OLLIE’S GOT THE PEDIGREE TO SUCCEED
HIS dad was a legend at Newcastle and Charlton, scoring goals galore and winning 21 caps for England.
But Birmingham midfielder Ollie Lee insists he isn’t worried about comparisons with father Rob.
“I suppose you could see it as a disadvantage, but I don’t,” said the 22-year-old. “Dad’s someone to bounce ideas off, to direct me almost.
“He comes to most of my games and he’s always honest about whether I played well or not. It’s good, because not everybody gets that kind of feedback from someone who’s played at the highest level.
“And then there’s the people he played with. Alan Shearer, Shay Given, Warren Barton – they’d all be round for family parties and things. As a kid, you just thought that was normal but looking back it was obviously brilliant. I’ve now got all the people dad’s known in his career to turn to for advice.”
Lee came through the ranks at West Ham but, after loan spells at Gillingham and Dagenham, was released in 2012 without making a senior appearance. He subsequently joined Barnet – a move he now regrets.
“In hindsight, it was probably a mistake,” he admits. “I should have gone on trial over the summer and maybe found a club that suited me better. But Barnet was on the table and I jumped at it.
“I was signed by Mark Robson, but then Edgar Davids came in and it was all downhill really.
“Edgar was very – how can I put it – he liked the sound of his own voice. Everything was ‘What I say goes’. You couldn’t answer back and you couldn’t have an opinion on anything. If he said it, that was the right answer.
“He’s done a lot in his career and he’s worked with some great people. So in his mind I imagine he thought ‘Why should I listen to League Two players?’
“But my plan was always to go to Barnet and find my way into the Championship after six months or a year. I did it the unconventional way, but I did it.”
Offered a trial by Blues boss Lee Clark – a former Toon team-mate of Rob – in February 2013, Lee did enough to win a permanent deal and is now a fixture in the side.
“I’ve really, really enjoyed it here,” he said. “I always believed I could play at this level, it was just about getting an opportunity.
“Championship football suits my style of play far better than League Two. That’s not meant to sound arrogant, but I like to keep possession, use the ball.
“I’m probably more of a passer than my dad, more deep lying. I definitely don’t score as a many goals as he used to, but it’s something I’m trying to improve. I got my first in the Championship last week so I’m hoping to go on a little run now.”
DAD: Rob Lee BIG CHANCE: Ollie Lee on the ball for Birmingham