Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Club Ambassador Mike Summerbee have led tributes from the football world after the sad passing of Francis Lee on Monday.

A legend in every sense of the word, Francis made 330 appearances in sky blue, scoring 148 goals, before later becoming chairman of the Club in the mid-1990s.

Lee, a member of our ‘Holy Trinity’, played a seismic role in one of City’s greatest periods between 1967 and 1974 by winning one First Division title, one FA Cup, one League Cup, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and two Charity Shields. 

He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him and we send our condolences to his friends and family at this difficult time.

Ahead of Pep Guardiola‘s side’s Tuesday training session, players and staff also took part in a minute’s silence in Francis’ honour at the CFA.

And fans can add their messages to our online condolence book available via the link below.

In memory of Francis Lee  


Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak

“Francis will always be remembered as one of Manchester City’s greats.  His critical contribution to the Club’s unprecedented success in the 60s and 70s was characterised by flair, dynamism and excitement. 

“His record as the Club’s top scorer for five consecutive seasons, his many goals for Club and Country, and his 27 England caps, are all testament to his quality as a player.  These are records that will stand the test of time.   But, what should also never be forgotten is that, as both player and Chairman, he constantly demonstrated his love, passion and commitment to the Club.  It was an extension of his larger than life personality.  A personality that made an impression wherever he went.

“His passing will sadden not only those connected to Manchester City, but the wider football family.   On behalf of everyone at the Club, our thoughts, thanks, and deepest sympathies are with Francis’ family and friends.”

Club Ambassador, Mike Summerbee

“It is an honour to be able to say Francis Lee was both a friend and teammate. He is a man I will always hold in the highest regard - a truly brilliant footballer and a fantastic person.

“Much of what Manchester City achieved in the 60s and 70s was down to Francis. He was a superb goalscorer and a man who could create chances from nothing. He is, quite rightly, seen as one of this club’s best ever players.

“This is desperately sad news for Francis’ friends and family - but also for Manchester City Football Club. We have lost a true giant.

“I want to send my thoughts and prayers to his wonderful wife Gill and his children Charlotte, Jonny and Nik. Everyone at Manchester City is thinking of you.”

Tony Book

“I first came up against Franny when I was Bath City, and we drew Bolton in the FA Cup – so I knew what he was about!

“I joined City before he came, but he was the final piece of the Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison’s jigsaw, and he had an immediate impact – he was the perfect player for Manchester City.

“He would tackle from the front – no defender wanted to come up against Franny – and that set the tone for the whole team as it wasn’t something you saw a lot of at the time.

“He was a great lad, full of confidence with a real swagger from the word go and he’ll be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.”

Joe Corrigan

“For a young person coming into the team as I did in the late 60s Franny was such a massive help with his advice and guidance and his attitude towards what he did as a footballer.

“He was such a great person both on and off the field.

“On the field if you made a mistake, he would speak to you, but he would do it in such a constructive way to help make you better. He made sure you always learnt from it.

“He was a such a fantastic player. People talk about Lee Won Pen, but he was so much better than that. Yes, he was a great penalty taker, but Franny was also a great, great player.

“Football today I would imagine is in shock as I am. It’s such terrible news and it has hit me like a ton of bricks, and I know all the lads still around will also be in deep, deep shock.

“He was a funny, funny man as well as a great player and as a youngster you would listen to his stories, and he just made you laugh.

“Him and Buzzer (Mike Summerbee) were such a special partnership on and off the pitch.

“Francis’ goals were integral to all that we achieved as he was a key part of the team built by Malcolm and Joe.

“We just gelled together as a team, and it was such a fantastic period.

“Some argue he was unlucky not to win more England caps but to play for you country was so, so special and there were a lot of great players around then and he gave everything to his country too.

“Franny wore his City shirt, his England shirt, and his Bolton and Derby shirts with huge pride and always did the job.

“He cared deeply about City and the Manchester people and when he came back as Chairman it was because he wanted to help get the Club back on its feet.

“It was obviously a tumultuous time, but he did what he did as he wanted to get the Club on a better footing, and he played his part in getting the Club to where it is today.

“Manchester City was Maine Road first and it all started from there – we were all part of a special Manchester City team and Francis was central to it.

“It such a sad, sad piece of news. All my thoughts and prayers go to Gill, his family and friends.

