Gordon Lee (footballer)

Gordon Lee (footballer)
Gordon Lee
Personal information
Full name Gordon Francis Lee
Date of birth 13 July 1934 (1934-07-13) (age 77)
Place of birth Cannock, England
Playing position Right-back
Youth career
Girton Road Gasworks
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Hednesford Town
1955–1966 Aston Villa 118 (2)
1966–1967 Shrewsbury Town 2 (0)
Total 120+ (2+)
Teams managed
1968–1974 Port Vale
1974–1975 Blackburn Rovers
1975–1977 Newcastle United
1977–1981 Everton
1981–1983 Preston North End
1985–1987 KR Reykjavik
1991 Leicester City (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only. † Appearances (Goals).

Gordon Francis Lee (born 13 July 1934 in Cannock, Staffordshire) is a former English footballer and football manager.

A right-back during his playing days, he moved from Hednesford Town to Aston Villa in 1955. He spent the next eleven years with the "Villans", winning a Second Division championship medal in 1959–60, a League Cup winners medal in 1961, as well as a League Cup runners-up medal in 1963. He then moved on to Shrewsbury Town in 1966, where he made the shift from player to coach.

He began his management career with Port Vale in 1968, leading them to promotion out of the Fourth Division in 1969–70. Switching to Blackburn Rovers in January 1974, he took them to the Third Division title in 1974–75. This won him the top job at Newcastle United, and in 1976 he led Newcastle to the Football League Cup final. He took up the reigns at Everton in 1977, and also took them to the League Cup Final later in the year. After losing his job at Everton in 1981, he was appointed manager of Preston North End, before he departed two years later. In 1985 he moved to Iceland to manage KR Reykjavik, before he left the club in 1987. Returning to England behind the scenes at Leicester City, he spent a brief period of 1991 as the club's caretaker-manager.


Playing career

Lee was a full-back who began at Hednesford Town and joined Aston Villa in October 1955. In 1959–60, the Villans were crowned Second Division champions. Though Lee played no part in the club's 1957 FA Cup Final victory over Manchester United, he played in both of Villa's League Cup finals. The 1961 final saw Villa defeat Rotherham United 3–2 on aggregate to become the inaugural winners of the competition. Lee also played in both legs of the 1963 final, which ended in a 3–1 aggregate defeat to rival's Birmingham City. He made over 100 appearances for Villa before he was transferred to Shrewsbury Town in July 1966, later becoming a trainer-coach at Town. He also served as Arthur Rowley's assistant manager.

Management career

Lee started his management career with Port Vale in May 1968. Succeeding Stanley Matthews, he was an archetypal modern manager; track-suited and with a focus on coaching.[1] Devising an individual coaching plan for each player, he build a side around fitness and teamwork. Under his command Vale gained promotion to the Third Division at the first attempt.[1] Veteran Roy Sproson later said that "Lee was a great person to work for. He was as straight as a die but, if anything, rather cautious and predictable. If he took over a team in North Vietnam, I would know the way they play."[2]

In January 1974 he left for Blackburn Rovers, leading them to promotion from the Third Division. In 1975 he moved on to Newcastle United, where he led the team to the final of the League Cup in 1976.

He switched to Everton in 1977. In his first season at Everton the team finished ninth and reached the League Cup Final and the FA Cup semi-finals. In the next seasons Everton mounted serious title challenges before finishing third and fourth but the 1979–80 season was deemed a failure. Lee brought in several players who were later to become successful: Kevin Ratcliffe, Graeme Sharp and Steve McMahon. Even though he was well respected by the players, Lee was sacked by Everton's chairman Philip Carter on 6 May 1981.

Lee's next move was to Preston North End, he led the club from 1981 to 1983, when he left the English game. He took up a coaching position at Icelandic KR before returning to England with Leicester City as a coach and then assistant manager.[1] He was also Leicester City's manager for a spell in 1991. Despite only being caretaker manager of Leicester City for a brief period, Gordon Lee is fondly remembered for saving the club from relegation to the uncharted depths of the (old) Third Division following the disastrous tenure of David Pleat.


as a Player

with Aston Villa

as a Manager

with Port Vale
with Blackburn Rovers
with Newcastle United
with Everton


  1. ^ a b c Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 171. ISBN 0952915200. http://www.amazon.ca/Port-Vale-Personalities-Jeff-Kent/dp/0952915200. 
  2. ^ Harper, Chris (February 17 1975). "Meet the Managers". The Sentinel. http://www.sprosonfund.com/Stories/meetthemanagers.html. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 

External links

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