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My Profile of Lee Peacock, by Martin Shaw
Lee Peacock joined Mansfield from Carlisle United in October 1997. The fee was quoted in the Mansfield press as £150,000 but in the Carlisle press it was quoted as only £90,000. Either way, it was a record for Mansfield, though the discrepancy has never been resolved.
It was on Peacocks 21st birthday that Carlisle chairman Michael Knighton rang him to ask if he was interested in talking to Mansfield. Peacock was pleased to join the Stags even though he was dropping down a division after he had failed to regain his place in the first team at Carlisle following injury. Stags manager Steve Parkin said at the time "Lee was always somebody I thought was a good player but I never thought Carlisle would let him go."
1997 was a momentous year for Peacock. First he played a full game at Wembley as Carlisle won the Auto Windscreen Shield final on penalties, though Peacock admitted to ducking out of taking any of the penalties in the shoot-out. Then he was part of Carlisles promotion winning team, including playing in the televised game at Field Mill against Mansfield. In total, Peacock scored 9 league goals in the promotion season. Then he made his debut for Scotland Under-21 against Belarus in June 1997.
Lee Peacock described his worst moment ever as the tackle which broke David Kerrs leg during the Carlisle versus Mansfield game in October 1996. Peacock said "It was the worst thing Ive ever seen I was in tears after the game." When Peacock joined the Stags, it seemed David Kerr didnt hold any grudges, which Peacock said "is just as well for me!"
Peacocks debut for Mansfield came as a second half substitute in a 1-0 defeat at Macclesfield in October 1997, a game most memorable for two Stags sendings-off in the last 3 minutes. Peacock scored his first goal for the Stags in a 3-2 home win over Scarborough in November, a left foot shot slotted in from 6 yards. He didnt have to wait long for his second goal, a powerful header in a 1-1 draw at Peterborough in the same month. His third goal was another header, this time in a defeat at Torquay, but what was significant was that it was from a corner taken by David Kerr who was making his return from the long injury mentioned above. Peacock scored 2 further goals during the season to take his tally to 5 in 30 appearances (plus 7 as substitute). However he was overshadowed by Steve Whitehall whose 26 goals so nearly earned him the golden boot.
Peacock later said of playing alongside Whitehall "Playing up front with Steve Whitehall last season was sometimes a bit frustrating. Steve would shoot on sight and whenever I had the ball, I sensed he wanted it. It was hard to play alongside him."
The departure of Whitehall prior to the 1998/99 season gave Peacock a chance to become Stags leading scorer, an opportunity he grasped with both hands. Peacock scored a total of 19 goals including 5 penalties in a total of 48 appearances (plus 3 as substitute). His goals included some crackers such as an angled drive in the opening home game against Plymouth, a free kick which went in off the underside of the bar at Scunthorpe, and a long range deflected free kick at Manchester City. Other highlights included the last minute winner at home to Scunthorpe, a hat-trick in the 5-0 win over Barnet in the first ever match with a luminous ball, and the only goals in successive 1-0 home league wins over Peterborough and Shrewsbury to take the Stags to the top of the table. The goal against Peterborough was officially credited to Peacock although video evidence suggested it should have been an own goal, though no-one at Field Mill was going to argue with the decision with Peacock at the time high in the list of leading goalscorers.
Such was the quality of Peacocks performances during last season that he landed the SOS members player of the season award and attracted interest from other clubs allegedly including QPR and Middlesbrough.
After scoring 8 goals early in the 1999/2000 season, Peacock was transferred to Manchester City for £500,000 on 26 October 1999.