Milija Aleksic – British Serb goalkeeper dies

October 19, 2012

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British born Serb Milija “elastic” Aleksic, the former First Division goalkeeper, has died suddenly aged 61 in Johannesburg. The Luton town and Tottenham legend was born Milija Anthony Aleksic on 14 April 1951 in Newcastle-Under-Lyme to a Serbian father and English mother.

He started his career in 1969 at Port Vale before they released him and he had to drop down the leagues to ply his trade. He played for Eastwood and then with Stafford Rangers won the the FA Trophy in 1972. The following year he returned to the Football League with Plymouth Argyle, before he was signed by Luton Town in December 1976. For the Hatters he played 77 games when he earned the nick name “elastic” Aleksic and caught the eye of some of the top clubs. In 1978 he was signed by Tottenham for the fee of £100,00 and his career had really taken off.

However at Spurs he had strong competition from two other keepers and it was difficult to get a run of games as the team themselves struggled in mid table in the then first division. During his time at the club he also suffered two big injuries which kept his appearances for the club down to a total of 25 before he left in 1982.

This however is the club where he was to be most fondly remembered as the goalkeeper in the 1981 FA Cup Final victory over Manchester City. This was the first time in many years that Spurs had won anything and the final itself went into a replay which produced one of the most  memorable cup finals of the 20th Century with a brace of goals scored by Ricky Villa.

His days at the club were numbered when Spurs bought England keeper Ray Clemence and within a year of being an FA Cup winner Milija was forced to drop out of the football league again and joined Barnet in 1982. Following a brief loan spell at former club Luton Town, he left the country for South Africa where he played for Wits University, before taking up employment at the Golfer’s Club in Johannesburg.

The 1981 Tottenham cup winning side played football with flair and panache with Ardiles, Villa, Crooks and Archibald, laid upon a foundation of dedication and grit in the shape of Perryman and Roberts. The Spurs fans who grew up with that team will be Spurs for life. The tales will be told and the memories handed down through the generations that his is the way to play the game, and Milija Aleksic will forever be a part of that mamory.

Our thoughts are with his family.

 

 

 

 

 

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