Former Wolves Boss Is Done Roaming
Colin Lee turns 65 tomorrow and has retired. Or at least that status in life is how he has increasingly been seeing himself.
“We’ve had 25 different places but this is us now,” he said, from the home that offers a high and majestic look-out over the busiest stretch of Devon’s holiday coast. “What we can say is that this is our retirement home.
“Our son Marc and daughter Emma now live in Torquay, so we are all together again after being apart for a few years. We have two grandkids – one child to each of them – who are three and two and a half respectively, so we are busy grandparents. The family are our life really.
“I’ve just come out of six years of running a successful soccer school for Chelsea here in the south-west. I barely got paid for it but wanted t give local youngsters the chance to experience being associated with a Premier League club. It proved very successful – we got more than 20 lads into the academies at Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City to enhance their football understanding and development.
“It was every Friday night from 4.30 to 9.15, under-eights to under-13s, and it will obviously be a few years before we know how many of them might develop well enough to make a living from the game.
“But some of them have plenty of promise, including one very talented left-footed boy whose progress I will be following.”
Among a post-Wolves tally of appointments that almost reaches into double figures, Lee – also an ex-Walsall manager – has had two spells with Torquay; one as consultant to the team manager and then caretaker boss himself early in the Millennium, the other a longer stay that included roles as director of football, acting team manager and chief executive.
He has also had substantial scouting associations with Leeds and Steve McLaren’s England era as well as succeeding Steve Claridge in the manager’s chair at Millwall and linking up again (as at Torquay) with former Wolves captain Keith Curle at Notts County.
But a visit to a property into which he and wife Lynda moved only in January from an even bigger place up the road goes a long way to explaining why he is satisfied with his lot and no longer on the job-chasing treadmill. This is elegant living and then some – and it’s time for some clarification.
“I made nothing like the money from football that is available now – I earned most of mine through property,” added the former owner of Hanch Hall stately home, near Lichfield.
“We built our last place almost from scratch by demolishing a bungalow and just constructing from some of the walls that we kept in place. Going right back to my playing days, I have always had a love of property and Lynda has a real passion for the interior design and home furnishings side.
“We’re quite prepared to get our hands dirty as well. I’m not qualified in any of the trades but I have learned enough from watching the experts at work to be able to do some of the plumbing, electrics, drainage etc – and to site-manage. Being able to speed things along has made some of our projects go more smoothly.”
Torquay-born Lee, who was disappointed when covid restrictions meant he couldn’t attend the funeral of Dot Wooldridge in January, has also been writing a football column in the Torbay Weekly newspaper for the last year.
We wish him many happy returns for his landmark birthday tomorrow which, by coincidence, falls on the day of a National League play-off semi-final between Torquay and Notts County.