Thursday, 31 March 2011
319 Lee Hodges
Position : Winger
Played : 2002-03
Appearances : 7
Goals : 0
Lee was Paul Simpson's other summer signing on a free from Scunthorpe. He began his career at West Ham but only made 3 substitute appearances interspersed with many loan spells (which helped get him confused with the Barnet player who got 4 against us in one of Docherty's last games as both played for Plymouth) . His other temporary clubs were Exeter, Leyton Orient , Ipswich and Southend. Eventually Scunthorpe paid £130,000 for him in July 1999 and he quickly became one of the most feared forwards in our division although tellingly he had only come on as sub the last time we played them.
None of Simpson's signings were particularly successful but Lee was the most disappointing of the lot . I've classed him as a winger because that's where Simpson played him (and press reports when we signed him described him as a winger) but some fans opined that he was really an inside forward who should be played behind the front player(s). We never got a chance to see that because he was dropped after the first two games where he was abysmal. For all his tricky footwork he looked completely incapable of beating his man or of lasting 90 minutes. He was restored for the home game against Scunthorpe in October presumably in the hope he'd rouse himself against his former club and he did show a bit better. Their defender Matt Sparrow was sent off for kicking him after a 50/50 challenge and thereafter they seemed to be taking it in turns to try and boot him into the stand. Lee was taken off for his own safety. Thereafter he only made sporadic substitute appearances falling behind the likes of Duffy and Warner in the pecking order amid rumours that he was "too fond of his pop".
Nevertheless as our form disintegrated Lee became quite popular simply for being out of favour with the discredited management duo. His last real contribution was setting up the winner for Gavin Melaugh at home to Oxford in February having just come on for Simpson. He spent the last two months of the season on loan at Bristol Rovers making 8 appearances for them.
When Simpson walked the plank there was some hope that Lee would come good under his successor but the Board's next action was to arrange his permanent transfer to Rovers weeks before Alan Buckley was appointed. Lee made 13 mainly substitute appearances for them scoring twice in 2003-04 but didn't appear at all the following season and was released in June 2005. He subsequently played for Thurrock, Purfleet, Billericay and Hornchurch and is currently player-coach at Tilbury.