The tale of Joe Jordan and Milija Aleksic

by Matthew Harris on February 17, 2011

In one of the least surprising news stories of the day, Gennaro Gattuso has been charged by UEFA with ‘Gross Unsporting Behaviour’ after his clash with Joe Jordan on Tuesday.

After the game, a rash of Joe Jordan stories have cropped up, telling us why Gattuso had picked on the wrong man. Few, if any, mention a little incident involving Joe and the then Spurs goalkeeper Milija Aleksic.

After Barry Daines had largely failed to step into Pat Jennings’ boots, and let’s face it who could? Spurs signed Aleksic from Luton in 1979 and for a while he alternated with Daines and Mark Kendall for the number one jersey.

In an FA Cup tie against Man Utd, Aleksic and Jordan were involved in repeated tussles at corners, but what happened next is subject to conjecture. From what I recall of the TV footage, we were just shown a shot of Aleksic lying in a heap with Jordan jogging away from the scene – you could almost imagine him whistling innocently.

Aleksic’s jaw was dislocated and his sporting heroes profile says he was injured in an accidental collision. Of course, I would never suggest this wasn’t the case, particularly in the event of ever meeting Joe!

Milija recovered and for a while made the number one jersey his own. The pinnacle of his Spurs career came when he won an FA Cup medal in 1981 before losing his place permanently to Ray Clemence the following season.

For a time, Joe Jordan was a hated figure at the Lane but football can be a forgiving game and on Tuesday you’d rather have had big Joe in your corner than the ‘little dog’ Gattuso.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

hart of glory February 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I was there at Old Trafford that January night in 1980, for the 3rd round FA Cup replay, standing behind the opposite goal, with all the other Spurs fans. Aleksic was stretchered off, Glenn Hoddle went into goal, and John Pratt came on, taking Glenn’s place in midfield. We were all screaming bile at Jordan, but the incident seemed to lift Spurs that night. They were immense, worked tirelessly hard to protect Hoddle between the sticks, and Man U had very few goal attempts, none too difficult for Hoddle. The game went into extra time, and a few minutes from the end Ardiles struck the sweetest shot high into the corner of the net, beating Gary Bailey, right in front of us. Jordan’s cheating that night made us regroup and fight on to accomplish an astounding victory. Hallelujah!

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Spurs71/72 February 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Thanks for filling in the gaps – I thought it was the game where Ardiles scored but I wasn’t certain – I had to watch on TV. Whenever I see Joe Jordan in his Spurs tracksuit I always think of that game.
Matt

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hart of glory February 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm

You’re welcome Matt. Incredibly, I’d forgotten that it was Jordan who’d injured Aleksic until all this kerfuffle the other night, when it was referred to in various media. Then it all came back. All I remembered until just the other day was the Man U fans’ complacent reaction to what they thought would bring them an easy victory, and how we defied them. Steve Perryman was titanic, lion-heartedly organising the defence and egging the team forwards.

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Wanderer February 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Gattuso should be banned for life”
he is just another big headed prick who deserves knocking out
reap what you sow

YESSSSSSEEEERRRREEEEEEEEEEEE

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John White February 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm

You forgot to mention that Glenn Hpddle went in goal, and we still knocked them out of the Cup with a goal from Ardiles.

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hart of glory February 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Ref my post at 5.02 above – the worst (or best) bit was the Man U fans cheering and clapping as Aleksic was stretchered off, thinking they had the match in the bag.

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John White February 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Or I forgot to read it properly. I’m going mad.

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Alan April 13, 2011 at 9:12 am

I too was at this game – I had ‘emigrated’ to Manchester in the early 70′s and went to the game with my brother-in-law who was an avid Red. We stood in the Streford End paddock, and I tried to be on my best behaviour :) . I saw the incident with Aleksic quite well – it was deliberate and very nasty. My main memory was the Ardile goal – I rememer being about 4 feet in the air with my arm raised before I realised that no-one around me was!!! My brother-in-law was trying to pulldown, but in fairness to the United fans we just had a little bit of banter and shook hands at the end – quite a relief given that we had only just come out of the 70′s when holliganism was at its worst.

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Mike Wood June 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Hi All.

I live in Jo’burg and often have the pleasure of chatting to Milija Aleksic, I probably “bump” into him (no pun intended) on a monthly basis at The Golfers Club.

I always enjoy a good chat with him about footy back in the day and present alike…. and what a sh1t head Joe Jordan was… and trust me, it was no “accident”….

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Spurs October 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm

So – are the rumours of his death today true?

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status quo August 13, 2012 at 5:25 pm

yes remember that game,when my fav center forward joe joe jordan,apparently broke alexis’s jaw,spurs went on to win the game ,with a screamer from ozzy ardiles,jasus its a long time ago now,now with joe as second in command at spurs..joe was a leeds ,man u,ac milan,verona,southamton,bristol city,and scotland legend,than u joe for all the great years ,when u played..a real center forward,not like some of the over paid puddins,out there today!!!

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neil christian November 9, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I had the privilege of meeting Milija at Headley court when he was recovering from the Jordan incident he was a very nice man and I remember going to a local disco with him in his BMW which I had difficulty getting in due to the two crutches I had to us. A true gentleman who worked very hard to get fit again and deserved his FA Cup medal 9 months later. Ex SSgt R.E.

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scherben August 16, 2014 at 9:23 pm

You may be interested in this (silent footage) from the night:

http://www.itnsource.com/en/shotlist/ITN/1980/01/10/FS100180001/?s=manchester%20united%201980

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