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Lee Croft

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Norwich Career: 2006-2009 (131 appearances, 11 goals)
Current Club: Southport (Conference North)
Date of Birth: 21/06/1985 (Billinge)
Nationality: English


England Under-19 international Lee Croft became Norwich City's first signing of the 2006 pre-season when he agreed terms on a £700,000 transfer from Manchester City on 31st July 2006. The right sided midfielder fills a gap in City's line-up that hasn't been satisfactorily filled for a number of seasons.

“I am delighted he is coming here,” said City boss Nigel Worthington. “He will be a huge asset to us with his direct style, his pace and his general approach to the game. He is very down to earth, no airs and graces and he was so impressed when he came down here the other day. The right side of midfield is an area we've been trying to strengthen for two years now and I'm delighted that Lee has now agreed to sign for us".

Croft came through the ranks at Manchester City, where he made 32 appearances, 28 of them as a substitute. He netted his only goal in the Premiership in 2005 against Fulham.

Lee made his debut for Norwich on the opening day of the 2005/6 season in the 1-0 defeat away to Leeds, with Croft conceding the penalty which David Healy scored.

On March 3rd 2008, the News of the World claimed that Sunderland, Reading, Stoke and West Brom were all scouting Croft and looking to sign him in the summer of 2008.

In December 2008, it was reported that Sheffield United were planning a bid for Croft during the January 2009 transfer window. Following Norwich's relegation to League One. Derby County were linked with City's player of the season Croft who was out-of-contract at the end of the 2008/9 season. Croft's contract was terminated a month early on 28th May 2009. Bryan Gunn told the club website: "Lee's made it clear his future lies elsewhere, this gives him the chance to explore other opportunities"

Croft signed for Derby on 25th June 2009; days after he turned 24 thus avoiding the need to pay compensation to Norwich.

On 30th June 2010, Croft signed for Huddersfield on loan for six months. He had made just 19 appearances for Derby, scoring once. Only one appearance came in 2010.

On 18th January 2012, Croft joined St Johnstone on loan, being familiar with their management team of Steve Lomas and Tommy Wright from their time at Norwich. Croft had not featured for Derby since mid-October 2011.

Although expected to sign for St Johnstone, Croft moved to Oldham on a season long loan on 3rd July 2012. He had a loan spell with Oldham during the 2004-05 season. "I came to the Latics as a boy and went back to Manchester City as a man" said Croft. "This was the place which kickstarted my career. Hopefully the same thing happens again. I had offers but this seemed the right place for me."

Croft had the opportunity to re-join St Johnstone, where he spent time on loan last season, but instead chose to move to Boundary Park and link up again with Paul Dickov, his former team-mate at City. The Oldham boss added: "I have known Lee since he was a schoolboy at Manchester City and he fits the bill for us. He had an indifferent time last season and is looking to get his career back on track. I know from speaking to Lee that he is hungry and feels he has a point to prove. It speaks volumes that he has turned down the chance to play in the SPL and also in Europe to play here."

On 14th October 2012, Croft was accused of racially abusing a ball boy at Oldham's clash at Sheffield United. He was cleared by South Yorkshire Police on 25th October 2012.

Lee was released by Derby on 1st February 2013 and immediately signed a permanent deal with Oldham. He left Oldham at the end of the 2012/13 season

He joined Millwall on trial at the end of June 2013 but the Lions announced on 19th July that they would not be pursuing any interest in Croft or fellow triallists Lee Cook and John Pantsil.

Croft re-signed for Scottish side St Johsntone at the end of November 2013.

He rejoined Oldham on 19th May 2015 depsite making 34 appearances for St Johnstone in the 2014/15 season helping them to a top six finish in the Scottish Premiership.

On 3rd May 2017, Oldham announced that Croft would be leaving the club in the summer along with five other players (Josh Law, Jamie Reckord, Michael Ngoo, Lee Knight and Charles Dunne)

Croft signed for Conference North side Southport on 8th September 2017 on a short term contract.

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