Francis Lee | 1944-2023

Francis Lee Bolton

All at Bolton Wanderers are saddened to hear of the passing of former player Francis Lee at the age of 79.

Westhoughton-born Lee, who would go on to win the League championship with both Manchester City and Derby County, started his career with Wanderers.

Lee scored 106 goals in just 210 appearances for the Whites in his position as a winger or more central forward.

Franny Lee Bolton

His debut against Manchester City as a 16-year-old amateur in November 1960 saw him partner club legend Nat Lofthouse - then 35 - in attack, with both scoring in a 3-1 win at Burnden Park.

Lee signed professional forms with Wanderers in May, 1961 and in 1962/63 he finished as the Whites' top scorer in their First Division campaign.

That was to be a regular theme throughout his Wanderers’ career, with 23 league goals in the 1964/65 season, following the Whites’ relegation to Division Two, his most prolific season.

Lee scored in seven consecutive games at the start of the 1967/68 season and in September, 1967 moved to Maine Road for a £65,000 fee.

Franny Lee team pic

He went on to become a City legend from a glittering eight-year playing spell at the club, which saw him make 330 appearances and score 148 goals.

He won one First Division title, one FA Cup, one League Cup, a European Cup Winners’ Cup and two Charity Shields during his time at City before joining Derby in 1974 and winning another top-flight title in his first season at the Baseball Ground.

Lee - made a CBE in 2016 for services to football and charity - also scored 10 goals in 27 appearances for England and was a member of Sir Alf Ramsey's squad for the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico, where the defending champions exited at the quarter-final stage.

Lee, who would later return to City as club Chairman in 1994 and spend four years at the helm, passed away following a lengthy battle with cancer and the thoughts of everyone at Wanderers are with his family and friends at this sad time.

Wanderers will pay their respects to Lee at Tuesday night’s home game against Stevenage with a minute's applause before kick-off and both teams will black arm bands.

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