Former Man City and England striker Francis Lee dies

By John Mercury October 2, 2023

Former Manchester City player and chairman Francis Lee has died at the age of 79 following a battle with cancer, the club have announced.

In a tweet, Man City wrote: “It is with the deepest sadness and heaviest of hearts we announce the passing of former Manchester City player and chairman Francis Lee.”

“Everyone at Manchester City would like to send their condolences to the friends and family of Francis at this very difficult time.”

File photo dated 1-07-1969 of Francis Lee, Manchester City. Former Manchester City player and chairman Francis Lee has died at the age of 79, the club have announced. Issue date: Monday October 2, 2023.
Manchester City's Francis Lee..archive-pa1404-14

Affectionately known as Franny, the former City forward played for the club between 1967 and 1974, making 330 appearances and scoring 148 goals.

The England striker started his career in his hometown Bolton, before moving to City for a record transfer fee of £60,000.

He also earned 27 caps for England, scoring 10 goals, after making his debut in 1968 and featuring in the side that reached the 1970 World Cup quarter final.

After leaving City, Lee went on to win another league title with Derby in 1975.

The following season came a moment of infamy following an on-pitch fight with Leeds player Norman Hunter.

He eventually retired from the game in 1976, becoming a successful businessman. Lee once famously employed comedian Peter Kay in his toilet roll business.

In 1994 he returned to City as chairman, spending four years at the helm.

Former England football player Francis Lee after receiving a CBE from the Duke of Cambridge for services to football and charity at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London.

The club has said flags are being flown at half mast around the Etihad Stadium and City Football Academy as a mark of respect.

Bolton posted on X: “All at Bolton Wanderers are saddened to learn of the passing of former forward, Francis Lee.

“The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Francis’ family, friends and loved ones at this difficult time.”

England have also paid tribute to Lee, saying: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of Francis Lee at the age of 79.

“Franny won 27 caps and scored ten goals for the Three Lions between 1968 and 1972.

“All of our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Lee was made CBE for services to sport and charity in 2016.

He is survived by his wife Gill and children Charlotte, Jonny and Nik.

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