Eastleigh goalkeeper Graham Stack has praised former Chesterfield shot-stopper, and fellow Staffordshire University graduate Tommy Lee after the 31-year-old was forced to retire this week through a recurring shoulder injury.
Stack was speaking in the StaffsLive broadcast newsroom at Staffordshire University, where he is hoping to follow in Lee’s footsteps by graduating from the Professional Sports Writing and Broadcast course which is sponsored by the Professional Footballers’ Association.
Lee made 328 appearances for Chesterfield in a nine-year spell and Stack believes that his absence coincided with a poor run of form which saw The Spireites eventually relegated last season.
“He’s a cult-hero at Chesterfield,” said Stack.
“Having played so many games for them, I think that his absence through injury played a major factor in Chesterfield going down last season.”
Having started his career at Manchester United, Lee was part of the 2005 reserve team which won the quadruple.
Unfortunately for him, it never worked out with The Red Devils, and after spells at Macclesfield Town and Rochdale, he initially signed for Chesterfield on a one-year deal back in 2008.
During his time with Chesterfield, he picked up two League 2 medals, and also earned his way into the League 2 PFA Team of the Year on both occasions.
Goalkeeping can be hard on the body, and having endured several injuries himself, Stack understands Lee’s decision to retire.
“It’s physically very demanding of the body, and over time, after years and years of pounding your body, and diving on the ground day in, day out – it catches up on you.”