Francis Lee


Francis Henry Lee (born 29 April 1944 in Westhoughton, near Bolton, Lancashire) is a former professional footballer, who played in the 1960s and 1970s, including 27 appearances for the England national team. Lee played for Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, and Derby County. A stocky forward, he won League Championship medals with both Manchester City and Derby, and scored more than 200 goals in his career.

He holds the English record for the greatest number of penalties scored in a season, a feat which earned him the nickname Lee One Pen, and sometimes led to accusations of diving. One such accusation, from Leeds United's Norman Hunter, led to an on-pitch fight, which The Observer later named as sport's most spectacular dismissal.

After retiring from football, Lee entered business, the success of his paper recycling business F.H. Lee Ltd making him a millionaire. In 1994 he became the major shareholder and chairman of his former club Manchester City, but stepped down four years later.

Playing career

Lee started his professional career with Bolton Wanderers, before Manchester City manager Joe Mercer signed him for £60,000 in October 1967, setting a club record transfer fee.. 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". 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. 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.

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. 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".

Lee left Manchester City in August 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 in December marked his return to his former club by scoring the winning goal for Derby. Lee scored 33 league goals that season, making him the top scorer in the division, and his goals led Derby to their second ever 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.

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's record.

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. 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. 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"..

In addition to his business ventures, Lee also had a career as a racehorse trainer. Notable horses trained by Lee include Sir Harry Hardman, Allwight Then and Young Jason. 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. 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.

On 4th June 2005 Francis Lee was arrested following an argument with a policeman. It is understood a row broke out after Lee's wife, Gill, was stopped and breathalysed as she drove home in the early hours of the morning. Lee was given an adult caution.(

Career statistics

|- |1960-61||rowspan="8"|Bolton Wanderers||rowspan="4"|First Division||6||2|||||||||||||||| |- |1961-62||5||0|||||||||||||||| |- |1962-63||23||12|||||||||||||||| |- |1963-64||34||12|||||||||||||||| |- |1964-65||rowspan="4"|Second Division||38||23|||||||||||||||| |- |1965-66||34||12|||||||||||||||| |- |1966-67||40||22|||||||||||||||| |- |1967-68||9||8|||||||||||||||| |- |1967-68||rowspan="7"|Manchester City||rowspan="7"|First Division||31||16|||||||||||||||| |- |1968-69||37||12|||||||||||||||| |- |1969-70||36||13|||||||||||||||| |- |1970-71||38||14|||||||||||||||| |- |1971-72||42||33|||||||||||||||| |- |1972-73||35||14|||||||||||||||| |- |1973-74||30||10|||||||||||||||| |- |1974-75||rowspan="2"|Derby County||rowspan="2"|First Division||34||12|||||||||||||||| |- |1975-76||28||12||||||||||||||||500||227||||||||||||||||500||227|||||||||||||||| |}


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