Belfast Telegraph

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Relatively Speaking: Dad and daughter, Lee and Jodi

By Karen Ireland

Lee Doherty (52) is a former Northern Ireland footballer and is now an architect and assistant manager for Ballymena United. His daughter, Jodi (22), has just graduated and hopes to establish a career in marketing.

Name: Lee Doherty

Age: 52

Occupation: Architect and assistant manager at Ballymena United

Relationship to Jodi: Father

I am very lucky that I get to do something I love. Managing a football team is not as good as actually being out there playing, but it is the next best thing and I really enjoy it.

I have been assistant manager here at Ballymena for three years and we are improving every season, so I can't ask for better than that.

I am married to Sharon and we live in Newtownards with our two daughters, Jodi (22) and Jenna (19). We are a very happy family, and I feel very privileged that both the girls still want to go on holidays with their mother and I.

I have had a great footballing career to date and enjoyed playing for different clubs, including Linfield. But I was at my happiest when I was playing for Glenavon as they truly embraced us as a family - it was a special time.

One of the highlights of my career was winning the Irish Cup for Glenavon and captaining the winning team in 1996. My daughter, Jodi, was mascot that day and it was very special for us as a family.

I also played for my country on two occasions and scored during my debut match for Northern Ireland against Israel.

The girls have both grown up to be beautiful young women and I am very proud of them both. Time goes very fast and it is important to treasure them and make the most of every minute when they are younger. Rather than spending money on material things, my wife and I always want to give the girls memories and that's why family holidays have always been so important. We have been skiing together many times and been to Florida about five times. Our next family holiday is to Portugal in a few weeks.

My daughter, Jodi, is very selfless, extremely confident and very organised in everything she does. She has been brought up to treat people how she would like to be treated. She has a great circle of friends, who have been with her since school. She is very close to her mum and her sister - the three of them are inseparable.

She went away for a year to work for Disney in London - she went away a lovely girl and came back a beautiful woman. It was a great experience for her and I am so proud of her. She feels she can confide in me and I will tell her my opinion and advice, but she makes up her own mind how to proceed.

Name: Jodi Doherty

Age: 22

Occupation: Marketing graduate, Ulster University

Relationship to Lee: Daughter

Having just graduated from university I am hoping to carve out a career in marketing, specialising in PR and event management. I loved my four-year degree and, in particular, my third year, when I got a marketing placement with The Walt Disney Company in London. This was an amazing year for me and a really big learning curve.

I just love my dad - he is my best friend, we talk every day on the phone. I could talk to him about anything, and always turn to him to discuss anything which is going on in my life. I travel home every weekend from Belfast to see him and my mum, so we can spend time together. I may have left home for student digs, but family time is important.

I am very proud of my dad's footballing career, and the person he is. I love his optimism and generosity. Family always comes first with my dad, and he has always ensured that my sister and I grew up with precious memories. To him, memories were more important than anything. We always have really special family holidays together. We would hire a villa in Florida and a crowd of us would go over - they really were holidays of a lifetime.

I was mascot when dad's team won the Irish Cup - I was four and fell asleep in my mum's arms, so I don't remember too much about it. I do remember going to watch him play when I was a lot younger, with my mum and sister.

My sister and I may be 22 and 19, but we are still going on holidays this year with our parents. We enjoy their company and that time together as a family is very precious for all of us.

I am very close to my sister, even though she is at university in Liverpool at the minute and we all miss her. We FaceTime and talk all the time and the four of us stay in regular touch. Her and I share a love of similar things such as dance.

Not surprisingly, my dad is very competitive and will go out of his way to win no matter what - even with family board games. If things become heated, he will change and adapt the rules to win - but we still play with him.

A debut goal to remember ...

  • Lee Doherty played for Northern Ireland on two occasions. He scored during his debut match against Israel while playing for his country
  • He played for Linfield Football Club from 1981 to 1994, then transferred to Glenavon and played there from 1994 to 2000
  • He retired in 2000 and has been assistant manager at Ballymena for the past three years
  • He is a founding partner in Doherty Architects in Belfast

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