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
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.