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Where are they now? Lee Thorpe

Have you ever wondered what a former Swans player has been up to since hanging up his boots? 

 

In a regular feature, we catch up with past players to give you the answers.
This week we focus on former Swans striker Lee Thorpe, who played 15 league matches for the Swans between 2005 and 2006.

Thorpe now works as a personal trainer and as a scout for Tranmere Rovers, while studying for his Uefa A coaching licence.


Once a favourite among the Jack Army, Lee Thorpe has become something of a jack of all trades since retiring from playing.
The Wolverhampton-born striker - who turned out for 11 different Football League clubs during his professional career - became an academy coach at his first club, Blackpool, shortly after hanging up his boots in 2011.
That is one of a host of different roles he has held over the last five years.
"Initially after I stopped playing football, I set up a number of stalls at markets across the North West and I also used to sell things at car boot sales," explains Thorpe, who was a member of the Swansea City team that got promoted to League One in 2005.
"I used to buy up 'seconds' at various hardware stores, recondition those items and then resell them.
"The main thing I was selling was lawn mowers. I got a unit on an industrial estate where I would take these lawn mowers and fix them.
"In many situations, it was just a case of installing a new spark plug!
"I was going to the gym a lot around that time and I had the idea of becoming a personal trainer.
"The PFA were very supportive of me after playing and helped me with getting enrolled on a six-week intensive course in 2013 to become a fully qualified personal trainer. I've been taking sessions ever since."
Thorpe has remained actively involved in football since retiring from playing, too. Aside from working at Blackpool's academy, he has a business coaching youngsters on a one-to-one basis.
Last year, he took on a role as North West scout for Shrewsbury Town under then manager Micky Mellon and now holds the same position with Mellon's new club Tranmere Rovers.
On top of that, he is currently studying for his Uefa A coaching licence, having obtained his B licence a number of years ago.
"I'm sat in front of a load of books as I'm talking to you as part of my studies," smiles Thorpe.
"It's an intensive course, but I've thoroughly enjoyed doing my badges.
"You think you learn a lot when you play, but I wish I had known a fraction of what I know now as a result of these courses when I was playing.
"I don't necessarily have any ambitions of becoming a first-team manager or coach.
"The industry is saturated with ex-pros with their coaching badges, so I am realistic in knowing what my opportunities are.
"I get a huge sense of satisfaction working with young players though, so I see my future being involved in coaching at an academy level."
Thorpe played over 450 matches during his professional career. In addition to Blackpool, he played for the likes of Lincoln City, Leyton Orient, Grimsby Town (loan), Brentford, Rochdale and Darlington.
In February 2005, he moved from Bristol Rovers to Swansea City on a free transfer, making an instant impact in the white shirt.
He scored three goals in 15 appearances for the club as they won promotion to League One come the end of the 2004-05 season.
"(Then Swansea manager) Kenny Jackett wanted to bring in an extra striking option to take the pressure of his other forwards a bit," recalls Thorpe, who made his Swans debut at Mansfield Town in February 2005 and scored his first goal in his next appearance, at Leyton Orient.
"It was great to get some important goals towards the end of that season.
"I scored a header against Macclesfield (a 2-0 win in March 2005) which was a special one as it was my first goal at the Vetch.
"I also scored against Cheltenham a few days later as we won 2-1 there."
Thorpe was at Swansea during a significant period in the club's history.
He played in the last league game at the Vetch against Shrewsbury Town on April 30, 2005 and was also involved in the last match at the ground - the FAW Premier Cup victory against Wrexham on May 11, 2005.
"They were great occasions, as was sealing promotion (to League One) at Bury on the final day of the season," he says.
"It was one of those games where we just needed to win. Forbesy (Adrian Forbes) scored early to settle the nerves and I just remember seeing loads of Swansea supporters all around the ground celebrating. It was like playing a home game!"
Thorpe was loaned to Peterborough United and Torquay United during the 2005-06 season.
The campaign also saw Thorpe make his final three appearances for the Swans before he joined Torquay on a permanent basis in May 2006.

 

 

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