|Full name||Mark Lever|
|Date of birth||29 March 1970|
|Place of birth||Beverley, England|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Playing position||Centre Back|
|2004||→ Ossett Albion (loan)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Lever came through the youth ranks at Grimsby Town in 1988. He became a first team regular in the early nineties and was part of the team that won promotion via the Football League Division Two play-off final and the Football League Trophy during the 1997–98 season. Lever spent the first twelve years of his career with Grimsby and departed the club in 2000 when he joined Bristol City. Injuries prevented him from making a real impact at Ashton Gate and after two years he moved on again to Mansfield Town. In 2003 he dropped out of professional football and joined Non-league Ilkeston Town before finishing his career in 2004 whilst on loan with Ossett Albion.
Lever came through the youth ranks at Grimsby Town and was promoted to the clubs first team squad by Alan Buckley at the beginning of the 1987–1988 season. He naturally soon became one of the clubs regular centre backs, and found himself slotting in at the side of veteran centre half Paul Futcher. Lever received the clubs "Supporters Young Player of The Season" awards in both 1989 and 1991. He went on to be an integral part of the Town side that earned two back to back promotions in 1990 and 1991. When Futcher moved on, Grimsby nurtured in Peter Handyside as his long term replacement, and both players were part of an iconic Mariners defensive line up in the nineties that included the likes of Gary Croft, Graham Rodger, John McDermott and Tony Gallimore.
Arguably Lever's most successful season was the 1997–1998 campaign, in which Grimsby bounced back from relegation the previous season, to clinch promotion back to the English First Division via a 1–0 victory over Northampton Town at Wembley Stadium in the English Second Division play-off final. Also before the final victory, Grimsby, aided by Lever defeated A.F.C. Bournemouth at Wembley in the Football League Trophy final with a 2–1 scoreline. Mark continued to play for The Mariners in the 1998–1999, and 1999–2000 campaigns, and was also used as a makeshift captain in the absence of Paul Groves on several occasions. Lever's contract expired with The Mariners in the summer of 2000, and he opted to leave Blundell Park.
In his time at Grimsby, he made over 400 appearances in all competitions, scoring a total of 8 goals, he made his final appearance against Birmingham City in the final league game of the season, a few weeks after this match, Lever received the "Supporters Player of The Season" for the 1999–2000 campaign. Lever is considered to this day to be a cult hero by Grimsby Town supporters, and is one of the most successful players in the clubs history.
After 12 years at Grimsby, Lever dropped down a division and signed for Bristol City in July 2000 on a free transfer, and naturally became the main candidate to be the club captain. However his first season, was ruined by injury, after making his debut on the opening day of the season in a 2–0 defeat against Wrexham, Lever went on to feature in two more games, before injury ruled him out for the rest of the 2000–2001 campaign. The following season was more successful for Lever, as he completed 34 games in all competitions, coupled with a single goal in a 3–0 victory over Oldham Athletic on 2 February 2002. At the end of the 2001–2002 campaign, City decided not to renew Lever's two-year contract and he was released.
In August 2002, Lever signed for newly promoted Second Division side Mansfield Town. He made his debut for The Stags in the 2–0 derby defeat against local rivals Chesterfield on 28 August 2002. Lever would only go on to make 15 league appearances for Town in the 2002–2003 season, while also playing in the 3–0 FA Cup defeat against Crewe Alexandra on 7 December. Lever was released by the club at the end of the season, thus bringing to end his career playing in the professional leagues. The FA Cup defeat with Crewe, turned out to be his final game for the club, and in professional football.
Lever signed a one year deal with Northern Premier League outfit Ilkeston Town at the start of the 2003–2004 season. This would be his first taste of the Non League football circuit, and he notably formed a defensive partnership with former Nottingham Forest stalwart Steve Chettle. Lever signed a one year contract extension for the 2004–2005 season, and during this season he had fallen out of favour within the Ilkeston playing squads, thus opening up a loan move too lowly Yorkshire amateur side Ossett Albion. He remained with Albion for two months before returning too Ilkeston. Lever was released by Town in May 2005, and subsequently retired from playing competitive football aged 35.
Style of play
Lever, was described as "A big, old-fashioned centre-half that bullies strikers."
- Division Four runners up, Promoted: 1990
- Division Three 3rd place, Promoted: 1991
- Football League Trophy winner: 1998
- Division Two Play-off winner: 1998
- Supporters Player of the Year: 2000
- Supporters Young Player of the Year: 1989, 1991
- "Buckley savours Wembley hat-trick". BBC Sport. 27 March 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- "Wilson captures Lever". BBC Sport. 11 July 2000. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- "Stags look to Day". BBC Sport. 18 January 2003. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- Mark Lever career stats at Soccerbase
- Electronic Fishcake Player Profile
- Bristol City Net Player Profile