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Sammy Lee (born February 7, 1959 in Liverpool) was a diminutive but skilful midfield player in the great Liverpool team of the early 1980s.
Lee rose through the ranks at Anfield after joining on an apprenticeship in 1976, making his first team debut in April 1978 against Leicester City and scoring a goal. A year earlier he had been put in the squad for a huge European Cup semi-final and although he didn't play, manager Bob Paisley said he would have had no qualms about using him if required.
Lee became a regular from 1980 onwards and established a reputation as a sharp-passing and strong-running midfield player who could also hit a decent shot.
In the 1981 League Cup final, Lee was at the centre of a controversial incident which left opponents West Ham United feeling slightly cheated. Lee had ventured forwards in an attack and ended up flat out on the turf following a challenge. The West Ham defence pushed out of their area to leave Lee in an obvious offside position but when Liverpool full back Alan Kennedy scored with a follow-up shot, the goal stood. The rules about "interfering with play" were still vague back then, and there is no doubt that a similar goal now would also be allowed to stand without complaint. West Ham did equalise but Liverpool won the replay with Lee in the side.
In that year's European Cup semi-final against Bayern Munich, Lee was unusually asked to do a man-marking job on Paul Breitner, the strong and skilful West German player. It was the first instance Liverpool players recall of worrying at all about an opponent, normally preferring to let the opposition do the worrying, but Lee did the marking job to perfection and Liverpool went through to the final against Real Madrid, which they won with Lee again in the side.
Lee got this first League title medal in 1982 and also helped Liverpool retain the League Cup; the same applied in 1983 and 1984, the latter of which was also the year of their fourth and final European Cup triumph - Lee played in every game en route to the final and scored a clinching goal in the semi-final.
Lee won the first of 14 England caps during this period, again scoring on his debut in a victory over Greece.
Injuries took their toll in 1985 and Lee struggled to regain his previous form. With Jan Mølby in the side, there was no longer a place for Lee at Liverpool and he moved on. Spells at QPR, CA Osasuna, Southampton and Bolton Wanderers followed before he retired from playing.
His former Liverpool captain, Graeme Souness, invited Lee to join his coaching staff in 1993 and he did so with relish and respect to the extent that both Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier kept him on the payroll after Souness left, gaining promotion from reserve team coach to first team coach under Houllier.
Lee became a part-time coach under Sven-Göran Eriksson with England in 2001, eventually leaving Liverpool to go full-time with the national set-up in 2004.
This was to be a role that he would remain in for a year, but in June 2005 he made a return to former club Bolton as the assistant-manager to Sam Allardyce following the departure of Phil Brown to Derby County. He will continue his coaching commitments with the England team on a part-time basis.
He's fat, he's round, you bounce him on the ground......
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