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Francis Lee

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Title: Francis Lee  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of Manchester City F.C. (1965–2001), Shaun Goater, Colin Bell, History of Derby County F.C. (1967–present), UEFA Euro 1972 qualifying
Collection: 1944 Births, 1970 Fifa World Cup Players, Bolton Wanderers F.C. Players, Derby County F.C. Players, England International Footballers, English Football Chairmen and Investors, English Football Hall of Fame Inductees, English Footballers, First Division/Premier League Top Scorers, Living People, Manchester City F.C. Directors and Chairmen, Manchester City F.C. Players, People from Westhoughton, The Football League Players, The Football League Representative Players
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Francis Lee

Francis Lee
Lee (centre) signing an autograph
Personal information
Full name Francis Henry Lee
Date of birth (1944-04-29) 29 April 1944
Place of birth Westhoughton, Lancashire, England
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1967 Bolton Wanderers 139 (92)
1967–1974 Manchester City 248 (112)
1974–1976 Derby County 82 (30)
Total 469 (234)
National team
1968–1972 England 27 (10)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Francis Henry "Franny" Lee (born 29 April 1944 in Westhoughton, Lancashire, England) is a former professional footballer.

Lee played for Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, Derby County and England. A stocky forward, he won League Championship medals with Manchester City and Derby, and scored more than 200 goals in his career. In 2010, he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.

He holds the English record for the greatest number of penalties scored in a season, a feat which earned him the nickname Lee Won Pen and led to accusations of diving. One such accusation, from Leeds United's Norman Hunter, led to an on-pitch fight.[1]

After retiring from football, Lee ran a successful toilet roll business, F.H. Lee Ltd, which made him a millionaire. In 1994, he became the major shareholder and chairman of Manchester City, but stepped down four years later.


  • Playing career 1
  • Business career 2
  • Honours 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Playing career

Lee started his professional career with Bolton Wanderers. Manchester City manager Joe Mercer signed him for a club record transfer fee of £60,000 in 1967.[2] He made his Manchester City debut in a 2–0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Maine Road, and scored his first Manchester City goal the following week at Fulham. In his first season at the club, he scored 16 League goals in 31 appearances, playing a crucial role in City's push for the 1967–68 League Championship; Mercer described him as "the final piece of the jigsaw".[2] The title was decided on the final day of the season, City requiring a win at Newcastle United. City won the match 4–3, Lee scoring one of the goals, and were crowned champions. The following season Lee was part of the Manchester City team which won the 1969 FA Cup.

In the 1969–70 season, Lee was Manchester City's top scorer, an achievement he would subsequently match in each of the next four seasons.[2] His tally that season included one of the most important goals of his career, a penalty in the final of the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Lee represented England at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico and was the first English player ever to receive a card in a World Cup.

In the 1971–72 season, Lee set a British record for the number of penalties scored in a season, with 15 of his 35 goals scored from the penalty spot. Many of the penalties resulted from fouls on Lee, earning him the nickname Lee One Pen. Some journalists, holding the opinion that Lee gained a number of penalties by diving, used the name Lee Won Pen instead.[3] Lee's name is often cited in debates about diving in football; referees' chief Keith Hackett described him as a player who "had a reputation of falling down easily".[4]

Lee left Manchester City in 1974, joining Derby County. For the second time in his career, Lee joined a team viewed as contenders for that season's league title. Lee was upset at Manchester City's decision to sell him and marked his return to his former club by scoring the winning goal for Derby.[5] Lee scored 33 league goals that season, making him the top scorer in the division, and his goals led Derby to their second League title and the second championship medal of Lee's career. On 1 November 1975, Lee had a confrontation with Leeds United defender Norman Hunter, which gained a level of infamy after it was screened on Match of the Day. Lee won and scored a penalty in the match, and Hunter accused Lee of winning the penalty unfairly. The pair then exchanged punches, and were both sent off. In 2003, the incident was named by The Observer as sport's most spectacular dismissal.[6]

He also holds the record for the most goals in Manchester derbies, scoring 10 goals in all against Manchester United, a tally that equalled Joe Hayes' record,[7] and was also later equalled by Wayne Rooney.

Business career

After his playing career, Lee moved into business. His toilet roll manufacturing business once employed famous comedian Peter Kay, who mentions his time there in his autobiography "The Sound Of Laughter".

In 1994, Lee became chairman of Manchester City, ousting Peter Swales from the position by purchasing £3 million of shares at a price of £13.35 per share.[8] Lee was welcomed as a hero by City's supporters, who had formed a movement named Forward With Franny backing his attempt to gain control of the club.[9] Upon becoming chairman, Lee made a series of extravagant claims about his plans for the club, announcing that "This will be the happiest club in the land. The players will be the best paid and we'll drink plenty of champagne, celebrate and sing until we're hoarse".[9] In 1995, he appointed his friend Alan Ball as manager, but the appointment proved unsuccessful and the club were relegated. Lee stepped down in 1998, with the club on the brink of relegation to the third tier of English football, a fate which Lee had dismissed at the previous annual general meeting by saying that he would "jump off the Kippax" if the club were relegated.[10] He was succeeded by David Bernstein. Lee retained a shareholding after leaving the board of directors but later sold all his shares to Thaksin Shinawatra.

In addition to his business ventures, Lee also had a career as a racehorse trainer. Notable horses trained by Lee include Sir Harry Hardman,[11] Allwight Then[12] and Young Jason.[13] Lee gave the trade up in 2001 to pursue his business commitments.

Before becoming a professional footballer Lee showed promise at cricket, representing the Horwich and Westhoughton Schools FA Team in 1958.[14] When his football career came to an end, he briefly returned to cricket, playing for Westhoughton's first XI in 1977 as a medium-fast bowler and middle to lower order batsman.[15]


Manchester City
Derby County


  1. ^ "The 10... most spectacular dismissals". London: 3 August 2003. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c James, Gary (2006). Manchester City – The Complete Record. Derby: Breedon.  , p178
  3. ^ Adamson, Mike (2 March 2005). "Are Palace set for a penalties record?". Guardian (London). Retrieved 15 April 2007. 
  4. ^ Jacob, Gary; Kempson, Russell (19 April 2005). "Duff works on happy landings". The Times (London). Retrieved 15 April 2007. 
  5. ^ Clayton, David (2002). Everything under the blue moon: the complete book of Manchester City FC – and more!. Edinburgh: Mainstream publishing.  
  6. ^ "The 10 most spectacular dismissals". Observer (London). Retrieved 14 April 2007. 
  7. ^ Baskcomb, Julian (ed.) (1997). Manchester City F.C. Official Handbook 1997–98. Leicester: Polar. 
  8. ^ "After all that... This". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2007. 
  9. ^ a b Hodgson, Guy (17 March 1998). "Maine line to nowhere for Lee". The Independent (London). Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Conn, David. "Fans fear Keegan's reign may spell glory or bust". The Independent. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "Sir Harry Hardman". Racing Post. Retrieved 14 April 2007. 
  12. ^ "Ribble Maiden Stakes". Racing Post. Retrieved 14 April 2007. 
  13. ^ encourage Young' Selling Handicap"'". Racing Post. Retrieved 14 April 2007. 
  14. ^ Beevers, Ken (1999). Images of England: Westhoughton. NPI Media.  
  15. ^ "Westhoughton Cricket Club 150th Anniversary (1856 -2006)". Westhoughton CC. Retrieved 14 April 2007. 

External links

  • Francis Lee England profile at Englandstats
Business positions
Preceded by
Peter Swales
Manchester City F.C. chairman
Succeeded by
David Bernstein
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