Manchester City are deeply saddened to learn that Mr Ian Niven MBE has passed away aged 97.

Mr Niven, one of the Club’s honorary presidents, was a lifelong Manchester City supporter and part of a proud six-generation City-supporting family.

He leaves behind his son Ian, grandchildren Karen and Ian and their partners Kieran and Gosia. Also, grandchildren Michael and Ian and their partners Georgette and Helen, son-in-law Peter and great grandchildren Mia, Lily, Jace, Ava, Eleanor and James. Sadly, his daughter Olivia passed away in 2013 and daughter-in-law Ann passed away earlier this year.

Sgt Niven was a member of the Long Range Penetration Group, otherwise known as the Chindits, who trained in India and fought in Burma during World War II.

The Chindits were a Special Force that embarked on treacherous missions over extremely difficult terrain, often short of rations and water and affected by disease such as malaria and dysentery

A member of the first battalion the Lancashire Fusiliers 77th brigade under ‘Mad’ Mike Calvert, Ian was a signaller attached to Major Monteith’s company.

He flew into ‘Broadway’ by Dakota on 6th March 1944.  He fought at both ‘White City’ and Mogaung.  

Mr Niven said of his time in Mogaung “I looked around at the devastation. I was completely knackered. I asked myself all the obvious questions: ‘What happens next? Will I live?’ After the battle I became so ill I could hardly walk. We were then told to make for Shadazup. Somehow I made that march. I said to myself: ‘If you can get there, you can live.’ I was determined to see my mother again.”

After the war, Ian spent almost 20 years working at the Richard Johnson and Nephew wire works in Bradford, east Manchester.

He joined the Manchester City board in 1971 and remained until 1995, working selflessly throughout and providing much-needed stability during the transition between the Chairmanship of Peter Swales and Francis Lee.

During that time, he oversaw the development of Maine Road and identified the need for City to own their training ground and thus created the first academy in the country.

He was also a key architect in founding the Junior Blues initiative.

Ian was awarded an MBE for his services to the community, particularly his work in Moss Side.

He regularly attended City matches until very recently and was there to his beloved team play in their first Champions League final earlier this year.

As a mark of respect and in recognition of Mr Niven’s contribution to Manchester City, the flags at the Etihad Stadium and City Football Academy will be flying at half mast in his honour.

Everyone at Manchester City would like to send their condolences to Ian’s family and friends at this difficult time.