Liverpool legend explains controversial Everton move – “1 of my proudest achievements”

When Liverpool legend Sammy Lee took the job of assistant manager at Everton in 2017, his decision caused controversy among supporters.

However, Lee insists his achievements at Everton are “one of his proudest as a coach.”

As a boyhood Liverpool supporter, Lee lived the dream, scoring on his Reds debut in 1978, winning 10 major trophies in 10 years and going onto become a key coach at the club.

Having served Liverpool for over 23 years as a player and coach (non-chronologically), Lee took the decision to join manager Sam Allardyce at Everton in 2017 for a season at Goodison Park.

When asked if subsequent criticsm affected him, Lee told This Is Anfield: “No, I kew what was coming I’ve got to be honest with you.”

Despite initially responding with a “no,” Lee did go onto recall an incident that hurt.

“My actual granddaughter was in junior school and one of the mothers actually came up to her and said ‘your Pops is a traitor’,” the 65-year-old said.

“So that was a little bit hurtful but, I’d have to say to you, I knew what was coming and all I ever asked of people was judge me on what I do, not what I’ve done.”

When Lee arrived at Everton with Allardyce, the Blues were struggling and in danger of relegation. By the end of the campaign, they were pushing for European places.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, December 18, 2017: Everton's manager Sam Allardyce and assistant manager Sammy Lee and Swansea City's manager Paul Clement during the FA Premier League match between Everton and Swansea City at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“People have always questioned why I went there, it’s because of my passion for football and my passion for the city,” Lee continued.

“When we went to Everton, they were 16th in the table. We got them to eighth. So for me, because I love this city so much, this city needs the two teams in the Premier League. It needs them two teams.

“I have to say to you, it was actually one of the proudest moments of my coaching career to get them from 16th to eighth, simply because it meant that Everton were safe in the Premiership.

“I repeat, football is my passion but I love this city and the city needs the two teams in the Premier League.

“So for me to be part of helping that, maintaining that, solidifying that, was one of my proudest achievements as a coach.”

Those words will perhaps be surprising to hear for Liverpool fans, but speaking to the two-time European Cup winner, his passion for Liverpool is clearly just as strong as when he first stood in the Boys’ Pen at Anfield.