Retiring Conference chairman Brian Lee admits he is humbled to earn a Lifetime Achievement award for his services to non-league football.
Lee picked up the Non-League Paper Lifetime Achievement gong at The Non-League Paper’s National Game Awards in association with The NLFA, on Wednesday. View an exclusive Interview above.
The event, held at Fulham’s Craven Cottage, saw the Chairboys legend honoured as he prepares to step down from his role as Football Conference chairman with former Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick to succeed him.
Lee undoubtedly leaves the game in a healthier state than he found it but insists the recognition he has received comes as a surprise.
“Winning a Lifetime Achievement award is an honour and a privilege – not many people achieve it and on behalf of our game at this level, I’m very proud,” explained Lee.
“If you’re involved in this game, you don’t think of these things – you get on with what you have to do.
“There isn’t really a better accolade than being recognised by your peers – it’s all very well having awards but if they are decided by people in your business, in this instance in non-league football, it’s very rewarding.
“Non-league football has changed since I first became involved because money changes everything.
“I shall still go to games – it’s in my blood and it will never leave me. I appreciate this level of the game and this is where my heart is.”
Before making his name as a football administrator, Lee cut his teeth as manager of then-amateur Wycombe.
He took over in 1968, leading them for a highly successful eight years, and says a memorable brush with the game’s elite was a real highlight.
“When I was manager of Wycombe Wanderers, who were amateur, we drew Middlesbrough, who were top of the first division, in the FA Cup third round,” added Lee.
“We drew 0-0 in front of a 12,000 sell-out crowd and then lost 1-0 in the 89th-minute in the replay. As an amateur side, running them so close was a real career highlight for me.”
The NLFA are delighted to have played a major part in the National Game Awards. With a new membership package for players coming next season to include Income & Career Ending Insurance, more players using and joining the ‘Players Directory’ and membership growing, The NLFA are slowly and surely becoming a very important role in the lives of Non-League footballers. Visit www.thenlfa.com for more information.
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