“He will enormously missed - by everyone.”

Tommy Booth

“Franny was such a fantastic player.

“I remember playing against him when Franny was still at Bolton, and I remember thinking then ’Blimey this is some player.’

“When he came to City, he was such a special addition for us and for me he is one of the best signings the Club ever made.

“He was such a great lad off the pitch as well. On the pitch we all saw what he could do; off it he was such a great character.

“It’s just such sad, sad news. I’m so upset, and I know So many people will be too.

“He came to Club when we had Colin and Mike and such great players, but I remember soon after joining us he said to us on the training pitch ‘Look lads, if you want to win games just give me the ball and I will score.’

“We all thought ‘Hello, who’s this?’ Well, we all soon discovered who Franny was – a brilliant player and a brilliant goal scorer.

“Centre backs would all try to kick him, and Franny just came back for more as he was brave as a lion too. When they tried to kick him, he took it a compliment as they couldn’t deal with him.

“Obviously, his best response of all was to score goals.

“And what a penalty taker. If you ever needed one person to take one for you it would be Franny.

“I remember once asking what his secret was and Franny said: ‘Tommy I put the ball down, I don’t mind what the keeper does, I just hammer it in as hard as I can’ and it worked as he hardly ever missed.

“Franny added ‘If they guess right when I hit it then it will take them into the net with the ball.’

“What a great lad he was.

“Franny was such a huge part of all that we won in that period and don’t forget in that period he was coming up against centre halves who were twice his size, but he never ever flinched from them!

“I was gutted when he left the Club in 74 – it was a decision made by the board and it was no coincidence that he went to Derby, and they won the title that season!

“We were all friends and will be forever and it’s such a sad, sad day and my thoughts go to Franny’s family.

“He will be missed so much.”

Peter Barnes

“When I was a kid I used to clean Franny’s boots as an apprentice, and he was playing for England then and was our central striker.

“I was just a kid coming through, but I knew what a great player he was in that special City side.

“He had the smallest feet in the boot room – size 6 – but he packed the hardest shot.

“His feet were small, but boy did he have power in his shots.

“Franny was also a larger-than-life personality too. He was a very confident man, successful in business too but what a great, great striker he was. He would run at people, score great goals.

“He had enormous success at City of course and also won the title later at Derby when he went there.

“I got very close to Francis in later years as he was really close to my dad Ken.

“Dad always used to call at Francis’s house on the way back to Macclesfield when he had been to see my brother Michael and when Dad passed away 13 years Francis said he how much he missed his chats with Dad and his personality.

“He is a true legend and such a great player and will be so sadly missed.

“I remember standing on the City terraces with my Grandfather Fred and watching Francis play and what great goals he scored in that special side of the late 60s.

“Sadly, we never played together in City’s first team. As I was just breaking through from the reserves, he was sold to Derby, so we were a bit like passing ships in the night.

“I had played with him in the reserves and trained with him as a young kid coming through.

“That dressing room was full of special character s like Joe Corrigan and Tommy Booth. They had won everything and what a successful team they were, but Francis was a big, big part of it.

“He just a larger-than-life character, always cracking jokes and just a lovely man to be around.

“He was such a great man who cared deeply about Manchester City and who put his heart and soul into the Club.

“When he became chairman, he tried his best every day as he loved the Club and the fans.

“His contribution will never be forgotten, and he will be missed by all the former players as he was held in the highest possible esteem.”

Georgi Kinkladze

“I am so sorry to learn about Francis Lee’s passing, and I’m sending my condolences to his family, loved ones, and all Manchester City fans on this loss.

“He was an outstanding person for me, not only in his football career but also in life. I wish his sons endurance; they must be proud of their father, and his role is still not properly appreciated.

“When I arrived in Manchester, he paid much attention to me. I remember he invited me to his house for dinner with his family. It was a little strange for such a gesture from the president, but he made us feel like members of his and his club’s family.

“He had a specific sense of humour and was an exciting speaker. In the end, it played a significant role in my career. I remember he told me after the goal against Southampton that “I have been in English football for decades and have never seen such a long-standing ovation”.

“Again, I am sad about this loss, Francis. You will always be in my memory, and I will always be thankful. 

“A club legend in every sense...”