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R.I.P Goran Bunjevcevic

Remembering Goran Bunjevcevic

All Spurs fans will be shocked this morning (29th June, 2018) to hear the news that Serbian footballer Goran Bunjevcevic has died at the age of 45.

Goran Bunjevcevic celebrates scoring in a draamatic 4-3 League Cup win at Bolton in 2004

Goran suffered a stroke in May and had been in a coma until his sad passing, mourned by Serbia’s World Cup players and indeed his country.

“Bunjee” as he was affectionately known by Spurs fans had been described as “The Serbian Beckenbauer” when he starred for the famous Red Star Belgrade before he was signed by Glenn Hoddle in the summer of 2001 to replace the most controversial of Spurs centre-backs who had deserted to the team at the wrong end of Seven Sisters Road.

Glenn favoured a 3-5-2 formation, and Bunjevcevic made his club debut in a 0-0 home draw against Aston Villa in August 2001. Unfortunately, injuries kept him out of contention for most of his first season.

Goran made most of his appearances for Spurs in the 2002-03 season, but sadly that was not a season covered in glory for Hoddle’s Spurs who suffered early cup exits at Burnley (League Cup) and more disgracefully at Glenn’s former club Southampton. “Bunjee” did not play in that 4-0 defeat.

Goran had less and less opportunities at Spurs after Hoddle’s departure. In 2004 he played and scored in away League wins at Oldham (6-0) and Bolton (4-3). In his last season at Spurs (2005-06) Goran did not feature in the first team, but I do recall that he mentored a successful reserve side, playing for most of the season. That side (often captained by Bunjevcevic) won the southern reserve league section and played at Old Trafford against the Northern winners – Manchester United. Home advantage and goals by Pique and Solskjaer (sound familiar?), together with several enforced absences from our usual reserve side meant a 2-0 defeat in Bunjevcevic’s last Spurs game.

Goran played a season in Holland before a return home and a role as sporting director at Red Star. In recent years Bunjevcevic had served in an administrative position with the Football Association of Serbia.

Clearly, Goran Bunjevcevic, who was capped 16 times between 1998 and 2003, was a much-respected footballer and human being. One can only wish strength to his loved ones and friends to deal with such a tragic loss. R.I.P Goran.

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