You could never accuse hard-running Liverpool midfielder Sammy Lee of lying down on the job.
But that’s precisely what he did – forty years ago – when the Reds took on West Ham in the 1981 League Cup final at Wembley.
Lee was flat-out on the turf in the West Ham penalty area when Reds’ full back Alan Kennedy fired a shot directly over him into the Hammer’s goal.
Clearly in an offside position, Lee rose to his feet while goalkeeper Phil Parkes protested vehemently to referee Clive Thomas. But the goal stood – much to the dismay of Hammers’ manager John Lyall.
Two minutes later, West Ham equalised and the match had to be replayed at Villa Park. This time the Reds triumphed 2-1, winning the competition for the first time.
Lee enjoyed more cup success in 1981 when he was in the team that won the European Cup by beating Real Madrid 1-0 at the Parc des Princes, Paris.
Liverpool had reached the final thanks to Lee marking German ace Paul Breitner out of the game in the semi-final with Bayern Munich. The Reds drew 1-1 on aggregate, but went through on the away goal rule.
Born in Liverpool in February 1959, midfielder Lee joined the Reds as an apprentice in September 1975.
He made his first team debut in April 1978, scoring in the 3-2 home victory against Leicester City after coming on as substitute for David Johnson.
Lee helped the Reds win the First Division title three years in a row, from 1982 to 1984, as well as playing in the club’s European campaigns.
He was also a member of the Milk Cup-winning team of 1983 that celebrated a 2-1 triumph over old foes Manchester United at Wembley.
In 1984, Lee scored the crucial goal in the Reds’ 1-0 victory over Dinamo Bucuresti in the first leg of the European Cup semi-final at Anfield. The second leg saw Liverpool win 2-1 with two goals from Ian Rush.
The Reds went on to win the final against Roma in a nerve-jangling penalty shoot-out in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico after the sides were locked at 1-1 after extra time.
After making 197 league appearances for Liverpool, scoring 13 league goals, Lee moved to Queen’s Park Rangers in 1986 and then to Spanish club Osasuna.
In 1989, he joined Southampton on loan before ending his playing career at Bolton Wanderers.
Lee made 14 senior appearances for England from 1982-4, scoring twice for his country. His first goal came in a 3-0 victory over Greece – his debut match under England manager Bobby Robson.
Lee’s coaching career moved into gear when former team-mate Graeme Souness recruited him for Anfield’s ‘Boot Room’ in 1993. He also coached under Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier after Souness left in 1994.
After working part-time for England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson from 2001, Lee became a permanent coach for the national team in 2004.
Lee’s time with Eriksson included England’s 2002 World Cup campaign in Japan. Much was expected of the national team, particularly after a sizzling 5-1 away victory over Germany in September 2001.
Unfortunately, England went out in the quarter finals after losing 2-1 to Brazil. Michael Owen scored the opener, but Brazil replied either side of half time.
In 2005, Lee teamed up with manager Sam Allardyce at Bolton, forging a partnership that would be rekindled through the years at a variety of clubs.
As Allardyce was known as ‘Big Sam’, Bolton fans affectionately dubbed Lee ‘Little Sam’ in contrast.
Lee was made manager at Bolton when Allardyce departed in April 2007, but left in October the same year after a poor run of results.
He was back for a spell at Anfield in May 2008 as Houllier’s assistant, leaving in June 2011.
Lee returned to Bolton in February 2012 as the head of the club’s academy and was named joint caretaker manager with Jimmy Phillips when Owen Coyle was sacked in October 2012.
In 2014, Lee became assistant coach at Southampton alongside Ronald Koeman and rejoined new England manager Sam Allardyce as part of the coaching set-up in July 2016.
When Gareth Southgate was appointed England manager, Lee linked up with Allardyce at Crystal Palace in January 2017.
Allardyce and Lee were together again at Everton from December 2017 to May 2018 – and are now at the helm of West Midlands club West Bromwich Albion.
The pair are currently locked in a fierce battle to stay in the Premier League, although they did manage a 1-1 draw with Lee’s old club Liverpool last month.
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