There was uproar from some quarters of the Everton fanbase when it was looking like Sam Allardyce was to be appointed the next permanent manager last week. That grew to almost universal outrage in the Blue world when he brought in his long-time assistant Sammy Lee, who has featured prominently for Liverpool both as player and manager in the past.
However, his track record over the years should soothe the minds of any Toffees who are worried where his allegiances might lay, or if he’ll truly give his current job his 100% commitment.
Speaking to evertontv, Lee insisted that he had no hesitation with taking the Blues job.
“Yes, it was (an easy decision to join Everton). This is a fantastic football club and people know my history, people know my affiliation to Liverpool but I’m also affiliated to Liverpool as a city and I think for me to be given the opportunity to work here at Everton, it’s an honour and a pleasure.
“It’s a global football club and nobody needs to be educated [on that] wherever they are. People know about Everton Football Club, people know about the history here, people know about the quality here, and you just have to walk around the building [at USM Finch Farm] to see the plans they have put in here to make sure the future is bright going forward.
“It’s a big challenge, it’s certainly one I’m looking forward to and I’ll be doing my utmost to get the best out of this football club.”
Lee has worked with Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers, England and Crystal Palace, along with two stints at the Reds.
“I think in every team behind the team, which is what we are, there are certain components and Sam is very good at bringing different components in to aid him,” added Lee.
“There’s a number of us, not just myself, and we’ll be here trying to make the best for Sam and for the team. We’re here to get the best out of the players and that’s our goal.
“The main thing for us is to try to instil into the players that they’re a talented group - they proved that last week - and to build upon that and to take it forward, and to get the results that this football club deserves.”
Fans did not fail to notice his animated form on the bench as he vocally applauded every action on the pitch.
“The support for me personally has been excellent and that means a lot. I live in this city and to get their words of support and encouragement has been excellent.
“The win was very good. After a nervous first half, which is understandable, the goal settled us down and to get the second was very pleasing. For me, to see the support we all got was excellent. It’s vitally important the supporters get behind us because they are crucial to us winning any game.
“It was vitally important for everybody that we kept a clean sheet. Sam has a basic that you build upon and one of them is clean sheets because from that you can do anything. With the forwards we’ve got we feel we can always score goals. It’s a positive platform to build on.
“It was extra special being the first game. For us to get the clean sheet, to get the win, it was crucial for the whole football club.”
Former Evertonian Michael Ball, writing in his column in the Liverpool Echo, added that he was certain that Lee would be one of the first to celebrate if Everton scored at Anfield in the Merseyside Derby this weekend.
.. he's always bouncing around from the off – he's a proper football man.
Whatever team he's with he has a great passion for the game and the Blues fans will have seen him up and down the touchline on Saturday, the was geeing the players on throughout the entire match.
He's a winner and I've seen him many times in opposition to Liverpool and when his side score he's the first to jump up because he wants to win. That's why we've brought him to the club.
With the depths the Blues have plumbed this season, fans will be happy to see any improvement on the pitch, even if a former Red will be partly responsible for it.