Potter Pejic is just champion
IN his playing days Mike Pejic only had one referee to put up with – now he's impressing five of them.
Pejic, one-time combative left-back of Stoke City and England, is these days a martial arts international.
In fact, the 62-year-old has just been crowned Scottish Open Taekwondo champion in Falkirk.
The Stoke 1972 League Cup winner said: "It was nerve-wracking more so than playing football in front of 100,000."
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The victory completes an impressive year for Pejic who also won gold at a tournament in Northern Ireland and was chosen to represent Great Britain after a silver medal in the men's over-60 division at the British National Taekwondo Championships in Sheffield.
Pejic's favoured discipline is the non-contact version of Taekwondo.
He coaches in local schools and also runs an academy at Chesterton Community College every Monday from 5.30pm-7pm.
The classes are open to all ages and beginners can try a session for free.
The club coaches under the rules of the World Taekwondo Federation, the version accepted by the Olympics.
Pejic, from Chesterton, made 274 appearances for the Potters, won four England caps and also played for Everton and Aston Villa.
He has coached for the Football Association while his club coaching jobs have included spells at both Stoke and Port Vale.
His love of Taekwondo began 18 years ago while coaching in Kuwait.
He carried on practicing when he returned to England to coach football at Stoke City under Lou Macari.
He said: "I used to practice with my instructor in the boardroom at the Victoria Ground.
"In fact, when Mark Stein re-joined the club, Lou told him there was a training session upstairs so to go and check out what we'd be doing.
"He came through the door of the boardroom and couldn't believe it. I'll remember his face until the day I die."
For further details of Mike's Taekwondo academy, contact Mike on Mikepejic@hotmail.co.uk or visit pejictaekwondo.com