Lee took the step from Carlisle to Mansfield in 1997, but must have been wondering what he let himself in for as he found himself two months wages out of pocket during a financial crisis at Field Mill. All par for the course in the make-do-and-mend third division. Peacock, complete with new haircut, was expected to go after his injury problems cleared up.
His two goals against City at Maine Road in the December 1998 Auto Windscreens Cup must have impressed Joe Royle, because when goals were running dry between the strikers at Maine Road the Mansfield target man was highest on Royles shopping list. Despite having QPR. and Bristol City on his tail it turned out that the offer from Maine Road was the most prosperous one, and Lee joined City for the nominal fee of £500,000 on October 26th 1999.
At the time of signing Lee was the joint top-scorer of the 3rd. Division, but the manager had to wait for him to recover from a slight knee injury before going into service. It was Citys hopes that the procurement would exploit the same success as the previous purchase from Mansfield. In 1997 the talented goalkeeper Nicky Weaver went the same way and became a huge success only two years later.
Lee's first season with the blues was hampered by injuries and when City was promoted to the premiership his chances to get into the team became imaginary with the arrivals of George Weah and Paulo Wanchope. He accepted an offer to join 2nd division outfit Bristol City and City got £600,000 for the striker in return.