New Everton assistant manager Sammy Lee has spoken of his “honour” at joining a “global football club” with “history”, “quality” and the foundations for “a bright future”.
Lee, who previously worked with Sam Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers, England and Crystal Palace, was confirmed as the number two to the new Blues boss on Friday.
And, speaking in his exclusive first interview with evertontv, the 58-year-old said: “Yes, it was (an easy decision to join Everton). This is a fantastic football club and people know my history, people know my affiliation to Liverpool but I’m also affiliated to Liverpool as a city and I think for me to be given the opportunity to work here at Everton, it’s an honour and a pleasure.
“It’s a global football club and nobody needs to be educated [on that] wherever they are. People know about Everton Football Club, people know about the history here, people know about the quality here, and you just have to walk around the building [at USM Finch Farm] to see the plans they have put in here to make sure the future is bright going forward.
“It’s a big challenge, it’s certainly one I’m looking forward to and I’ll be doing my utmost to get the best out of this football club.”
Lee began his coaching career with Liverpool in 1993, having previously played for the Reds as a midfielder between 1976 and 1986. While at Anfield, he was recruited to the England coaching set-up, where he worked under Sven-Goran Eriksson.
After four years with the Three Lions, Lee departed to link up with Allardyce at Bolton, another of his former clubs, later taking over as the Trotters’ manager.
Another spell at Liverpool came before a brief return to Bolton as Head of Academy Coaching preceded him being appointed to Allardyce’s England coaching team.
He then followed Allardyce to Palace in January 2017 before reuniting with him for a third time late last week.
“I think in every team behind the team, which is what we are, there are certain components and Sam is very good at bringing different components in to aid him,” added Lee.
“There’s a number of us, not just myself, and we’ll be here trying to make the best for Sam and for the team. We’re here to get the best out of the players and that’s our goal.
“The main thing for us is to try to instil into the players that they’re a talented group - they proved that last week - and to build upon that and to take it forward, and to get the results that this football club deserves.”
Lee was in the Goodison dugout for the first time on Saturday as Allardyce’s reign got off to a winning start with a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield, courtesy of goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The hugely-respected coach was particularly pleased with the Blues securing their second clean sheet in a row – and thanked Evertonians for the warm reception they have given him and Allardyce since moving to the Club.
“The support for me personally has been excellent and that means a lot,” said Lee. “I live in this city and to get their words of support and encouragement has been excellent.
“The win was very good. After a nervous first half, which is understandable, the goal settled us down and to get the second was very pleasing. For me, to see the support we all got was excellent. It’s vitally important the supporters get behind us because they are crucial to us winning any game.
“It was vitally important for everybody that we kept a clean sheet. Sam has a basic that you build upon and one of them is clean sheets because from that you can do anything. With the forwards we’ve got we feel we can always score goals. It’s a positive platform to build on.
“It was extra special being the first game. For us to get the clean sheet, to get the win, it was crucial for the whole football club.”