Everyone associated with Port Vale FC is saddened to hear of the death of former manager Gordon Lee, who has passed away at the age of 87 on March 8 at his home in Lytham.
Gordon took his first managerial role at the Vale in May 1968 when the club was in a very difficult position, having just been re-elected to Division Four after being expelled for making illegal payments.
He set about putting together a hard-working team of free transfer players and one of his first successes was to persuade the great Roy Sproson to carry on playing for a couple of years when he was intending to retire at the age of 38.
Gordon made the team very hard to beat and they began the 1969/70 season unbeaten in their first 18 league games – which remains a club record – on the way to promotion. Sproson was the defensive star, playing in every game that season.
Gordon also took the club to a sixth-placed finish in Division Three during the 1972/73 season – its highest position for a decade – and had been in charge for 284 games by the time he resigned in January 1974 to take over the reins at Blackburn Rovers.
He later went on to manager Newcastle United, Everton, Preston NE, KR Reykjavik and Leicester City before retiring in 1991.
As a player he was a full back with Aston Villa (helping them to win the first ever League Cup in 1961) and Shrewsbury Town.
For Vale fans of a certain age, Gordon will always be remembered as the man who turned the club around from one of its lowest ebbs.
On Saturday, during the home game against Crawley Town, supporters are encouraged to join in a minute’s applause for Gordon in the 87th minute.