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Club News


27 June 2014

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Brighton & Hove Albion manager Sami Hyypia has made his first appointments, making Sammy Lee his assistant manager, and Antti Niemi the club's first-team goalkeeping coach.

Lee and Niemi, alongside first-team coach Nathan Jones and strength and conditioning coach Thomas Barnden - who steps up from his position at the club's academy - form Hyypia's new coaching team.

They are set to begin work on Monday at the club's new training facility, the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre, following two days of medical testing of the players this week.

Hyypia said, "I am delighted Sammy and Antti have accepted our offer, and I am very pleased to welcome them to the club. Together with Nathan and Tom, they will form our first-team coaching group.

"I know both Sammy and Antti well, having been at Liverpool when Sammy was assistant manager, and I played alongside Antti for the Finnish national team.

"They are two great characters and will bring a great deal to the club, to the players, and to me personally as manager. Sammy's and Antti's coaching credentials are first rate and they complement Nathan's coaching abilities and Tom’s experience and knowledge of the physical preparation necessary for players. I'm looking forward to working with all four coaches.

"Sammy has played and coached at the top level of football domestically and with England. Antti has played in the English and Scottish Premier Leagues, so he knows British football very well. Since he retired from playing, he has coached in Finland and also with the national team."

Lee joins Albion from Bolton Wanderers, where he was head of the club's academy. He was assistant manager to Gerard Houllier at Liverpool, during Hyypia's time at Anfield, a role he combined with one as coach for the England senior team under Sven Goran Eriksson and previously with the England under 21 team.

He went full-time with England in 2004, before joining Bolton in 2005 - while continuing as part of Eriksson's England coaching team.

Lee had a brief spell as manager at the (recently re-named) Macron Stadium, before returning to Liverpool as assistant to Rafael Benitez; in 2012 he joined Bolton for a third time - he also had a spell as player for the club - as head of academy coaching.

Niemi is the current goalkeeping coach with the Finnish national team, and he will continue in that role alongside his new position with Albion. He won 67 international caps between 1992 and 2007.

He played more than 400 senior club games during his career in Finland, Denmark with FC Copenhagen and the majority in the UK, with Rangers, Hearts, Charlton, Southampton, Fulham and Portsmouth.

The pair will be introduced to the first-team squad before starting work next week; Albion's first-team players have undergone two days of pre-season testing and will begin pre-season training with Hyypia and his new coaching team on Monday afternoon.

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