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Lee departs for Bulldogs

Matthew Goodrope  October 11, 2017 3:00 PM

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Debbie Lee has accepted a position with the Western Bulldogs

PIONEER of women’s football, Debbie Lee will be departing Melbourne after taking up the position of General Manager – Women’s Football at the Western Bulldogs.

The decision for Lee was extremely difficult but one that was the best for her family, and her existing relationships with Victorian University Spurs football club where she is currently Senior Coach.

General manager Football Josh Mahoney although disappointed to see Lee depart, understands this is a personal decision and was glowing in the contribution that Lee has made to the Club over her nine years.

"Debbie has been a driving force behind women’s football in general, and the push towards the introduction of an AFL competition. Within this she introduced Melbourne Football Club to women’ s football and has been a key pillar in setting up, initially our support for women’s football, and more recently the foundations of our AFLW program," he told melbournefc.com.au

“We have been having discussions with Deb this year about her role within the AFL Women's league and the increased professionalism of the VFLW league, the introduction of the Casey Demons VFLW team and her role with the VU Spurs. 

"Within those discussions it became clear that the combination of staying involved in an AFLW program, remaining heavily involved with the VU Spurs and her family situation - the offer that she was presented by the Western Bulldogs ticked all of those boxes.

“We thank Debbie for the massive contribution she has made to our football club. She will be forever remembered as a key member of the foundation year of this club, and can feel proud of the program we have built, and the success we will achieve in the future."

A key driver in the conception of the AFLW competition, Lee acknowledged this was a decision that she did not take lightly.

“The decision to leave the Melbourne Football Club was a very difficult one to make. I have been at the Club for more than nine years and I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities the Club has provided. she told melbournefc.com.au

“It is the right decision for my family and gives me the opportunity to continue to work in the industry. Melbourne has provided an environment to be myself and it embraced the vision for women’s football at a time when it wasn’t the popular choice.  

“I would like to sincerely thank the Club for providing me with a platform to grow women’s football and work in my dream job. 

“I have made many wonderful friends and value my time at the Club.  Thank you to the players, coaches and staff for your support, you will be missed.”

Moving to the Western Bulldogs will allow Lee to continue in her role as Senior Coach of the VU Spurs which will be aligned with the Western Bulldogs in 2018 season.

“The decision was based on several reasons. The new role at the Western Bulldogs enables me to have a broader role across women’s football and allows me to continue to coach and be involved at my VFLW Club, VU Western Spurs, the Club I established 28 years ago.”

Lee first commenced at the Club in September 2009, initially the role as community manager. She was a key driver of the women’s football program from the very start.

Lee has been a longstanding figure in women’s football both on and off the field.

She played 302 games for the AFLW (formerly VWFL), founded the VU Western Spurs and was VWFL president from 2004 until 2012.

In her most recent role as Women’s Football Manager, Lee oversaw the inaugural Melbourne Football Women’s team finishing third at the end of the 2017 season.

In what spans over 30 years within the industry, Lee is current member of the women’s advisory committee which looks at all areas of the AFLW competition.