One of the greatest strikers to grace the Cymru Premier League reaches his 40th birthday today.
Born on June 5, 1981, Lee Hunt hails from Merseyside, but made his mark at four North Wales clubs in the top flight – Bangor City, Rhyl, Prestatyn Town and Bala Town.
He lifted the Welsh Cup with three different teams – Bangor, Rhyl and Bala – and was a Welsh Premier title winner with the Lilywhites.
Hunt is the third highest scorer of all-time in the Welsh Premier League with 209 goals.
The tall, physical frontman was brought to Welsh football by former England and Manchester United star Peter Davenport, who signed him for Bangor City in summer 2002 after watching him impress for West Cheshire League Helsby.
And Hunt’s debut for the Citizens was short but memorable.
On August 15, 2002, he came on as an 86th minute substitute for goalscorer Paul Roberts in City’s famous 1-0 first leg UEFA Cup victory over Sartid Smederevo of Serbia.
Hunt’s full debut was a place in the starting lineup for the Citizens in a 4-0 win at Haverfordwest, where strike partner Roberts was again the stand-out performer with a hat-trick.
On August 24, 2002, Hunt notched his first Bangor goal in a 2-1 triumph against Cwmbran Town at Farrar Road.
That 2002-03 term saw Hunt finish top-scorer in the Welsh Premier for the all-blues with 13 league goals, netting 21 in all competitions.
Hunt started 2003-04 well for Bangor, especially in the cups where he banged in 11 goals, including the third of three League Cup hat-tricks against Newtown.
However, in January 2004 the striker was snapped up by former City assistant boss John Hulse at Rhyl.
It proved a masterstroke by the wily Hulse, as Hunt scored in his first six league matches for the Lilywhites and his partnership up front with Andy Moran proved priceless as the Belle Vue club went on to win their first Welsh Premier title.
Hunt went on to become a massive favourite with the Lilies fans. Over the next four seasons he bagged 27, 34, 23 and 25 goals in all competitions for the team, his league tallies being 17, 18, 17 and 12 in those campaigns.
He also helped Rhyl lift the Welsh Cup in 2005-06, the Lilywhites defeating Bangor City 2-0 in the final at Wrexham.
That 2005-06 season also saw the Lilies scoop their first win in a European tie as they edged past FK Atlantas of Lithuania on away goals in the UEFA Cup.
Hunt scored both Rhyl goals in the 2-1 home leg victory.
In 2007/08 Hunt was a Euro hero again, netting in a 3-1 home win over FC Haka of Finland. Rhyl sadly lost the return 2-0 so went out on away goals.
The 2008-09 season saw Hunt quit the Welsh Premier League and join Barrow of the Conference National.
The player claimed he was getting unfair treatment at the hands of WPL referees and decided on a return to the English pyramid.
He was back at Rhyl for the start of 2009-10, but in January re-signed for Bangor City where he won the Welsh Cup, scoring in the 3-2 final victory over Port Talbot Town.
Hunt decided on a new adventure in 2010-11, landing at relative Welsh Premier newcomers Prestatyn Town, where his goals soon made him a major hit with the supporters.
However, a move to Bala Town came next, where he spent two seasons and grabbed 34 goals, finishing club top marksman in 2011-12 and 12-13.
Hunt was back at Prestatyn in 2013-14, but by November 2014 he reunited with Bala, initially on loan, before the deal became permanent in January 2015.
The goals continued to flow and he netted his 200th in the Welsh Premier in April 2016 – a penalty for Bala against Connah’s Quay Nomads.
One more happy story occurred as Hunt was part of the Bala side which won the Welsh Cup for the first time in their history, beating The New Saints 2-1 in the final on April 30, 2017, at Nantporth, Bangor. It was Town’s first win over TNS at the 30th attempt.
It was a great way for this Cymru Premier legend to say goodbye to the league he had served so well.
Lee Hunt – career stats in North Wales football (subject to confirmation)
2002/03: Bangor City 21 goals (13 league, 8 cup)
2003/04: Bangor City 17 goals (6 league, 11 cup)
2003/04: Rhyl 9 goals (7 league, 2 cup)
2004/05: Rhyl 27 goals (17 league, 10 cup)
2005/06: Rhyl 34 goals (18 league, 16 cup)
2006/07: Rhyl 23 goals (17 league, 6 cup)
2007/08: Rhyl 25 goals (12 league, 13 cup)
2009/10: Rhyl 12 goals (12 league)
2009/10: Bangor City 6 goals (5 league, 1 cup)
2010/11: Prestatyn Town 16 league goals
2011/13: Bala Town 34 league goals
2013/14: Prestatyn Town 14 league goals
2014/17: Bala Town 38 league goals (joined Nov 2014 on loan, deal became permanent Jan 2015)
Welsh Premier goals: 209
(Bangor City 24, Rhyl 83, Prestatyn Town 30, Bala Town 72)
Hunt featured in Bangor City’s 1-0 Uefa Cup first leg win over Sartid Smederevo in 2002-03, scored twice in Rhyl’s 2-1 victory against FK Atlantas in 2005-06, netted as the Lilywhites defeated FC Haka 3-1 in 2007-08 and was part of the Prestatyn Town squad which beat Liepajas Metalurgs in 2013-14, playing in the first leg, but missing out on the second.
He was, therefore, part of two winning ties for Welsh Premier clubs in Europe.