Hatters Heroes

Luton – The Legends Series – Raddy Antic

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For the latest in our ongoing series covering those who have achieved legendary status among the support, we feature another former Luton figure who became a fans favourite.

Following on from those already covered – John Moore, David Preece, Mal Donaghy, Brian Lewis, Bruce Rioch, Fred Jardine, Brian Horton, Kevin Nicholls, Tony Read, Steve Foster, Mike Keen, Ian Buxton, Lars Elstrup, Peter Anderson, Graham French, Alan West, David Moss, Terry Branston, John Aston, Paul Futcher, John Ryan, Syd Owen, Marvin Johnson, Malcolm MacDonald, Bob Hatton, Steve Buckley,Chris Coyne, Ron Baynham, John Still, Jack Bannister, Ricky Hill, Chris Nicholl, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Don Givens, Gordon Turner, Brian Stein and Jesse Pye

In the latest of our ongoing legends series, we’re taking a look at the career of Raddy Antic, as suggested by Steven Herman.

Whenever the name of Raddy Antic is mentioned, thoughts immediately return to that wonderful day, at Maine Road, when, with the game delicately poised at 0-0, Antic moved onto a loose ball after a cross from Brian Stein had been half-cleared by the Manchester City keeper, Alex Williams and drilled home the winning goal, with just minutes left of the game.

The goal secured Luton Town’s top-flight status for another season and condemned Manchester City to relegation, a fate that would have awaited us if Raddy had not scored that crucial goal. The final whistle, as we all remember, sparked that jig of delight across the pitch by our manager, David Pleat.

But how did Raddy become a Luton player?

Approaching the twilight years of his career, having played for, among others, Fenerbahce and Real Zaragoza, Antic was enticed to try his luck, with the Hatters, putting pen-to-paper in 1980.

Indeed, he was the first foreign signing made by David Pleat and although he usually played as a sweeper, Pleat utilised him in a midfield role, often sitting in front of the back four.

His stay at Kenilworth Road was not to be that long with the Yugoslav staying for just the two seasons, opting to retire at the age of thirty-six.

But during those two seasons, both of which were in the top-flight of English football, he gave so much to the club.

His expertise on the ball, was invaluable, his mind was as sharp as a tack and although he often looked as if he was going to lose control of the ball, he rarely did.

His ability to step out of defence with the ball and stepping into a midfield role, made him a valuable asset to the side.

During his time with the Hatters, Antic made 108 appearances and scored on 10 occasions.

As well as being a decent footballer, Antic had ambitions of becoming a coach/manager and once he retired, he went on to excel in this field, becoming the head coach/manager of, among others, the two legendary Spanish clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid, has anybody else matched that achievement?

Sadly, Raddy passed away aged just 71, a victim of COVID19 he died in Madrid on 06-April-2020.

Following his death, some 14 months later, his first club, FK Sloboda Uzica, changed the name of their stadium to the Radomir Antic Stadium, a fitting tribute to a special person.

But it would be rude of me not to finish this article without including a clip of that memorable moment, at Maine Road, back in 1982

Raddy Antic – Mini Fact File

Name – Radomir Antic

Date of Birth – 22-November-1948

Place of Birth – Žitište, PR Serbia, FPR Yugoslavia

Position – Defender / Midfield

Playing Career – Sloboda Užice, Partizan, Fenerbache, Real Zaragoza, Luton Town

International Career – Yugoslavia

Managerial Career – Partizan (assistant), Real Zaragoza, Real Madrid, Real Oviedo, Atletico Madrid, Real Oviedo (again), Barcelona, Celta Viga, Serbia, Shandong Luneng, Hebei China Fortune

If you feel able to share any of your thoughts or memories on the Hatters career of Raddy Antic, please feel free to do so in the comment facility beneath this article.

If you can think of anyone who deserves nominating for coverage in this ongoing series, please drop their name into the comment facility beneath this article.

My thanks go to those who have already nominated faces from the past, they will all be covered, in time.

Next up in the series will be – Joe Payne as suggested by David Howard


Previous article by Mad Hatter

Luton Town – Success Inevitably Brings Change

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  • Philip Carter says:

    Have you forgotten-I asked about Ray Whitaker a few weeks ago


  • Chris winter says:

    Hi mh, pleat was always frustrated that he couldn’t fit raddy in the team. As you say he was a sweeper an pleat couldn’t play him in position as it wasn’t pleats way. So although he was technically the best player at the club he was to play less than he should have simply because of his position.pleat said it himself he was sad that raddy didn’t have the opportunity he should have. Raddy will always have a place in Luton hearts . Not for me that goal. But because of his outstanding skills at that time.I loved to watch him his skills were amazing.A great loss gone to soon.

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