AFC Totton AFC Totton Pitching In - Partners with Southern Football League

Tony Lee_AFC Totton_New Signing_Feb2024.jpg

PROLIFIC STRIKER TONY LEE has returned to the Snows Stadium, following his recent departure from fellow Southern League Premier Division South club, Poole Town.

The 28-year-old, who is often listed on teamsheets as Tony-James Lee, has maintained an impressive goalscoring record throughout his non-league football career, which began at Eastleigh alongside a young Jack Masterton, before the first of three spells with AFC Totton as a loanee in October and November 2015.

While still contracted to The Spitfires, Lee experienced a succession of short-term loans over the subsequent 14 months that took in Gosport Borough, Poole Town, Whitehawk and Cirencester Town, before he returned to Gosport on a free transfer in January 2017. That summer, he returned to The Dolphins on a free transfer, returning to Totton within three months as a loanee until the end of the 2017/18 season. He made 32 appearances for Louis Langdown’s Stags, scoring 18 goals.

Weymouth were sufficiently impressed to sign him from Poole on a free transfer in July 2018, but within a month he was on the move again, for a third stay at Privett Park with Gosport Borough. He was a Wimborne Town player in 2019/20, before returning to the Tatnam Ground once again, in the summer of 2020, before going on to also represent Havant & Waterlooville and Farnborough on loan.

Described on Poole Town’s website as “a strong, capable and proven goalscorer,” Lee had struck 25 goals in just 21 matches in the first half of the 2021/22 season, before a broken collarbone put him out action for about six weeks. He returned to end the season with 36 goals, 10 of them from the penalty spot, attracting informal interest from Southend United, Yeovil Town and Torquay United about a potential professional contract, according to Bournemouth Daily Echo reports in 2022.

Lee helped to fire Poole into the Southern League Premier Division South Play-Offs by hitting 27 goals (six penalties) last season, including four strikes in The Dolphins’ 6-1 away win at Dorchester Town in April. In the current 2023/24 season to date, he has struck 19 goals (four penalties) in 29 appearances.

Poole Town’s website lists his total statistical record for the club as 136 appearances, consisting of 119 starts and 17 outings as a substitute. His total goal tally for The Dolphins stands at 96 goals (23 penalties).

Speaking after making his third Stags debut in the 1-0 victory at Hayes & Yeading United on Saturday 17 February, Lee was enthusiastic about his return to AFC Totton:

“I’d been at Poole a long time and loved my time there, but I’d reached the point where I really needed a fresh challenge. Totton showed interest in me and I met with Jimmy Ball to learn about the direction the club is going in and how they are going about things, and I was very impressed. From top-to-bottom, they’re doing everything the right way, looking at every small detail to help players improve and to provide that platform to get the best out of you.

“It’s been good to reconnect with those who were here during my previous spells at the club, and to meet a lot of new people, as well. Everyone I spoke to – the likes of Jack Masterton, for example – couldn’t speak highly enough of the club and the way they’ve been doing things over the last couple of years, so it’s exciting to have this opportunity to come and be part of it.”

Asked whether he sets goal targets for himself, the new man kept his cards close to his chest.

“Like most strikers will do, I have set a goal target for myself – but I prefer not to share it. I know what I need to do and although I didn’t score on my debut today, I was happy with my overall performance and with how the team played. I played against Hayes & Yeading with Poole Town just a few weeks ago, so I know what a good side they can be. But I thought we dealt with them well today, and deserved to come away with the win, and that’s a great way to start my third spell with The Stags.”

AFC Totton manager Jimmy Ball, said:

“I’m delighted to be able to bring Tony’s presence, experience and goal-scoring ability into the club. His record speaks for itself and I’m sure he will have a huge impact, and he’ll make a significant contribution to determining how our season ends.”

By Ben Rochey-Adams

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