Vacancy at Leeds United for Endearing, Adorable Lunatic; Quote Ref: MadAlioski – by Rob Atkinson


Gjanni Alioski – unique

Sometimes, you lose more than a useful squad member of talent and ability when a player moves on. The appeal of a certain type of player transcends their actual skill or other technical qualities. Sometimes it’s the uniqueness of the personality departing your club that you’ll miss, above and beyond a penchant for stinging volleys or crunching tackles. We’ve loved and lost a few of these mad, maverick types at Elland Road over the decades – Vinnie Jones springs to mind, for instance, as one of a special breed who “got” Leeds, seeming to absorb the singular personality of this uncommon club into their own DNA. When someone like that moves on, they leave a big hole behind them.

One such departure, regretfully anticipated for some time, but finally confirmed only now, is that of Gjanni Alioski, North Macedonian international, versatile left-sided performer, behind the scenes motivator and card-carrying nutter. Gjanni is one of those players in the famous colours of Leeds United whose loss will be felt for much more than his on-field contribution to United’s recent spectacular success. His ability to wind up opponents in the Leeds United cause is legendary enough, but it’s his episodes of pre-match tunnel-based insanity that I’ll most fondly recall in years to come. Gjanni may well be replaced by a player of superior ability, but surely it’s too much to expect a similarly vivid personality to take his place. Whatever the positives brought to the table by incoming players this window, I do feel we’ll have lost a certain je ne sais quoi with the departure of the Macedonian madman. No more will the corridors echo with “Peppa Peeeg!”, and that’s got to be a cause for some regret.

The really sad thing is that we didn’t even get to say “goodbye”. It seemed fairly clear in the final game of last season, as Leeds comfortably saw off West Brom, that this would be Alioski’s last hurrah – but it wasn’t confirmed at that point, so the farewells were for the certain departures, and Alioski seemed content to stay in the background while the spotlight played on Pablo and Gaetano in their final United appearances. That’s quite poignant, really, especially as Elland Road actually had a crowd inside for the first time in ages. It would have been nice to have been able to say farewell to Gjanni, alongside the other two heroes.

There are so many memories of Gjanni Alioski over his few years in United white, yellow and blue. Goals – my favourites are a blistering effort at Forest and that fulminating volley at Huddersfield. Assists, too, by the barrowload, and the boundless energy required by Bielsaball. Gjanni always put in a shift, and always had a terrific rapport with the fans. He even interacted with and acknowledged the cardboard cutouts on the Kop at the height of COVID, one of the myriad bizarre, off the wall memories associated with a player of whom you always expected the unexpected.

Goodbye then, Gjanni – or is it only au revoir? You never know with a guy like that and, though he’s heading for pastures new, he always seemed at home in LS11. He’ll be missed, of course, as we’ve missed so many crowd favourites before him. But Gjanni was that bit different, and replacing him will not just be a matter of importing an equal or superior talent. For the squad as a whole to retain its character and edge, we’re going to need to find another adorable madman, somebody with a screw just loose enough to merit the assumption of the Alioski mantle.

Let’s face it, that would be a remarkable feat. If Victor Orta can pull that one off, then we’re going to have to allocate space at Elland Road for his thoroughly deserved statue.

Marching On Together

17 responses to “Vacancy at Leeds United for Endearing, Adorable Lunatic; Quote Ref: MadAlioski – by Rob Atkinson

  1. PHILIP OF SPAIN

    His recognition and applause to the cut outs at Elland Road along with the shaking of the opposition players tunnel even when he wasnt playing,stand out for me.On the field,training and off the field he was always good for a laugh.Loved him,his wind ups and laughs.Going to miss the guy!!

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  2. andrew hinks

    hi rob
    hope you are at 100% health wise?

    simply, loved gjanni, the proverbial Duracell battery who got ‘being LEEDS’

    being ‘marcelo’d’ for three years enhanced his skills, attitude & beliefs which came to the fore & as importantly… knew who to wind up & when!!!!

    thanks fella for all your efforts , various faces pulled!, sneering! hatred of the right players & clubs in LUFC order of merit!

    above all you gave everything for our beloved club & will be never forgotten unlike 100s of journeymen players we’ve all had to suffer these last 16 years or so!

    good luck to you with your new club & thanks again mucker!

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  3. ‘Very nice tribute, Rob

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  4. The three daftest things I’ve seen from Elland Road- the pantomime horse escaping from the lowfields, Vinnie tripping the mascot and Gianni applauding the cardboard cutouts. In no particular order. Means David Harvey and McQueen fighting in front of the gelderd comes in at No. 4

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  5. ryan evans

    love you mate, you mad swine!
    please don’t go to galatasaray.

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  6. James Ryan

    I’m going to miss Bunnyoski. I will always remember him with a smile and a mischievous glance.

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  7. Agree totally. He will be greatly missed. It’s a real shame he couldn’t squeeze another season in. I would love to have seen him winding up players and supporters of the Devon Devils in the first game of next season. And sticking his tongue out at Sols…. well whatever their managers name is.
    Maybe one of our other players will do it as a tribute to him when they score the winner. We can but hope. 🤩

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  8. Gianni – come back one day for your deserved send off

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  9. Couldn’t have put it better Rob. Deserved words for an absolute belter of a player & character. Very sad to see him go…

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  10. Life is LUFC

    You may recall at the end of season interviews Dallas did mention Alioski going, Berardi and Pablo came on during his interview and he said where is Alioski, he never did appear. It must have been the only time he did not bomb a slot and on the pitch at the end of the game you could see how sad he looked…..did he know then this was his last as well but would not take the lime light from Berardi and Pablo.
    He probably knew this season he would not always be first choice if Leeds found a real LB, he gives his all for football and whilst at Leeds he gave his best to us. A footballers playing days do not number into many years and so they have to do what they think is best for themselves and build up their pension pots as quickly as possible, they potentially have a longer retirement period than most working people.
    I loved what he did for Leeds on the pitch and off the pitch and he knew how to wind up opposition players, now if there is a job for one of them he should apply for it he’ll romp home the winner every time. As a kid he must have been a nightmare.
    If you can Gianni, come back for the last game in this up and coming season and let us say a Leeds United thank you to you. Good luck lad in whatever and wherever you do and go.

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