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Channel VAS Championship 2017, 16-22 Oct, St George's Hill, Surrey 

 EN BREF 2017                         EN BREF 2016  |  EN BREF 2015

Meet Danny Lee, St George’s Music Man ...
both virtually and literally!!!


A lot of you may not know who Danny Lee is, but I have the feel a lot of you actually do! But maybe you don’t know how impressive his achievements are, and how diverse/interesting his life is and has been for a while.

Let’s start by saying that he’s been playing squash for 44 years now. His dad was a squash player himself, but little Danny just loved all sports, tennis and football, and already at the age of 8, he was organising football tournaments to be able to play in them!

Originally from Reigate in Surrey, he got more and more into squash around 14 years old, it was not that easy to find covered tennis court to practice. We were arriving at the end of the Squash Amateur Era.

A "challenge" from a Surrey squash coach told him he couldn’t win the Surrey under 16. “Yes I can” he retorted, and after two hard months of training, he only lost in the 5th in the final. But it got me into the spirit.

“I got to practice a lot with Alison Cummings she became 3 in the world, used to practice with her. I then got into the England U19 squad then Team, was underdog in the British Junior, beat Christie Willstrop in the Final of the British, that was an big upset at the time!"

He smiles when he remembers the first World Junior Team in Sweden: “I played in first World Juniors Team, in 1980, and the hotel got on fire, the older hotel in Sweden apparently, apparently the Irish Team had a lot to answer for, funny story!!! But that’s where I met with Chris Dittmar, Stuart Davenport for the first time…

More and More involved in Squash

Danny then turned professional, went to south Africa, France, Germany, played 5 world Open including Toulouse 1986. “Money was quite nice on the ISPA Tour at the time!”

He went on playing for Cannons, probably the most famous Club in London in those days...  “I became the captain of the Cannon’s Team, it was the first national league, we won it, and the money paid for the deposit on my house! We had a great team."

Then, while he was in South Africa, he got a virus practicing with Jansher, overdid it, then flew to Australi, and never really recovered, a bit of a Peter Marshall trouble. It was never diagnosed but it kept on coming and going..

Danny liked the promotion side of Squash.  He organised the Daily Mail Squash Jersey Open, in January 1988 (on not 87 like it says on YouTube). "Funny fact, the final on was January 7th, Ross Norman's birthday, he got the 4 first points, Jahangir Khan got the next 27..."
 


The St George's Adventure...

"
In April 89, I started working in George’s" he remembers. "I started with a bit of coaching, while played for the Tennis Team.

In the mid 90’s, I coached a bit of tennis as well, until mid 2000's.

"Very proud that we managed some good improvement on the squash side of things, coming from 4 hard courts to 3 glass backwall.

Also, the junior side of squash was non existent, and we put in place a very strong junior program.

"We produced some really good squash players, Tom Richards – who was playing with me from the age of 3 to the age of 18, Charles Sharpes, Alex Ingham, Stuart Hadden, Matthew Broadberry, Paul Broadberrry, and also Joe and Charlie Lee, my two sons, most of them have got their coaching badges and over the years, have been helping me with our junior programs.



The St George's Team

For a few years, I had Ross Norman helping with the coaching, then when he changed his professional activities, I asked Steve Meads to help me out, and recently, we have Dominique Lloyd Water that joined the team.

I’m very grateful to the club for organising a great team now, not just for me of course! Celia, who is more precious and efficient that words can describe, also a marketing person, Joanna, Nikki, a squash/tennis assistant admin, both great help and ladies, and myself!
  

A bit of this, a bit of that...

Danny loves doing different things, and he is mighty good at it too. When his career slowed down, he organised more and more events. He runs at the moment the PSL (English League) team for St George's, and just signed Mohamed Elshorbagy.

"We had the Legends of Squash three four years ago, that was a great moment, and of course we run a PSL team, it’s hard work, getting in touch with the players, trying to get the team together, and the pressure of the fans wanting us to win all the time!!"

Organising Events

But that's not enough now, is it. Of course, he finds sponsors to organise great squash events in the Club.

"We are of course extremely grateful to Bassim Haidar, who is supporting us with Channel Vas, almost like the “New” Ziad Al-Turki, loves playing squash, and like Ziad, loves the game.

We are in a privilege position here, one sponsor helps us putting up an event, and another sponsor comes along!

For example, we are organising
England against the Rest of the World” International on the 24th October. It’s a one off Sponsor from Weybridge, AB INITIO, that is supporting the event. So far we have Nick Matthew, James Willstrop, Daryl Selby, and Laura Massaro. For the rest of the world, Mohamed Elshorbagy, Paul Coll, Cameron Pilley and we are looking for another lady – most of the girls will be in Saudi."

More Flexible Flooring

Something very important for Danny, court flooring.

"The depth of the game today is quite incredible"
he says. "The power, fitness and strength today is second to none. And to be able to sustain it as well. That's why we are running a campaign to make sure that all floors are well sprung – Joey Barrington is a great supporter.

Even on the old glass courts, some are better sprung than others. And when I get time, I’ll be probably designing my own floors.. One of the problems is that sometimes, the manufacturers make is strong and not flexible. You can’t go too flexible of course. It’s all in the balance. St George’s re-sprung all the floors.

When I play golf with my old friends from Reigate, where the courts were much harder, they are in the 60s and 70s. They all gave up squash in the forties, whereas we have many many people here playing way into their 70s and even in their 80s. I have been playing for 44 years, and I’m still playing, and I still run…
"



Squashinhos
Facebook page

Danny Lee - At the Edge of My Dreams

"Are you happy Danny"?

"Yes, I’m a happy man, although I would like my daughter Anne-Rose to be in the country a bit more, but I want her to be happy" he smiles...

"She just turned 21. He lives half her time in Rio, speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish, and she started a Squash Charity called Squashinhos.

"With the help of her boyfriend Rony, she teaches English and Squash to underprivileged kids in Rio.

She always was a good squash player and she’s been asked to play for Surrey this year. She is working very hard here to be able to run her charity in Rio, and I'm very proud of her.."

"Now, players have got a complete love/hate relationship with squash. So many times, I play and I’m thinking I wish it was golf! Physical training is the hardest in the world.

It was extremely hard and physical. And we made it physically harder because we were not that technical. Music is a big part of my life.As I get older I want to work very hard in patches and then go away a bit more, make the most of other places…

"Why I organise events? It’s really about promoting the game of squash. Also helping our juniors like Tom Richards, Joe Lee, Charlie Lee, Charles Sharpes, Matthew Broadberry to get ranking points of course.

It’s great to offer the up and coming players an international tournament on their doorstep instead of having to go to Australia!!

"Diversity is the key: playing a bit of squash coaching, my music, coaching top players, a bit of promotion..."

It's all about diversity for Danny and it's working pretty well for him...

Oh, and Just take a few minutes to listen to his music as well, I personally love it...

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