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From Player to Manager: Sammy Lee

12 May 2020

We’re profiling those who represented Wanderers in their playing days before going onto manage the club years down the line once their boots had been hung up. Today, we’re profiling Sammy Lee.

Born in Liverpool, Lee came through the academy setup at Liverpool before going onto make his first team debut for the club in April 1978 with legendary manager Bob Paisley at the helm.

Lee would remain at Anfield until 1986 and his time with the club would prove to be incredibly successful. Liverpool won the First Division title in three consecutive seasons between 1982 and 1984 with the club also twice winning the European Cup with domestic silverware in the form of the League Cup on four occasions.

After 295 appearances for Liverpool, he signed for fellow First Division side Queens Park Rangers. Spending just the 1986/87 season with the West London club before a move to Spain to sign for Osasuna.

Spending three seasons in La Liga with the Pamplona outfit, he returned to England during the 1989/90 season to join Southampton on loan before a switch to Bolton Wanderers on a permanent basis shortly afterwards.

Capped 14 times by England between 1982 and 1984, Lee made just a handful of appearances for Wanderers before calling time on his career as a professional footballer.

Invited to join the coaching staff at Liverpool in 1993 by his former teammate Graeme Souness, he was kept on at the club by both Roy Evans and Gerard Houlier. After taking the role as reserve team coach, he was promoted to the first team under Houlier.

Becoming a part-time coach with the England team under Sven-Göran Eriksson in 2001, not long before the FIFA World Cup in Korea and Japan in 2002 – he eventually left his role at Liverpool to join the national team coaching staff on a full-time basis in 2004.

Joining the Wanderers coaching staff in September 2005 as assistant to Sam Allardyce, less than a year later he turned down the opportunity to become manager of the England Under-21s to remain with Bolton.

In April 2007 following Sam Allardyce’s resignation as manager of Bolton Wanderers, Lee was confirmed as his replacement and remained in the job until October 2007. Taking charge of just 14 games during a 6 month tenure.

Returning to Liverpool as assistant manager to Rafa Benitez in May 2008, later in the year he actually took charge of a first team fixture against Arsenal due to Benitez being ill with Kidney Stones.

Lee had a third spell with Wanderers as Head of Academy Coaching and became Joint-Caretaker Manager with Jimmy Phillips following Owen Coyle’s dismissal.

A spell at Southampton followed before returning to the England coaching staff following the appointment of Sam Allardyce as the national team manager. However, he left his role following Allardyce’s dismissal and Gareth Southgate’s subsequent appointment.

The 61 year-old has since had spells at Crystal Palace and Everton, working with Sam Allardyce.


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