New Lee of life

Former Nottingham Forest striker Jason Lee sat down with Helen and Max on the Soccer AM sofa to discuss his past and future.

Last Updated: 30/03/13 at 11:36 Post Comment

Jason Lee during his days in the top flight with Forest

Jason Lee during his days in the top flight with Forest

The 41-year-old, whose distinctive dreadlock ponytail earned him the affectionate nickname of 'Pineapple Head,' was still active as a player as recently as last season with Boston United.

At Boston, Lee had converted a decade's worth of coaching youngsters into his first managerial role - initially in joint-control with Lee Canoville, then taking the reins himself before being shown the door in December.

Lee told Soccer AM: "I was manager of Boston for the last two seasons. I was player-manager this season and was ready to play if needed, but hopefully I wasn't. I was out of retirement, and came back a couple of times. I enjoyed playing. You realise you're getting on and you go and work with young players - especially young strikers.

"I played a few games, scored a few goals and couldn't take myself out of the team again. I was really enjoying. I played 20-odd games which I didn't expect to play but that was the way it worked. It's a nightmare to manage and play. You're in the middle of it. It's difficult.

"I would imagine the pressure goes up at the higher standards but management at any level, you've got the same problems. You want three points and chairman are still knocking at your door. Players still want to play. You're still arguing about numbers. At the end of the day, you want to win a game of football, so the pressure's there from yourself.

"You can't afford to send scouts out to watch games, so I tend to go and watch a lot of games myself. We didn't have a budget that counted for a nutritionist etc but I had a good few people who I've met over the years who came in and worked for next to nothing.

"I would like to go back into it. I've been coaching for the best part of 10 years with kids and inevitably you've got to aim a bit higher. I was offered an opportunity to go in and coach men so I wasn't going to say 'no.' Coaching is great - I enjoy working with the young players but if you get the chance to work with the first team, then you shouldn't be scared. We all know managers get the sack."

Golden era

Lee reacted to his sacking with impressive determination and was quickly back to work in coaching - rejoining his former employers Nottingham Forest to help hone the skills of their hopefuls.

While he will always be remembered for his time in the top flight with the City Ground club, Lee is one of the most-travelled of English strikers having played for no fewer than 18 clubs during a career that began back in 1989.

He added: "I was only at Forest for a short time. Three seasons and 75 appearances. I work at the club now in the community side and coaching the young players. I'm still heavily involved.

"We've met the new owner and he's reinvigorated the place. We've got Billy Davies back too and everyone around the club is excited. I know the new owner took the manager out (to his palace) recently, so we're hoping to have an end-of-season trip there!"

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