Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

Lukic: Jovan (John)

1978-1983&1990-1996 (Player Details)


Born: Chesterfield: 11-12-1960

Debut: v Valletta (h): 03-10-1979

6’4” 13st 7lb (1982)

#52 in 100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever

Although christened Jovan he was always known as John in the football world. United’s tallest-ever goalkeeper, Lukic was spotted in Derbyshire schools football and signed professional forms in December 1978 after serving his apprenticeship. He ousted David Harvey and beat off the challenges of, future international, youngsters Henry Smith and David Seaman to make his name at Leeds. He learnt from Harvey and replaced him, initially in a UEFA Cup Round One, Second Leg, tie at Valletta, Malta, and then at Brighton & Hove Albion on 13th October 1979 and went on to make a record one hundred and forty-six consecutive appearances in League games. His run ended when he asked for a transfer and was promptly dropped, for the game at Newcastle United on 12th March 1983. Arsenal were attracted by his ability in the air and marvellous reflexes and in June 1983 a £125,000 transfer took him to Highbury, as a long-term replacement for Pat Jennings. Lukic, who had won England Youth and Under-Twenty-One honours with United, left Leeds because he wanted success at domestic and international level. Leeds had been relegated from the First Division at the end of the 1981-82 season and could not see the club winning any honours nor himself further International recognition with the club in the Second Division. He had made his Under-Twenty-three debut on 9th September 1980 against Norway in a 3-0 win at the Dell in Southampton, but the team had not performed well in his second appearance and had been beaten 0-4 by Romania in Ploesti on 14th October 1980. He had been substituted for Iain Hesford of Blackpool at half-time in a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland at Anfield on 25th February 1981, but went on to keep a clean-sheet in all but two of his seven appearances. His other games were on 28th April 1981, when Romania were beaten 3-0 at the County Ground Swindon, on 31st May 1981 in a 0-0 draw at Neuchatel with Switzerland, and two games against Hungary, on 5th June 1981 with a 2-1 win in Keszthely and on 17th November 1981, in a 2-0 win at the City Ground Nottingham. Age had now closed the door to further Under-Twenty-One honours and Lukic felt he would get easier recognition for higher honours if playing in the First Division. By the middle of the 1984-85 season he was the Arsenal Number One. He never made a full international appearance but won a League Cup winners’ medal in 1987 and appeared in the 1988 Final. He was a key figure as Arsenal won the 1988-89 First Division title, when he was an ever-present in the side. In the summer of 1990 Arsenal manager George Graham signed David Seaman from Queens Park Rangers. Seaman had ironically been Lukic's understudy at Leeds. After two hundred and twenty-three League games and two hundred and seventy-seven in total for the Gunners, Lukic became United’s most expensive signing when he returned to Elland Road for £1 million in May 1990, to replace the ageing but extremely popular Mervyn Day. On 11th December 1990 he was called up to the England "B" squad to play Algeria in Algiers and once again kept a clean-sheet in a 0-0 draw against the Algerian top team as he came on as an half-time replacement for Nigel Martyn, who was with Crystal Palace at the time. It was to be his last representative appearance and he never made the England team. However, he proved a worthwhile investment in his second spell at Leeds and had a magnificent season as United won the League title in 1991-92. Unfortunately, with the introduction of the backpass rule, both Lukic and his defence suffered, and the constant changing of the defence in front of him didn't help his confidence. He made a couple of horrendous blunders in the 1992-93 season. Without an away win in the league all season, Leeds were 1-0 up at Hillsborough with the last few seconds ticking away. Lukic came for a ball, made a mess of it and Sheffield Wednesday equalised. Then there was the famous "floodlight" incident at Ibrox, when he lost the flight of the ball and conceded an avoidable goal against Rangers. The loss of form saw his first-team place under threat from Mark Beeney.Inevitably he was replaced by Mark Beeney but later won his place back towards the end of the 1993-94 season. He re-established himself and went from the home game with Liverpool on 19th February 1994 to the 2-6 away defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on 16th December 1995 on an ever-present run. He collected a League Cup Runners-up medal in 1995-96, as United were beaten by Aston Villa at Wembley. Manager Howard Wilkinson signed Nigel Martyn from Crystal Palace in the summer of 1996 and Lukic rejoined Arsenal on a free-transfer in July 1996, after two hundred and sixty-five more appearances in his second spell at Elland Road. Lukic was granted a Testimonial by Leeds United and his two teams, Leeds United and Arsenal, met at Elland Road on 31st August 1996, in which he played for Arsenal in the first half and Leeds in the second half. As deputy to David Seaman, he played fifteen times in 1996-97 as cover, but after the signing of Alex Manninger, in 1997, he stepped down to No. 3. However, with Manninger injured, Lukic was on the bench for Arsenal's 2000 UEFA Cup Final loss to Galatasaray, earning him a runners-up medal. In 2000, after a series of injuries to the club's other goalkeepers, he made a brief return to the first team, playing three times, the final game being a month shy of his fortieth birthday; one of these, a match against Lazio on 17th October 2000, made him, at the time, the oldest player ever to take part in a UEFA Champions League match. He retired in 2001 and coached at Arsenal on a part-time basis. Lukic's son, also called John, and also a goalkeeper, was a youth player on the books of Nottingham Forest, before signing for Grimsby Town in June 2005. John Lukic Jr. has no club now after leaving ‘The Mariners’ at the end of the 2005-06 season.

League 3550
F.A. Cup 280
League Cup 300
Europe 120
Full Members’ Cup 50
Charity Shield 10