In Profile: Graeme Lee

We take a closer look at Graeme Lee following his appointment as the Club’s new First Team Manager.

Born in Middlesbrough into a football family, Graeme Lee went on to carve out a successful playing career in the Football League during which he made over 500 senior appearances.

A stylish centre-back, he came through the ranks at Hartlepool United where he made a debut in 1995 at the age of just 17 when appearing as a substitute against Arsenal in the League Cup.

Unfazed by coming up against the likes of Ian Wright and Dennis Bergkamp, Lee quickly established himself in the Pools back four and was a core part of the team as they reached the League Two play-offs three seasons in a row.

Lee recovered from a serious knee injury to be a virtual ever-present in the heart of the defence as Pools finally clinched automatic promotion when they finished runners-up in 2002/03.

His dominant and classy performances meant that Pools boss Chris Turner took him to Sheffield Wednesday when he was appointed boss at Hillsborough and Lee was Player of the Year in his debut campaign.

The Owls bounced back from relegation to win promotion with a Play-Off Final win in 2004/05 – ironically beating Lee’s former side Hartlepool at The Millennium Stadium – though missed the game through injury.

He moved onto Doncaster Rovers in 2006 and he clinched a place in the Club’s history books when he captained the side to the EFL Trophy Final in 2007 and scored the winning goal to land the silverware.

Loans at Hartlepool and Shrewsbury Town followed before Lee made a permanent switch to Bradford City in 2008 and then Notts County in 2009 where he went on to win another promotion.

In 2011 he agreed a deal to join Darlington, but financial problems soon beset The Quakers and he left in January 2012 to play the remainder of the season at Celtic Nation before retirement.

Hometown club Middlesbrough offered him the opportunity to cut his teeth in coaching with a position in their much-celebrated Academy and Lee never looked back.

He spent over a decade working in various roles within the Boro set-up before being unveiled as Lead Coach for the club’s Under-23s in 2019.

However, ambition burned deeply inside Lee and when the opportunity arose for him to take up the challenge as Manager of Hartlepool United in 2021, he could not turn down a return to his former club.

Filling the shoes of promotion-winning boss Dave Challinor was a tough ask, Lee got stuck in and led the team to the semi-finals of the EFL Trophy as well as a memorable to the FA Cup Fourth Round where almost 5,000 travelling fans saw them beaten at Premier League Crystal Palace.

Fans were surprised when Lee parted company with the club after less than six months in charge but his appetite to prove himself was undiminished and he reemerged in charge of Marske United last summer.

Financial problems at Mount Pleasant made the job a tricky one but Lee persevered and gave the club’s supporters something to smile about over Christmas as victories over Ashton United and Guiseley helped lift them out of the danger zone.

Lee’s appointment as boss at The Brewery Field means he is following in the footsteps of his legendary father Tony, who was manager of Spennymoor United in the early-2000s.

Playing Career
1995-2003: Hartlepool United
2003-2006: Sheffield Wednesday
2006-2008: Doncaster Rovers
2008: Hartlepool United (loan)
2008: Shrewsbury Town (loan)
2008-2009: Bradford City
2009-2011: Notts County
2011-2012: Darlington
2012-2013: Celtic Nation

Coaching & Management Career
2011-2021: Middlesbrough
2021-2022: Hartlepool United
2023: Marske United

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