Jovan "John" Lukic (Serbian: Јован "Џон" Лукић, Jovan "Džon" Lukić) (born 11 December 1960) is an English former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper from 1978 to 2001.

John Lukic
Personal information
Full name Jovan Lukic[1]
Date of birth (1960-12-11) 11 December 1960 (age 59)[1]
Place of birth Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England
Height 193 cm (6 ft 4 in)[2]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
Leeds United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1978–1983 Leeds United 165 (0)
1983–1990 Arsenal 223 (0)
1990–1996 Leeds United 265 (0)
1996–2001 Arsenal 15 (0)
Total 668 (0)
National team
1980–1981 England U21 7 (0)
1990 England B 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He played his entire career for both Leeds United and Arsenal, making a total of 668 league appearances and played at the highest level of English football in four separate decades. He was capped by both the England U21 and England B sides.

Club careerEdit

Lukic signed for Leeds United as a schoolboy. He made his debut for the Elland Road side in 1979 and went on to play 165 games for them. After making a transfer request, Lukic moved to Arsenal in July 1983 for £75,000, as a long-term replacement for Pat Jennings. By the middle of the 1984–85 season he was the club's No. 1, and won the League Cup in 1987 and the Division One title in 1989. He was ever present in Arsenal's first team throughout seasons 1987–88, 1988–89 and 1989–90. Lukic played in the final game of the 1989 season, where Arsenal won the title in the last minute of the game against Liverpool, with Lukic starting the move which led to Michael Thomas's famous goal.[citation needed]

In the summer of 1990 Arsenal manager George Graham signed David Seaman from Queens Park Rangers – Seaman had been Lukic's understudy at Leeds. This outraged many Arsenal fans at the time, especially as Lukic was a fan favourite. On his departure, Graham commented "I still think John Lukic is one of the best keepers in the country; I just think David Seaman is the best".[3] Having played 277 times for the Gunners, Lukic rejoined Leeds for £1million, playing a further 265 times and winning a second League title in 1991–92 and a runners up medal in the League Cup in 1995–96.[citation needed]

Lukic was displaced at Leeds by the signing of Nigel Martyn, and in 1996 he returned for a second spell at Arsenal. As deputy to David Seaman, he played 15 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.[citation needed]

In 2000, after a series of injuries to the club's other 'keepers, he made a brief return to the first team, playing four times. The last of these four games, against Derby County,[4] was a month shy of his 40th birthday; another one of these, a match against Lazio on 17 October 2000[5] made him, at the time, the oldest player ever to take part in a UEFA Champions League match. This has since been surpassed by Dany Verlinden, Alessandro Costacurta and Marco Ballotta. He retired in 2001 and now coaches part-time. He has won the league with two different clubs, a feat he shares with fellow professionals such as Nicolas Anelka, Eric Cantona, Carlos Tevez, Ashley Cole, and Kevin Richardson. He is one of possibly four players to have played in the top flight of English football in four separate decades, the other players to attain this achievement are Peter Shilton, Steve Ogrizovic and Stanley Matthews.

International careerEdit

Though Lukic played for England at youth and under-21 level, he never won a cap for the senior team. He was once considered for selection to the Yugoslav national side (due to his Yugoslavian parentage) in the late eighties but he declined the offer.[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

Lukic was born in Chesterfield[1] to Yugoslavian parents;[6] an urban legend states that Lukic's mother survived the Munich air disaster while pregnant with him; this is untrue, as the crash happened in February 1958, more than two years before Lukic was born. There was a Mrs Lukić on board the plane, who did survive (along with her young daughter) after being saved by Manchester United goalkeeper Harry Gregg.[6][7]

Lukic has a son, also called John and also a goalkeeper, who was a youth player on the books of Nottingham Forest until 2005 when he was snubbed a professional contract, however he signed professional terms with Grimsby Town in June 2005 to act as understudy to Steve Mildenhall for the 2005–06 season. However, he was released at the end of the season and briefly signed for Barnsley before disappearing from competitive football. He is now a doctor working in the NHS.[citation needed]

Lukic now works as a freelance goalkeeping coach and tours the country as an after dinner speaker.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "John Lukic". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Gunners fire blanks against Derby". BBC. 11 November 2000. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  5. ^ "Pires sends Arsenal through". BBC. 17 October 2000. Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Take a look at me now". BBC Sport. 29 January 2002. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  7. ^ "Gregg's 'greatest save' – Munich remembered". BBC News. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 August 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)