Tony Lee Death, Obituary – Middlesbrough-born Although Lee had a successful playing career in the Football League with Bradford and Darlington, he is best known for his managerial work in the Northern League. After leading Whitby to the second round proper of the FA Cup in 1983, where they were eliminated by Wigan on a late penalty kick, he went on to establish Billingham Synthonia as one of the premier clubs in the Northern League in the late 1980s.
Under his leadership, Synners won the championship twice, the League Cup twice, and the Durham Cup. They also advanced to the first round proper of the FA Cup twice during his tenure, but were eliminated by Halifax and Lincoln respectively. That Synners team played a significant part in the liquidation crisis that Middlesbrough faced in 1986. First, they lent their ground to Bruce Rioch’s side so that they could train on it during a period of uncertainty during the summer. Next, they stepped in to play Boro’s reserve team fixtures for a period of time in 1986-1987 as the financially struggling club fought back.
Popular Tony was an affable, dynamic, and contagious man who possessed an incredible knowledge of the local football scene as well as a keen tactical nous. Lee, whose son Graeme was a former coach and Under-23s manager at Boro, also had stints at the top end of the pyramid with Bishop Auckland, Durham, and Gateshead, in addition to stints in the Northern League with Billingham Town, Celtic Nation, and Newcastle Blue Star. Lee’s son Graeme was a former coach and Under-23s manager at Boro.