Richard Lee: The Entrepreneurial Goalkeeper.
Experienced Brentford goalkeeper Richard Lee is a player known by many fans in The Football League. The 31 year old has experienced the many highs and lows that football entails including promotion, relegation, final day heartache and many injuries.
Lee started his career at Watford FC whom he joined at the age of 10 and didn’t leave until he was nearly 27. Lee made 110 appearances for Watford FC during eight seasons as a professional at the club. He made 14 appearances for Watford in the Premiership during the 2006/07 season deputizing for injured goalkeeper Ben Foster. Lee even started the FA Cup semi final against Manchester United a game which Watford lost 4-2.
Lee joined Brentford in the summer of 2010. He immediately lost his place in the Brentford team and at one point he was the third choice goalkeeper behind Simon Moore and loanees Ben Hamer and Alex McCarthy. However, Lee put in the hours on the training pitch and impressed massively in the Bees 2-1 win over Everton in the League Cup and Lee felt that this was the “Catalyst” in his Brentford career. After forcing his way into the Brentford team, Lee went on to win the player of the season award in his first year at the club despite suffering from a shoulder injury towards the end of the season. After three seasons at Brentford, Lee has amassed 81 appearances for the Bees.
In a recent interview, Lee felt that this season has “been great” as Brentford achieved promotion to the Championship after coming so close on two occasions last year. He said to “loose out against Doncaster and to also loose out in the play off final was difficult”. He went on to tell me that the club put behind their poor start of the season by going on “an unbelievable run of 25 games unbeaten with a lot of wins in there”. Although, it has been a good season for the Bee’s, Lee’s 2013/14 season has been dampened due to injuries. Lee said “I’ve been injured for a lot of the season and I didn’t play as many games as I would have liked”. However, although he “would have liked to have played more”, Lee felt that being part of the squad that achieved automatic promotion to the Championship is something that will “stay with me for a long long time”. Lee went on to tell me that Mark Warburton “has been great” since he took over. The 31 year old believes that Warburton is the modern manager with his style of football being sensible. He said that it “hasn’t surprised me at all that since he’s taken over we’ve gone on to greater success” and also feels that Brentford will do “very well next season under his leadership”.
A large part of Lee’s career to date was spent at Watford FC. He said that Watford is “a fantastic club” right the way up “from the academy to the fans”. Lee said that “he hasn’t got a bad word to say about Watford” and has “lots of incredible memories” which he has taken from his time at the Hertfordshire club. Richard lists his favorite moment in a Watford shirt as the match against Manchester City in the Premier League. He felt that “to keep a clean sheet at Manchester City is not the easiest thing to do and to get man of the match as well was a great evening”. Lee is also excited that he will get to play Watford next season with Brentford and Watford fans will undoubtedly give him a good reception after his many years at the club.
Moreover, Lee said that “its something I’m very proud about” when I asked him about what he felt like playing in the Premier League for Watford stating that playing in the Premier League and FA Cup semi final against Manchester United is “arguably my career highlight” and is desperate to taste Premiership football again.
Becoming an Entrepreneur
Lee also co-ordinates two businesses. The first is a baseball cap company which has been running for nine years. Lee promoted this business on Dragons Den something he feels “a lot of people” remember him for. He co-ordinates this business with a friend and he states that the business was “quite niche” when he set it up and is “still trading quite well today” something which Lee is exceptionally pleased with. His other business is called GK Icon which is a “goalkeeping academy throughout the world that is growing at a good rate”. He bases this business on his “love of goalkeeping” and states that “I love the idea that you can help provide a positive change to goalkeepers” due to the fact that he feels that in the UK, goalkeeping has been “neglected slightly”. In addition, Richard went on to say that “Goalkeeping is something I’ve love to have a bigger impact on as I get older” showing how passionate he is about his career and his business. In addition to his businesses, Richard has also written a book. His inspiration behind his book was the “feeling that I had” that was a roller-coaster season. Richard explains to me that he “I had lost my place immediately” as first choice keeper after joining Brentford and there was a period where “I was 3rd choice goalkeeper within a few weeks”. He felt that playing the game against Everton in the League cup was the “catalyst” which allowed Richard to then establish himself in the first team. Lee went on to make 22 appearances in his first season after the early setbacks and even scooped Brentford’s player of the season awards. Lee says that “I thought do you know what, I can write about my feeling and a lot of the things I’ve learnt and it might be of interest to people”. Moreover he stated that he is “delighted with the feedback” that the book has received.
Lee has created a reputation in football for his penalty saves during his time at Watford and Brentford. His main advice for a young goalkeeper in a penalty situation is to “go fully” because he feels that there is “nothing worse than not diving fully and going the right way and letting them score a goal”. Lee also felt that it is also good for Goalkeepers to do their homework because it allows them to gain a better knowledge of where the opposition’s penalty taker normally places his penalties. In addition, he also mentioned that goalkeepers should also look at basic cues. For example, Lee said “So in the run up is it a straight run up or is it an angled run up” or that goalkeepers should look at “how they place the ball down” in order to indicate which way to dive in a penalty situation.
Words Of Wisdom
Lee’s advice for any footballer is to enjoy themselves. He said, “If you decide that football is what you want to do then you really need to enjoy it” and also stated that you should look at “the different avenues that you can improve” which will allow you to “stand a great chance” of becoming successful. Moreover, the 31 year old believes that “the second that it becomes a job or you feel that it’s something you have to do then that’s when I think you’ve lost it”. Lastly, Lee stated that the “rewards are incredible” for those who are dedicated and are desperate to achieve.
Richard Lee is a fascinating footballer who proves that being a footballer doesn’t restrict you from opening other doorways in your career. After suffering many injuries in his career, Lee’s attitude is second to none and one that everyone should emulate in order to be successful in their own careers. Moreover he speaks so enthusiastically about the job he adores which is Goalkeeping! If you adopt the same attitude as Richard I have no hesitation in believing that you will be successful in your own chosen career.