Friday, 25 March 2011
314 Lee McEvilly
Position : Forward
Played : 2001-02 to 2003-04; 2007-08 (on loan from Accrington) ; 2008-09 ( initially on loan from Cambridge )
Appearances : (first spell) 85 ; (second spell) 7; (third spell) 16
Goals : (first spell) 25 ; (second spell) 3; (third spell) 5
Along with Steve Johnson, Lee is the only other player in this story to have three separate spells at the club. He was originally signed from Burscough United for £15,000 in December 2001 and inevitably David Hamilton took the credit. It's hard to deny him that one as it's unlikely John Hollins knew where Burscough was. Lee was working at McDonalds at the time and allegedly isn't the sharpest tool in the shed.
Lee made his debut as a sub in the Kidderminster game and put himself about a bit as you'd expect from a guy of his size. He got more chances as the season progressed and looked raw but promising. While not being particularly good in the air he was always a threat in the box and could move surprisingly fast when fully fit. With Clive Platt in indifferent form it was speculated that "Evil " would eventually displace him. In April he became our first ever international when he came on for Northern Ireland in a friendly against Spain (still his only cap) . He finished his first season with 4 goals in 18 appearances plus the opening goal in the play-off game at Rushden with a run from the halfway line. After the game he was attacked for this when a scrote got on the team coach.
The following season he was a regular in the side and ended up top scorer with 15 goals although his form was up and down. That was the frustrating thing about Lee ; he could play like a pub player for 85 minutes and then score as in the draw at Bury in December 2002. His most memorable goal was the piledriver free kick at Preston which set us up for victory in the FA Cup Third Round although his most memorable game was away at York in April when he went in the nets for the injured Matt Gilks and did OK, then went upfield to take a penalty , scoring on the rebound.
Lee got off to a good start the following season scoring 4 in the first 4 games but then getting himself sent-off at Lincoln for which he served an extra suspension for continued misbehaviour after leaving the pitch. By the time he returned Steve Parkin was back and seemingly eager to find fault with all the players who'd been signed since his first spell. Lee was attacked for his weight and sent on loan to Accrington while Grant Holt replaced him in the side. He got some more outings when he returned , mainly as substitute and scored once more before Parkin released him.
Lee signed for Accrington and was a prolific scorer in the Conference which a year later got him a move back into League football with Wrexham. Lee had a decent goalscoring record there despite frequent injuries including breaking both feet which put paid to a transfer to Bradford. Eventually he fell out of favour and had his contract cancelled by mutual consent in July 2007.
He returned to Accrington but failed to score in 10 mainly substitute appearances. Then came his surprise return to Spotland on a two-month loan during which he scored on his second debut and against Wrexham helping us to maintain our promotion push. He made one more appearance for Stanley then went on loan to Cambridge and helped them to the Conference play-offs scoring both goals in the semi-final first leg.
He signed a permanent 2 year deal in the summer and was doing well until another sending-off for violent conduct in October. Shortly afterwards he made yet another return to us and after scoring twice in his third game at home to Shrewsbury he was awarded an 18-month contract, one of Keith Hill's more baffling decisions. He soon came to regret it as Lee seemed to lose control of his weight leaving a big dent in the pitchside snow when he scored at Chester. He saw the season out on loan at Barrow scoring once and picking up another red card in 6 appearances.
Lee was placed on the transfer list but agreed to leave the club before last season started and signed for Grays Athletic. After picking up an injury pre-season he left in November 2009 without ever playing for them. He had a short spell with Marine then went back to Barrow scoring the equaliser with his first touch afer coming on in the 2010 FA Trophy Final. That was his last game for them as he moved on to Sligo Rovers then returned to Burscough in November. Last month he signed for Droylsden and at 28 is doubtless good for a few more clubs yet.