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Lee snubs Albion and joins Southampton
Sammy Lee is not joining Albion as assistant manager after all.
He has accepted a coaching position instead with Southampton.
Lee's former club Bolton and Albion announced on Friday that he had accepted an offer to become No.2 to new Seagulls boss Sami Hyypia.
The pair worked together at Liverpool when Hyypia was a player and Lee assistant manager in two spells.
Now Lee has left Hyypia looking for an assistant for the third time in a matter of weeks. His first choice, Jan Moritze Lichte from Bayer Leverkusen, turned the job down for family reasons.
A statement released by the club this morning said: "Brighton & Hove Albion are disappointed to announce that Sammy Lee - having agreed to join the club on Thursday - will not be taking up the position as assistant manager.
"We understand he now intends to take a coaching position at Southampton - having been offered a job working with their new manager Ronald Koeman after it was announced that he had agreed to join Albion as assistant manager."
Chief executive Paul Barber commented: "It is extremely disappointing for the club, Sami Hyypia and those of us who worked hard to bring him here, that Sammy Lee has now reversed his decision after agreeing to become assistant manager.
"Nobody at our club or Bolton Wanderers, was aware of any interest from Southampton until several hours after we announced Sammy's appointment as our assistant manager. It's certainly not a situation any of us have come across before.
"Having already agreed his contract and terms with us to start work on Monday, we could have insisted on Sammy serving a notice period, but we all feel it would have been counterproductive to do so; and while it's incredibly frustrating for us we wish Sammy well.
"Our focus now is on working with Sami to help him recruit his assistant - while also supporting him to bring in the players he needs to improve the squad for the new season."
Lee said: "I was thrilled to be offered the job at Brighton and I was excited at the prospect of working with Sami Hyypia again - but, totally unexpectedly, I have been given an opportunity to work in the Premier League.
"I fully appreciate that this is not an ideal set of circumstances and I am very sorry for the inconvenience and any embarrassment my change of mind, after the announcement was made, has caused. However, at this stage of my coaching career, the opportunity to work again at the very top level of English football was not something I felt I could turn down.
"I hope that everyone at Brighton - including Tony Bloom, Sami Hyypia, Paul Barber and David Burke - and the club's fans can understand the difficult predicament I found myself in and why I made this decision.
"I would like to thank Tony, Sami, Paul and David for the opportunity to join Brighton and I genuinely wish them, the club and the fans the very best for the season ahead."
Hyypia will be helped in the short-term by first team coach Nathan Jones and new goalkeeping coach Antti Niemi during the hunt for a No. 2.