News has reached Kenilworth Road of the sad passing of one of the club’s former heroes, Raddy Antic.
When Raddy joined Luton Town in the summer of 1980, the first of manager David Pleat’s forays into the foreign transfer market, he instantly brought to Kenilworth Road an accumulated international experience unmatched by any of his colleagues.
Antic had played in his native Yugoslavia for Partizan Belgrade, in Turkey for Fenerbahce and in Spain for Zaragoza, picking up five Yugoslav caps along the way.
A sweeper in the truest sense of the word, Antic had excellent technical skills and passing ability as well as a powerful shot. Unfortunately Pleat rarely played a sweeper system so Antic had to fight for his place in midfield where the Hatters had an abundance of riches at the time.
He therefore spent most of his time at Kenilworth Road on the bench where his experience and versatility could be used most effectively as substitute. It was on one of these substitute appearances that he earned permanent hero status with Luton fans.
In May 1983 the Hatters travelled to Manchester City for a relegation dogfight. Luton needed to win to stay up while City only required one point. With only five minutes left, the game remained scoreless but then up popped recently introduced sub Antic to volley home what proved to be the only goal.
Antic retired from playing 12 months later but then embarked on a second career that arguably outstripped his first. A long and stellar managerial career started off with Real Zaragoza and went on to include Oviedo, Atletico Madrid and Celta Vigo as well as the Serbian national side and, crossing the divide, both Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Raddy though will always be remembered in Bedfordshire as the man who made it possible for David Pleat to set off on his famous jig across the Maine Road pitch!
Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.