The first in our ongoing series and what better place to start than with the letter A
Anyone old enough to have been around when Luton travelled to Maine Road, to take on Manchester City at the end of the 1982/1983 season will remember the name of Antic with great fondness.
The fixture was the last one of the season for both sides and each side knew that only a win would keep them in the top flight, so precarious were things, relegation wise, at the time.
With Maine Road packed to the rafters and with a significant following from Luton, a very close, nervy game was settled by a solitary strike from Antic, close to the end of normal time. When the referee blew the final whistle, Maine Road witnessed chaotic scenes.
The home support were on the pitch trying to disrupt things but with the pitch cleared the figure of Raddy Antic could be seen embraced by the arms of his manager, David Pleat, after Pleat had danced a jig of delight on the Maine Road turf, knowing he`d done almost the impossible and kept Luton in the top flight.
Raddy Antic had joined Luton from Real Zaragoza, a Spanish team, whilst Luton were still in Division Two, in 1980. Antic helped Luton into the top flight in 1982 before leaving us in 1984, having made in excess of 100 appearances for the Hatters.
After quitting playing, at the age of 36, he went on to have a successful managerial career citing Pleat as a major influence and managed a host of clubs, clubs that included –
? Partizan Belgrade
? Real Zaragoza
? Real Madrid
? Real Oviedo
? Atletico Madrid
? FC Barcelona
? Celta Viga
And his national side
Radimir Antic, the first in our on-going series of Hatters Heroes.