Matlock Town are mourning the loss of one of their most popular players as the death of Alan Lukasic was announced last week.
Lukasic (64), was part of one of the Gladiators’ greatest ever sides, manager Tom Fenoughty signing him from local football in the Rotherham area at the beginning of the 1976/77 season.
He was an instant success with adaptability being a key feature in his performances. The 1976/77 season saw Matlock narrowly miss out on the NPL title after going neck and neck with eventual champions Boston United before finishing in third spot behind runners up Northwich Victoria.
That season would be remembered for Matlock reaching the third round of the FA Cup for the one and only time in their history, losing at Carlisle United.
Lukasic played a key role at the heart of the Gladiators’ defence alongside Keith Stott. Earlier in the competition Matlock had beaten Telford United, Wigan Athletic and then on a memorable night at Field Mill, the Gladiators beat the eventual old Third Division champions Mansfield Town 5-2.
Lukasic later that season would also play in attack and later in his Matlock career in midfield. During the 1979/80 season he scored eighteen times. Typically he would always give one maximum effort and commitment wherever he was asked to play.
He would pick up Derbyshire Senior Cup winners medals in 1976/77, 1977/78 and 1984/85 and an NPL Cup winners medal in 1977/78 when Matlock beat champions Boston United in the final at Maine Road, Manchester.
That League Cup final win gave Lukasic and Matlock the opportunity to travel to Italy o play in the Anglo-Italian non league tournament in March 1979.
In all over a ten years period at Matlock, Lukasic made 509 appearances scoring 73 goals.
A great club man, Lukasic was also very popular off the field, having a great relationship with the supporters. He always found time for a chat and enjoyed the social side of football immensely.
Chairman Tom Wright, like many longstanding Matlock supporters, has fond memories of Lukasic.
He said: “Alan was a Matlock Town great, a fantastic player who loved the club and its supporters.
“He was a key member of our successful sides of the late seventies and we have fantastic memories as he was part of an outstanding team. Above all he was a smashing bloke and a crowd favourite.
“We were all extremely saddened and shocked to hear of his passing and everyone at Matlock Town sends heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”
Lukasic’s funeral will take place at Rotherham Crematorium on Tuesday 16 October at 11.45 am.