January 20, 2015 by bluenosebible
By Nat Peters
“The worst player I’ve ever seen”, “The worst player we’ve had in twenty years”, “An absolute abomination of a footballer”; just three of the comments I have spotted about young Olly Lee on Social Media and Blues message boards following his departure to Plymouth Argyle on loan, but to be honest I just can’t see how people can justify those comments.
Yes he wasn’t exactly Andrea Pirlo mark II, but in the appearances he made last season he generally looked a competent enough footballer. He had one or two very good games; Stoke at home in the cup and Blackburn away in the league spring to mind. He was a tidy, ball playing midfielder and whilst he may not have been good enough for a club like Blues in the long run I’m pretty sure he will be more than good enough to carve out a career in the Football League.
Calling him the worst player we’ve ever had though? No.
Above all else Olly Lee was a trier, who never failed to give less than 100% in every game. That for me gives him a status elevated from the legion of players we’ve had in the past who have given half-arsed performances game in game out. Add that to the fact that, on and off the ball, he wasn’t actually that bad a player then to me people making out he was the worst player we’ve ever had seems bizarre to say the least.
I mean if nothing else, let’s take a look at how we did in the games he played for us. In fourteen league starts last season he took part in four wins, four draws and six defeats; not exactly a spellbinding looking record, but I imagine it’s a results to game ratio that would be no worse than anyone else who played for us last season. Add to that that he scored once and chipped in with a few assists along the way, and you have to ask whether he was really that detrimental to the side?
His league debut at Leeds in October 2013 has been pointed to by many as the symbol of his time at Blues; yes he may have been overawed that day, but the entire XI who were on the Elland Road pitch were horrific that day in what was probably our worst performance of last season (and boy were there a fair few contenders for that ‘prize’). In other words, if you are going to base your opinion on a player based on how he may have performed for us that day, then quite frankly our team would be on the footballing scrapheap.
So then you have to ask, why is such opprobrium being directed towards his abilities? I think it’s because of the fact that his Dad was Rob Lee, one time England and Newcastle midfielder but more pertinently a good friend of Lee Clark. Add this to the fact that Lee Junior actually arrived at Stan’s on a free transfer from Barnet (to the apparent disappointment of Barnet coaching staff and fans alike at the time) and many people suspected that nepotism rather than merit was what got him his place at Blues. Once the seed of that suspicion was planted in many people’s minds, then chances are it was always going to grow. On top of that, as we started to struggle badly last season and people were looking for things to level against our increasingly unpopular manager, then Olly Lee became a stick to easily beat him with which no matter what you thought of the manager is unfair on any player.
But he’s gone now, and good luck to him. I think he could shine in League Two for Plymouth, and who knows with a season or two worth of games in the lower levels of English football he could really improve all round as a player and who knows he may find himself back at the sort of level we are at right now. It’s just a shame that numerous people had made seemingly their minds up about him before he kicked a ball for us, and I’m not sure if he was ever cut any slack in certain quarters. But for me he was someone who did okay enough in the games he played for us, and someone who always gave his level best so he should go with our very best wishes.
What do you think about Olly Lee?
Have some fans been too harsh on him?