Exceptional, loyal, unique: heartfelt tributes paid after death of Graeme Gee

Graeme Gee issuing some advice to Chi City players ahead of their FA Cup tie at Tranmere in 2019 | Picture: Neil HolmesGraeme Gee issuing some advice to Chi City players ahead of their FA Cup tie at Tranmere in 2019 | Picture: Neil Holmes
Graeme Gee issuing some advice to Chi City players ahead of their FA Cup tie at Tranmere in 2019 | Picture: Neil Holmes
The world of non-league football across the south is in mourning after the death of Chichester City assistant manager Graeme Gee.

The 51-year-old, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer which then spread, died yesterday (April 11), prompting a flood of heartfelt tributes from clubs, players and manager who had known Graeme or worked with him.

Graeme had been assistant to Miles Rutherford at Chi City since 2015. The pair had led a transformation of the club that took them from the Southern Combination League to the Isthmian League – where they are now pressing for another promotion – and saw them go on memorable FA Cup and FA Vase runs.

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Before that, the duo were together at Moneyfields, Graeme having been Miles’ assistant there after initially being a player when Miles became manager.

Graeme Gee in his playing days at Moneyfields, pictured in 2010 | Picture: Malcolm WellsGraeme Gee in his playing days at Moneyfields, pictured in 2010 | Picture: Malcolm Wells
Graeme Gee in his playing days at Moneyfields, pictured in 2010 | Picture: Malcolm Wells

Graeme’s playing career included spells with Portsmouth Civil Service, Weymouth. Newport IOW, Bashley, Brockenhurst, Winchester and Moneyfields. The first and last clubs in that list were the same one, who were once managed by Graeme’s dad Micky.

Those playing days, when he played on the left wing or in midfield, included lengthy times in the Southern League premier.

Graeme spoke to me just five weeks ago about his deteriorating condition, describing how the ‘football family’ was helping keep his spirits up.

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And last weekend, Miles told me how Graeme was someone he was honoured to have had at his side for his past two decades in football.

After Graeme’s death was announced, tributes flooded in.

Here are just some of them...

Chichester City, who held a minute’s silence before their U23 game last night, said: “It’s with deep sadness that we inform you of the death of our much loved assistant manager, Graeme Gee, who passed away peacefully this morning. Graeme had been part of the management team of Chichester City since 2015. Our hearts are with his family at this time of sadness.”

Moneyfields FC said: “The Club are saddened with the news of the passing of one of our former players Graeme Gee. Graeme was an exceptional player for Moneyfields and throughout his footballing career, as well as being a former coach at the Club, he was also a loyal assistant to Miles Rutherford in his time as Moneyfields manager and then Chichester City manager. 189 appearances the midfielder made for the Club scoring 29 goals.

"Graeme has strong family ties within the Club, with his dad Micky managing the side and later becoming groundsman and his mum Tillie running the tea-hut alongside his auntie Chris, as well as his uncle Pete, who is Vice-Chairman of the Club. He will be sadly missed by all involved at Moneyfields and throughout Non-League football.

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There will be a minute applause at tonight’s (Thursday) game against Brockenhurst and the players will be wearing black armbands as a mark of respect to a Moneyfields Legend. Our thoughts go out to his wife Sarah and their 2 boys. Rest in Peace Graeme.”

Newport IOW FC said: “All at Newport send our deepest sympathies to the family of ex-player Graeme Gee and extend our condolences to the players, staff and supporters of Chichester City. Graeme gave many seasons of service to the Ports midfield, we will honour his memory at our next home fixture.”

Chi City coach Danny Potter said: “Rest in peace Gee. You truly were one of a kind.”

Chi City defender Connor Cody said: “Rest easy mate, thank you for all you did for me and so many. Truly one of the greats, love ya.”

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Wick FC manager Lee Baldwin said: “Only last week I spoke with him and he was still so upbeat and making jokes. Summed the man up, the most lighthearted, fearless and football loving bloke you’re likely to meet! RIP Gee, “up the Choi”.”

Selsey manager Daren Pearce said: “Rip Gee. A footballing gent. Condolences to all your family and friends at this very sad time.”

Loxwood FC said: “Our thoughts are with his family and friends was lovely man and always friendly and welcoming when ever we saw him. RIP Graeme.”

Cliff Pledge, Radio Solent’s non-league reporter, said: “Very sorry to learn this. Thinking of all Graeme’s family and friends.”

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John Hodgkins said: “Absolutely gutted, a true gentleman, friend and team-mate. An amazing footballer, great example for young footballers to look up-to, Pompey has lost a true football legend, you’ll be missed Geer!! Thoughts and love to Micky, Pat, Mandy and the rest of the family YNWA!!!”

Mick Catlin said: “RIP mate, gone but never forgotten, thoughts are with all the family.”

Blackfield and Langley FC said: “We have lost a pillar of our football community with the passing of Graeme Gee. His unwavering dedication and love for the game were unparalleled. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and the many clubs that were fortunate enough to work with him.”

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