Francis Lee, the renowned English professional footballer known for his remarkable career as a striker, has sadly passed away at the age of 79. Lee, whose full name is Francis Henry Lee, left an indelible mark on the world of football and beyond, and his legacy will be remembered for generations to come.
Francis Lee’s Age and Early Life
Francis Lee was born on April 29, 1944, in Westhoughton, United Kingdom. He showed a remarkable talent for football from a young age and dedicated his life to the sport he loved. Interestingly, before pursuing a career in professional football, Lee displayed promise in cricket, notably representing the Horwich and Westhoughton Schools FA Team in 1958.
Francis Lee’s Height and Weight
The late English football legend stood at a height of 1.73 meters (5 feet 8 inches) and maintained a weight of 75 kilograms (165 pounds). His physical attributes were undoubtedly a factor in his success on the football pitch.
In addition to his football career, Francis Lee made significant contributions to the world of football off the field. In 1994, he took on the role of major shareholder and chairman of Manchester City, a position he held with distinction until he stepped down four years later.
Francis Lee’s Passing and Tributes
Francis Lee’s passing occurred on Monday, October 2, 2023, following a prolonged battle with cancer. His departure has left a void in the football community, and tributes have poured in from various quarters.
A statement from Manchester City expressed deep sadness and heartfelt condolences: “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.”
Bolton Wanderers also paid their respects, saying, “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.”
A Distinguished Football Career
Francis Lee’s illustrious football career saw him don the jerseys of several notable clubs, including Bolton Wanderers, Manchester City, Derby County, and the England national team. His incredible talent allowed him to score over 200 goals throughout his career and secure League Championship medals with Manchester City and Derby County.
Lee’s journey began as a 16-year-old amateur footballer when he made his debut for Bolton Wanderers in November 1960. After an impressive stint with Wanderers Bolton, where he scored 106 goals in 210 appearances, he made a significant move to Manchester City in September 1967.
One of Lee’s standout achievements was becoming Manchester City’s top scorer during the 1969–70 season. He played a pivotal role, including scoring a crucial penalty in the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
In total, Francis Lee netted 148 goals in 330 appearances during his eight-year tenure at Manchester City. His contributions were instrumental in the club’s success, including winning the old First Division title in 1968.
Records and Achievements
Francis Lee held numerous records and achieved several milestones during his career. He held the English record for the most penalties scored in a season, an impressive feat that showcased his proficiency from the spot.
Additionally, Lee held the record for the most goals in Manchester derbies, tallying 10 goals against Manchester United. Although this record was later surpassed by Wayne Rooney, it remains a testament to Lee’s remarkable skill.
On the international stage, Francis Lee made his debut for the England national team at the age of 24 on December 11, 1968. He scored his first goal in a friendly match against France on March 12, 1969. Lee also represented England at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, a significant achievement in his football career.
Life Beyond Football
Following his retirement from professional football, Francis Lee ventured into the world of business. He founded F.H. Lee Ltd, a company involved in recycling paper to manufacture products such as kitchen rolls and toilet paper, contributing to sustainability and environmental efforts.
Lee also embraced a career as a racehorse trainer, further diversifying his interests. Among the horses he trained were notable names like Sir Harry Hardman, Allwight Then, and Young Jason.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions to football, Francis Lee was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2010. He was also appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for his services to football and charity.
As the family of Francis Lee prepares to bid their final farewell, funeral arrangements are underway, with details yet to be finalized. The world will remember Francis Lee not only for his remarkable footballing prowess but also for his enduring impact on the sport and beyond.