Members News: Sky Blues’ Noughties Striker Hits 54 Today. ‘Happy Birthday’, Lee!!

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Lee Mills in the Sky Blue

In October 2021 we welcomed to the Association Sky Blues former noughties left sided striker Lee Mills. Today we have another cause for celebration, Lee is celebrating his 54th birthday! Congrats Lee!

Born in Mexborough on 10th July 1970 Lee (actually full name Rowan Lee Mills) made 293 Football League appearances in a fourteen year career scoring 86 goals.  Lee was well travelled footballer and attracted big money moves totalling around £2m during his playing time! He started out with Stocksbridge Park Steels before First Division Wolverhampton Wanderers took a punt on him for 1993-94 and he repaid them with six goals in his 33 games over two seasons.

He then transferred to their D1 rivals Derby County for  the 1994-95 season grabbing seven goals in just 16 outings before moving to another D1 side Port Vale for the following season as a make-weight. Thus in July 1995 the Rams paid the Vale £475k plus Lee to gain the services of Robin van der Laan.

A younger Lee at Port Vale

Lee actually debuted for the Valiants against the Rams as a substitute in August 1995 and quickly became a valued regular for Port Vale over three seasons 1995-98 netting a fine 44 goals in 128 games. Lee then became Bradford City‘s first £1 million player in summer 1998 and he played a big part in the club’s  promotion to the Premier League becoming the club’s top scorer. Poor form and injury however restricted his opportunities in 1999–2000 and he spent March 2000 on loan with First Division Manchester City for three appearances. By the time he moved again to Portsmouth for a club-record £1.25 million he had scored 34 goals in 80 appearances for the Bantams. In his one and a bit seasons with Pompey he netted five goals in his 29 appearances before he started his Sky Blue days.

Roland Nilsson (& assistant Jim Smith)

With Gordon Strachan sacked in September 2001 it was WGS‘ replacement (and now fellow CCFPA member) Roland Nilsson in charge when Lee’s one-month loan to CCFC in November 2001 turned into a £250k move to the Sky Blues at year’s end. This had a lot to do with Lee’s inspiring debut, being applauded off the field for a great display, topped off with our eightieth minute second goal in a 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace on 28th November 2001 followed up by another goal three days later in our 3-1 defeat of Wimbledon! However his stay with the Sky Blues was not without injury and incident as he needed time to recover from a broken arm and various leg injuries. In February 2003 with Roland gone and replaced by Gary McAllister Lee moved on again to Stoke City (following initially a one-month loan) having contributed ten goals in his 42 Sky Blue games.

Lee Mills in Sky Blue action

His stay with the Potters lasted until July 2003 when he signed with Telford United after eleven games and two goals for the Staffordshire club. However, thirty games and eleven goals later the non league club collapsed and Telford’s fellow Conference National side Hereford United won the race for his signature for 2003-04 and the veteran managed nine goals in his 36 games that season before deciding to look for a coaching position. Though he was linked with the managers job at Midland Football Alliance club Rocester in December 2009, it was not until May 2010 that he gaimed a gaffer’s chair at Rocester’s league rivals Bridgnorth Town but his first managerial attempt finished with his resignation after the 2010–11 season was over. Lee next ended up as assistant manager at Bridgnorth’s league rivals Ellesmere Rangers in 2011 but resigned the following January.

Lee at Stourbridge FC

Being a holder of the UEFA ‘B’ coaching license and the FA Youth Modules as well as the PTTLS teaching qualification Lee has been the Head Football Coach at Dudley College since 2016 and also manages the College affiliate side, Team Dudley, that operates in the West Midlands (Regional) League Division One. In May 2018 he became new Academy manager at Stourbridge FC (though he continued to assist Dudley College).

‘Happy Birthday’ Lee. When your other commitments allow we would love you entertain you at the CBS for a Sky Blues home game if you care to visit us and/or you can make it to next year’s Legends Day or Golf Day!

 

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