Lee pulls out of Brighton move
Published 29/06/2014 | 11:47
Sammy Lee has done a U-turn and will not be taking up the position of assistant manager with Brighton.
The former England and Liverpool midfielder had agreed to leave his role as the head of academy coaching and development at Bolton to take up the position with their Championship rivals following the appointment of Sami Hyypia as boss.
Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said: "It is extremely disappointing for the club, Sami Hyypia and those of us who worked hard to bring him here, that Sammy Lee has now reversed his decision after agreeing to become assistant manager.
"Nobody at our club or Bolton was aware of any interest from Southampton until several hours after we announced Sammy's appointment as our assistant manager. It's certainly not a situation any of us have come across before.
"Having already agreed his contract and terms with us to start work on Monday, we could have insisted on Sammy serving a notice period but we all feel it would have been counter-productive to do so - and while it's incredibly frustrating for us we wish Sammy well.
"Our focus now is on working with Sami to help him recruit his assistant - while also supporting him to bring in the players he needs to improve the squad for the new season."
Lee apologised for the situation on the Seagulls' official website as he said: "I was thrilled to be offered the job at Brighton and I was excited at the prospect of working with Sami Hyypia again.
"But, totally unexpectedly, I have been given an opportunity to work in the Premier League.
"I fully appreciate that this is not an ideal set of circumstances and I am very sorry for the inconvenience and any embarrassment my change of mind, after the announcement was made, has caused.
"However, at this stage of my coaching career, the opportunity to work again at the very top level of English football was not something I felt I could turn down.
"I hope everyone at Brighton can understand the difficult predicament I found myself in and why I made this decision."