Interview: Funnell, Austin, Benassouda – hard to compare Lee with past legends according to Killick

Killick and Lee – (Photo Credit: League Without Limits)

Poole Town have boasted some seriously talented strikers over the years – from the heights of the Southern League down to the depths of the Hampshire League.

Whilst some came from higher up the pyramid and others left to make a name for themselves after Poole, a few special goal scorers will always be remembered fondly for their contributions for the Dolphins.

Tony Lee is already a fan favourite, and with the striker himself set on earning a place in Poole’s record books, comparisons to previous heroes are inevitable.

When asked who Lee reminded him most of, Tom Killick – current Poole boss and former fan favourite attacker – struggled to name a direct comparison, with Lee showcasing a wide array of talents.

Speaking to All Poole Aren’t We, Killick said: “He’s a bit of an old fashioned centre forward in a lot of ways. He’s quite powerful – one of his big strengths is his strength.

“His heading is a big part of his game, which is something that is less common these days for strikers.

“He’s a good all-rounder.

“So, it’s difficult to compare him. I would say he’s not completely dissimilar to Charlie Austin. He’s probably not as natural a goalscorer as Charlie, but he’s powerful in the air and he’s got a good physical presence, which Charlie obviously had.”

Despite maintaining an average of a goal a game since rejoining Poole in 2020, Killick was keen to stress the other areas of Lee’s game.

“The big thing that I like about Tony is that goals are only a part of his game. We know if the chips are down, we’re not getting much of the ball, and we need a bit of respite, the ball comes up to him, he can occupy centre-halves, he can get a hold of the ball for us so we can get up the pitch.

“When we’re not in possession he’ll work very hard. He’s just got a very good all-round game. He’s good for us when we’re out of possession, he’s good for us in terms of his hold-up play, and he’s got a goal threat.”

Before settling down at Poole, Lee led a nomadic early career. Starting off at National League Eastleigh, where he made his debut in England’s fifth tier, Lee was frequently loaned out to clubs all over the South and the football pyramid – including a spell at the Black Gold in 2016.

Now in his third spell at the club, Lee has matured in the eyes of his manager.

“He’s got a lot to offer. I feel he’s really matured as a character. When he first came to the club, first time round, I’d always say it to this face – I felt sometimes he could let you down a little bit in terms of his of where he was off the field.

“But I think he’s matured a lot – he’s got a young family. I really like him. As a person, I feel he gives his all, and I think he is a much more solid and dependable character.

“I really enjoy having him around, as well as his on the field stuff. What he’s doing off the field and what he brings to the group is very, very positive.

“He works fulltime now with Champions Sports, and I think he is really enjoying that, and he finds it quite rewarding. He’s got a lot of affinity for the club already, and from our point of view we hope he can be here for along time to come.”

With transfer rumours circling and clubs watching the man in form, Killick is confident of retaining his star – and believes that Lee is not looking to move on from a situation where he is thriving.

“I think when you get someone like Tony, it’s understandable that he’s attracting attention.

“But I think he’s happy with us, I think one of the reasons he is doing well is that he feels very happy in the environment that we’ve got at Poole.

“I think he’s very comfortable with his teammates, he acknowledges what they give him in terms of support on and off the pitch.

“I just feel that’s where you get the best out of people, where they’re happy in an environment. I think that’s the case with Tony at the moment.”

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