Slavisa Jokanovic - Chelsea FC - Biography of his Stamford Bridge carrer.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 04 November 2001

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      Friday, 16 August 1968
      Novi Sad, Yugoslavia
  • Chelsea FC
    • Club Career Dates
    • League Debut
      Saturday, 21st October 2000 as a sub in a 6-1 win at home to Coventry City (Aged: 32)
    • Club Career
      19 League apps (+20 as sub), 0 goals
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Slavisa JOKANOVIC - Chelsea FC - Biography of his Stamford Bridge carrer.


You simply do not make more than 50 appearances for a country like Yugoslavia unless you are an outstanding footballer, so when Claudio Ranieri made Slavisa Jokanovic his first signing for Chelsea in October 2000 there was every reason to believe he would be a valuable addition to the Italian's squad. Perhaps if the rangy midfielder's close range header against Coventry on his debut had found the net rather than cannoning off the bar, Jokanovic's fortunes may have been indelibly altered, but with the Blues cantering to a 6-1 win, nobody was really too concerned at the time! However, it wasn't long before the supporters were beginning to ask questions of the man who had cost £1.7m from Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna, as he clearly stuggled to come to terms with the pace of the English game.


Of his 19 appearances that season, 12 were from the subs' bench, and unfortunately his entry onto the field of play was regularly met with cat calls aimed in the direction of both player and manager from the Stamford Bridge faithful. To make matters worse, Ranieri sold two hugely popular midfield stalwarts - Dennis Wise and Gus Poyet - in the summer of 2001, increasing the pressure on the struggling Yugoslav to justify his price tag. Ironically, Joka - or Joker, as he was cruelly, if somewhat inevitably, re-named by a section of the Chelsea supporters - flourished briefly in a clash with Wise's new side, Leicester City, in October 2001, which the Blues won 2-0, but his best performance for the club came in a magnificent 3-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, as the unlikely central midfield combination of Joka and Samuele Dalla Bona destroyed their much-vaunted United counterparts with a truly magnificent display. Sadly, that performance proved something of a false dawn, and the Yugoslav remained little more than a squad player for the remainder of the season, before retiring from professional football that summer.


However, if his Chelsea career wasn't exceptional, the way Joka handled his departure certainly was, and the humble midfielder actually made a statement on leaving Stamford Bridge for the last time, in which he apologised to the Blues' supporters for his disappointing performances whilst at the club. It was a classy touch from a classy man who deserved better fortune - and treatment - during his time in SW6. (Kelvin Barker)


1986–1988    Novi Sad    35    (5)
1988–1990    Vojvodina    54    (10)
1990–1993    Partizan    61    (20)
1993–1995    Oviedo    62    (12)
1995–1999    Tenerife    123    (17)
1999–2000    Deportivo La Coruña    23    (2)
2000–2002    Chelsea    39    (0)
2003–2004    Ciudad Murcia    6    (0)


Teams manged.


2007–2009    Partizan
2012–2013    Muangthong United
2013               Levski Sofia
2014                Hércules
2014–2015    Watford
2015              Maccabi Tel Aviv