic was signed by First Division side Tottenham Hotspur in December 1978 for a fee of £100,000.[8] The club posted a 14th-place finish in the 1979–80 season under the stewardship of Keith Burkinshaw. He faced competition between the sticks from Barry Daines and Mark Kendall.[9] In one tie against Manchester United, notorious 'hard man' Joe Jordan broke his jaw in what was officially described as an 'accidental collision'.[9] The injury left midfielder Glenn Hoddle to take Aleksic's place in goal for the rest of the match; despite this setback, Hoddle was untroubled in goal, and Spurs won 1–0 with Osvaldo Ardiles scoring the winning goal.[10] The White Hart Lane club made a top ten finish in 1980–81, and also lifted the FA Cup with a 3–2 victory over Manchester City at Wembley. Aleksic featured in both the original tie and the replay, which was won with a brace from Ricardo Villa and a scruffy goal from Garth Crooks.[11] However, he soon lost his first team place to Ray Clemence.[9] Spurs went on to finish fourth in 1981–82, but despite being an FA Cup winning goalkeeper just one year previously, he dropped back into non-League football with Barry Fry's Alliance Premier League side Barnet in 1982, following a brief loan spell at former club Luton Town. He later emigrated to South Africa, and played for Wits University, before taking up employment at the Golfer's Club in Johannesburg.[10]

Statistics[edit]

Source:[12]

Club Season Division League FA Cup Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Port Vale 1968–69 Fourth Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Plymouth Argyle 1973–74 Third Division 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
1974–75 Third Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1975–76 Second Division 29 0 2 0 3 0 34 0
Total 32 0 2 0 3 0 37 0
Oxford United (loan) 1976–77 Third Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ipswich Town (loan) 1976–77 First Division 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Luton Town 1976–77 Second Division 25 0 2 0 0 0 27 0
1977–78 Second Division 38 0 2 0 4 0 44 0
1978–79 Second Division 14 0 0 0 3 0 17 0
Total 77 0 4 0 7 0 88 0
Tottenham Hotspur 1978–79 First Division 5 0 1 0 0 0 6 0
1979–80 First Division 8 0 2 0 0 0 10 0
1980–81 First Division 10 0 4 0 0 0 14 0
1981–82 First Division 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Total 25 0 7 0 0 0 32 0
Luton Town (loan) 1981–82 Second Division 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Career total 138 0 15 0 12 0 165 0

Honours[edit]

Stafford Rangers

Plymouth Argyle

Tottenham Hotspur

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 5. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.
  2. ^ a b "Obituary – Milija Aleksic". tottenhamhotspur.com. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  3. ^ Milija Aleksic at Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Database
  4. ^ Pearson, Guy (20 October 2012). "Wembley hero Aleksic mourned by former team-mates". The Sentinel. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  5. ^ a b "milija aleksic – fact file". archive.mehstg.com. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  6. ^ "Statistics for Milija Aleksic". rageonline.co.uk. Archived from the original on 15 February 2006. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Obituary". lutontown.co.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Tottenham Hotspur FC". sporting-heroes.net. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  9. ^ a b c Harris, Matthew. "The tale of Joe Jordan and Milija Aleksic". tottenhamblog.com. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  10. ^ a b Bevan, Chris (25 January 2008). "Were you there...?". BBC Sport. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  11. ^ "Classic Cup Finals: 1981". thefa.com. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  12. ^ Milija Aleksic at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)