Gjanni Alioski - Fans memories of a Macedonian friend

He was everybody's Macedonian friend.

Saturday, 7th August 2021, 4:30 pm
A young fan smiles after Ezgjan Alioski gives her his shirt after the Premier League clash against West Bromwich Albion at Elland Road in May 2021. PIC: Getty
A young fan smiles after Ezgjan Alioski gives her his shirt after the Premier League clash against West Bromwich Albion at Elland Road in May 2021. PIC: Getty

Ezgjan Alioski proved to be a colourful character during his four years with Leeds United, a player who boasted bags of personality, a cheeky chappy persona and talent to match.

He played a key part in Leeds United's return to the Premier League after a 16 year exile before going on to prove his point at the highest level as the club finished their first season back in ninth place.

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Ezgjan Alioski applauds the Elland Road crowdies. PIC: Getty

The fanbase could have been forgiven for asking who? when he signed for the club from Lugano back in July 2017. He soon made his mark on his debut the following month against Bolton Wanderers created the assist for teammate Chris Wood's goal.

A wonder striker against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground later that month would go on to be named goal of the season at the club's annual award ceremony.

He started the following season a winger playing on the right or left side but stepped up after an injury to left back Barry Douglas. He played 47 games in all competitions, netting seven goals as the Whites came so close yet so far to a return to the promised land.

It was a position he made his own as part of the 2019/20 Championship-winning squad and was involved in all but two matches as the Whites returned to the Premier League after a 16-year hiatus.

Alioski celebrating his goal against Fulham in June 2020 with the Elland Road crowdies will live long in the memory for a generation of supporters.

The Northern Macedonian international made his first Premier League start against Manchester City in October 2020 and scored his first Premier League goal in the 5–2 home win against Newcastle United. His final goal for the club came as part of a 5-0 away win against West Bromwich Albion.

Your YEP asked the Elland Road faithful to share memories of a player who made a total of 171 appearances for the Whites, scoring 22 goals.

Responses included:

Lindsey Green - "Sometimes it's more than just football. He's the player you needed in the bad times and want to celebrate with in the good. He's been there for us and he's done it the Alioski way. Wouldn't change him for the world! Controversial at times but with a heart of gold and exactly what Leeds United strive for. Hated by many who struggle to understand his humour, but loved by many more!"

Val Hutchinson - "Going over to the crowdies and applauding them."

Jason Mcauley - "I loved it when he was clapping to the crowdies after the Fulham game when beat them 3-0."

Craig Stanley - "Through ball to Dallas against City in injury time after we'd played 70 mins with 10 men."

Simon Meade - "Certainly the pass to Dallas but I’ll never forget when football restarted he went and applauded the crowdies, that said just how much he loved the fans and club, he will be missed by many, but hopefully his replacement will be a better player overall."

Bob Procter - "That pass to Stuart Dallas v Man City. A thing of beauty if you love football."

Nathan Small - "Clapping at the cardboard fans at Elland Road. What a guy."

Kevin Mathers - "Goal of the season vs Forest."

Dan Payne - "Always found it hilarious when he'd shake the tunnel before matches or steal the camera focus plus his pace on the pitch and work effort was excellent."

Rob Ryan - "Got to be the pass to Dallas for us to win at Man City."

Peter Easton - "Mine was of Alioski coming off team coach at home game, and seeing my grandson Charlie wearing his Alioski scarf while high fiving players walking into stadium. Alioski grabbed both ends of his scarf and played tug of War with Charlie, the look on Charlie's face was priceless. Don't think he'll ever forget it. Alioski's passion for Leeds and the fans was brilliant."

James Richardson - "Toss up between the assist for Dallas goal against city or his screamer against Huddersfield Town."

Ian Pattison - "His bullet against West Brom."

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