clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Derby vs Bolton: Played For Both Clubs - Francis Lee CBE

A look at the career of former Bolton and Derby striker, Franny Lee.

Bolton News

Ahead of this weekend's game at the iPro Stadium, we take a look at the career of former Bolton, Manchester City and Derby striker, Francis 'Franny' Lee.

Franny Lee, born 29th April 1944 in Westhoughton, began his career with hometown club Bolton Wanderers. At the age of 16, Lee made his Wanderers debut. During Lee's time at Burnden Park, the club were on the decline. The club had only won the FA Cup just two years prior to Lee's debut in 1958, and also finished 4th in the league in 1959 and 6th in 1960. But with Nat Lofthouse coming towards the end of his career, it spelled the end of Bolton's time as one of the bigger teams in England.

Bolton were eventually relegated from the top flight in 1964, despite the best efforts of Franny Lee. The striker finished as Bolton's top goalscorer in both the 1962/1963 and 1963/1964 season, but couldn't prevent Bolton from dropping into the Second Divison for the first time in 29 years.

Wanderers' first season back in the Second Divsion was fairly successful. Despite not gaining promotion back to the Top Flight, the club finished 3rd. It was also a successful season for Bolton's strike partnership of Lee and Welsh striker Wynn Davies, with 48 goals scored between the pair. The next two seasons were average for Bolton, but not for Franny Lee. The club finished 9th in both the 1965/1966 and 1966/1967 seasons, but Lee and Wynn Davies continued to have a formidable partnership. Lee finished top goalscorer in both seasons, with 18 and 24 goals respectively.

During his time with Bolton, Franny Lee once asked famous manager Bill Ridding for a pay rise, stating: '"I just want to know where I stand," The reply: "You can stand on your head against the wall for all I care."

After starting the 1967/1968 season in blistering form, with eight goals in nine games, Franny Lee moved to First Division side Manchester City, for a then club record fee of £60,000 in October 1967. In total for Bolton, Lee scored 106 goals in 210 appearances. Lee was voted as the 46th Greatest Bolton Wanderers player in 2005.

Franny Lee made his City debut at Maine Road in a 2-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers on the 14th October 1967. Upon his arrival at Man City, Blues manager Joe Mercer described Lee as 'the final piece in the jigsaw'.

And Lee, alongside fellow players Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee, made the difference for City. In his debut season, Franny Lee scored 16 goals in 31 games, including one in the final game of the season in a 4-3 win against Newcastle United, to ensure Manchester City won their first league title since 1937.

The following season, Franny Lee made his England debut in December 1968 against Bulgaria at Wembley. Lee went on to play for England at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, and made 27 appearances in total for the Three Lions, scoring 10 goals.

Lee also started at Wembley for City as they beat Leicester City 1-0 in the 1969 FA Cup final.

From 1969 to 1973, Franny Lee topped City's goal charts. During this time, City won the League Cup in 1970 with a 2-1 win against West Bromwich Albion. Also in the same year, Lee scored the winning goal in a 2-1 win against Polish side Górnik Zabrze in the European Cup Winners' Cup. Lee also scored a perfect hat trick in a game against rivals Manchester United in December 1970.

In the 1971/1972 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.

In 1974, Lee left Manchester City to join this weekend's opponents Derby County for around £100,000. In total for Manchester City, Franny Lee scored 148 goals in 330 appearances.

Under the stewardship of Dave Mackay, Lee helped Derby to their second League title and the second Championship medal of Lee's career. In that season, Lee scored the winner in a 2-1 victory against former club Manchester City at Maine Road.

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 1976, after scoring 30 goals for Derby in a two year spell, Lee retired from the game, and focused on a successful business career.

Lee's business, F.H Lee, started off operating in the wastepaper and haulage business before moving into tissues and eventually making toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, handkerchiefs, cooking foil and cling film — eventually supplying most of the major retailers in the UK.

Peter Kay famously worked for a brief time for FH Lee.

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.

However, Lee's time as City chairman wasn't great. After making extravagant claims on where he wanted to take the club, such as "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",  City headed instead towards the Second Division (League 1). Lee resigned as chairman in 1998, but retained shares in City that he would later sell to Thai businessman Thaksin Shinawatra in 2007.

Last year, Lee was made a CBE in the Queen's New Years Honours List for 2016, for his services to sport and charity.

In February, Lee tweeted a message of support for Bolton and their new owners.