The former Manchester City striker and chairman Francis Lee has died at the age of 79 after a long battle with cancer, the Premier League club have announced.
Lee became a legend at Maine Road, where spent eight years as a player, joining City from hometown club Bolton Wanderers in 1967 for a club record £60,000. During his time at City, he won the First Division, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup, scoring 148 goals in 330 appearances for the club, before ending his career at Derby County where he won another league title.
Lee was a barrel-chested striker known for his ruthless shot and precision from the penalty spot, once scoring 15 spot-kicks in a single season. A Lee penalty sealed City’s 1970 European Cup Winners’ Cup triumph over the Polish side Gornik Zabrze.
In addition to club honours, Lee won 27 caps for England, all while a City player, scoring 10 goals in the process and represent his country at the Mexico World Cup in 1970.
Following retirement, Lee moved into business, owning a toilet roll manufacturer. His success allowed him to become the majority shareholder at Manchester City in 1994, replacing Peter Swales as chairman. Lee aimed to reinvigorate City and to make them a Premier League force but by the time he left in 1998, the club were on the brink of relegation to the third tier.
“A club legend in every sense, Francis made 330 appearances for City, scoring 148 goals,” read a City statement. “He won one First Division title, one FA Cup, one League Cup, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and two Charity Shields during a glittering eight-year spell as a player – a legacy that ensures his position among Manchester City’s all-time greats is secure. He would later return to City as club chairman in 1994, spending four years at the helm.
“Franny passed away in the early hours of this morning after a long battle with cancer. His wife Gill and children Charlotte, Jonny and Nik say he will be sorely missed and would like to thank everyone for their kind words.” – Guardian