Former Manchester City, Bolton and England player Francis Lee dies age 79

  • Video report by ITV Granada Reports sport's correspondent David Chisnall

Former Manchester City, Bolton and Derby County player Francis Lee has died at the age of 79.

Lee, who also had a spell as City chairman in the 1990, made 330 appearances for the Blues scoring 148 goals.

In a post on X, previously Twitter, Manchester City said: "It is with the deepest sadness and heaviest of hearts we announce the passing of former Manchester City player and Chairman Francis Lee."

Lee won one First Division title, one FA Cup, one League Cup, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and two Charity Shields during a glittering eight-year spell as a player – making him one of Manchester City’s all-time greats.

He then returned to Manchester City as Chairman in 1994, spending a total of four years at the club.

Francis Lee playing for Manchester City in 1970. Credit: PA Images

In a statement, Manchester City FC said: "Franny passed away in the early hours of this morning after a long battle with cancer.

"His wife Gill and children Charlotte, Jonny and Nik say he will be sorely missed and would like to thank everyone for their kind words.

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

Flags around the Etihad Stadium and City Football Academy are flying at half-mast as a mark of respect.

Former World Boxing Champion Ricky Hatton also expressed his condolences.

In a post on Instagram, he said: "So saddened to hear of the passing of Francis "Franny" Lee. What a legend of a footballer and a man in general. Never did a man love our club more than this man. On the pitch as a player, off it as a chairman.

"He was blue through and through. Had the pleasure of being in his company so many times. Something I will never forget. A genuine manchester treasure. Love and condolences to the family RIP Franny the king"

Lee, who began his playing career at Bolton, joined Derby from City in 1974. He won 27 England caps, scoring 10 goals, after making his full international debut in 1968 and appeared at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

He spent eight seasons at first club Bolton, scoring 106 goals in 210 games after breaking into the side at the age of 16, before City splashed out a then club-record £60,000 to sign him in 1967.