Fans delight in Lee appointment

Fans delight in Lee appointment

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez put the scouse heart back into his coaching staff today by appointing Sammy Lee as his new assistant manager.

If there has been a criticism of Benitez's backroom staff at Anfield, it is that the local connection has disappeared.

Lee's return to the club will be met with wholesale approval of the fans and certainly the Liverpool-based stars at Anfield.

Benitez has not only lost his Spanish assistant Paco Ayesteran this season, but earlier in the month coach Alex Miller left to take up a management post in Japan.

Benitez alluded to the need for a Liverpool heart restored to the backroom by saying: "We are very pleased to have brought Sammy back to Liverpool because he is someone who knows the club really well.

"He also knows about the passion of the club and about the standards that we set here so that will make it much easier for him to settle into his new role.

"But we have not brought Sammy back simply because he used to play for the club and used to work here as a coach.

"He is a very experienced and very well respected coach in his own right and his reputation in football made him the outstanding candidate when we knew we were looking for a new member of our coaching staff.

"He will add something different to what we already have and it will be good to work with him.

"I already have a good relationship with him and I will be looking to build on that in the weeks and months to come."

Lee already has a great relationship with the Kop, having been a key figure in the glory days of the 1980s as a player, winning the European Cup, league title and league cup.

After his playing career ended he returned to the club as reserve team manager and then first coach under Graeme Souness and Gerard Houllier.

He initially left Anfield again to maintain his coach role in the England set-up, before taking over assistant manager and then the replacement for Sam Allardyce at Bolton.

He was sacked by the Reebok club earlier this season however, and has been out of the game until Benitez's approach earlier this month.

Now Lee is back at his spiritual home, and he told liverpoolfc.tv: "I have been away for a while but everyone knows what this club means to me and it is a great pleasure to be back.

"When a club the size of Liverpool comes in for you, and when a manager of the magnitude of Rafael Benitez wants you, then you cannot say no. When I found out they were interested in me I was really thrilled.

"After the sabbatical I have had I just wish the season was starting tomorrow, but the players have had a long, difficult and demanding season and they need to get away and get their batteries recharged.

"I have been around the Melwood training ground this morning and seen a lot of old faces but a lot of new faces as well.

"I have shaken hands with everyone and introduced myself. There are some great people here and I cannot wait to get working with them. It is so nice to be back."

He added: "I was very honoured and privileged to be given the position as Bolton manager.

"The pride and the honour I felt to be their manager was only outweighed by the sheer disappointment that it did not go well.

"I have to say the Bolton fans were fantastic towards me. I have not had the chance to say that before but I want to thank them.

"Even when results were not going well they were very supportive towards me and, most importantly, to the players."

But now he is back at the club he has supported since he was a boy.

He said: "I think the club have made great progress over the last few years and they were so close to having a great season this time around. Hopefully we can keep improving and get to where we all want."

It has also emerged that reserve team goalkeeper David Martin, 22, has signed a new contract which will keep him at the club until 2010.

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