Graeme Lee on the appointment of Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Marske United

Former Pools boss Lee was on his way to Riverside Stadium to watch Boro play Coventry on the final day of the Championship season when he received a message from Miller, who had heard he was getting the managerial job at Marske United .

Lee was unaware of this at the time but within 24 hours the Seasiders did get in touch and after positive talks over the past few weeks, the 44-year-old Teessider has been appointed as the new manager, replacing Carl Jarrett, who had returned at the end of the season he moved to Mount Pleasant on a short-term contract and did an excellent job of guiding Marske into the safety of the Northern Premier League Premier Division.

It is an eye-catching and impressive appointment. Lee was last in charge of Hartlepool, where he was harshly sacked despite guiding Pools safely to the Second Division, the FA Cup Fourth Round and the Papa John’s Trophy semi-finals. Before that he was the respected boss of Middlesbrough’s Under 23.

But the Marske job “felt right,” says Lee. He has received many offers since exiting the pools 12 months ago, but his number one priority is his family. In 2019, Lee’s wife Gemma was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and last year he lost his father Tony, a staunch companion and a legend of the local non-league scene.

“I haven’t been in the game for a while and you have time to sit back and think,” Lee tells the Northern Echo after his appointment to Marske was confirmed.

“But I also had quality time with my family.

“We experienced what Gemma went through for four years. It’s continuous, it doesn’t go away. The most important thing for me is that my family and I are here. I’ve had good opportunities to break into professional sport, but it would be six days a week, five-hour round trips. It just doesn’t suit me, even considering what an opportunity that would be. I don’t think so, my family is number one.

“And the conversations I had with Marske just felt right. It’s an opportunity I’m really looking forward to.”

A year after leaving Hartlepool, Lee is not at all pleased with his former side’s plight. In fact, he says he still has “sleepless nights” and thinks about what he could have accomplished had he had the chance.

He was sacked just two days before the final game of the 2021/22 season, despite keeping Pools safe after taking charge mid-season following the departure of Dave Challinor. He guided Hartlepool to an FA Cup fourth round away game at Crystal Palace and his side came close to reaching the Papa John’s Trophy final on penalties.

“Looking back, I still have sleepless nights,” Lee said.

“This season has just been so difficult to watch. I was just hoping they would stay up somehow. You desperately wish they don’t go under after working so hard to even get back up.”

“I look back and think of the plans and preparations we had for the summer. I had a lot of talks and very good players lined up to join, players who went to other clubs and got promoted there. They were ready to come.” .

“It was frustrating. The squad I had was looking forward to pre-season and ready to build on what we had achieved. Unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity. It’s a club and a fanbase that shouldn’t have gone through what they had.” “I came through. They should have been a challenge at the top end of the table.”

Despite the way it worked out for Lee at Suit Direct Stadium, he has absolutely no regrets giving up his role as Middlesbrough U23 boss to join pools at the end of 2021.

He says: “A lot of people have told me I had a good job at Middlesbrough. Do I regret my farewell? The answer is no, I wouldn’t change it for anything. I had the opportunity to manage a club that I really like and I wouldn’t change that.

“I’ve had some incredible times. It hurt me and sometimes I think looking back that there are things I would change, but overall I was happy with the work we did and we had done a lot of planning behind the scenes that was necessary.” us forward.”

Looking ahead, Lee looks forward to the challenge at Marske.

He says: “Last season the club finished just two games before the end of the season. Carl has returned with Ian Clark who I am keeping by my side as my assistant and they have done a fantastic job. Hopefully I can build on that.” That.

“We just want to create something every year that we can build on and eventually try to get promotion, but it’s not like we have to do it the first year, it’s about building something that we can everyone and the fans can participate.” proud of.

“The club has already achieved great things, I just want to build on that.” Graeme Lee on the appointment of Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Marske United

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