Lee Holmes joined Exeter City from Preston and, counting a loan spell, had just over five years with the club during which time he suffered a number of serious injuries.
Lee started his career with Derby County and made an early debut when he became the club’s (then) youngest first-teamer at the age of 15 years and 268 days on Boxing Day 2002. He turned down Leeds United and Nottingham Forest to sign for Southampton in summer 2008, and he would score against the Grecians in his second game for the Saints. Released in 2012, after loan spells at Oxford United and Swindon Town, Lee joined Preston North End and would score six goals for the Deepdale club. From there he went on loan to Portsmouth and then Exeter City before signing permanent terms with the Grecians at the end of the 2014/15 season.
After missing the start of the 2015/16 season with an injury, Lee returned to action as a half-time substitute in the 3-0 defeat to Northampton Town. He scored his first goal of the campaign in the 4-2 defeat at Accrington Stanley; his second came in a 2-0 away success at Mansfield Town. The following season Lee scored a spectacular goal from a corner against Liverpool in the FA Cup Third Round in January 2016 and, after providing many ‘assists’, was voted the fans’ player of the season.
Lee’s 2016/17 campaign was significantly hampered by misfortune after an ankle injury ruled him out for the second half of the season. Lee did, however, still manage to contribute a total of five goals in his 21 appearances. Lee followed through with 31 league and cup appearances (3 goals) in 2017/18 although he did not appear beyond the end of March. Playing from the start of 2018/19 Lee enjoyed his most productive season since his first full campaign at St James Park when he played 35 times in all competitions.
At this point Lee’s Exeter playing career was effectively over following an injury he sustained prior to the start of the following season. Aside from a 77th minute substitute appearance against Stevenage in the EFL Trophy on 21 January 2020, Lee wouldn’t feature again and was released in May 2020. Since making his debut in March 2015 Lee had made 138 league and cup appearances (14 goals) when, with fewer injuries, he would have been expected to make many more.
After leaving St James Park, Lee returned to the Nottingham area to become more involved with Holmewood Homes - the family business - of which he had been a director since 2016. He had a short spell playing with Mickleover of the Northern Premier League in autumn 2021.
League 122 (plus 3 play-off); Cups 13 (138)