Football: Lee's suffering `minor' compared with Swales'

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FRANCIS LEE received only a taste of the treatment that drove the late Peter Swales out of Manchester City, according to the former Maine Road director Chris Muir, who stood shoulder to shoulder with his friend Swales as the campaign to bring Lee to power raged for months in 1993-94.

"That campaign, in my view, killed Peter Swales in the end," Muir said. "If Lee thinks he's had it bad over the past few weeks, it's just chicken feed to what Peter Swales had to endure."

Lee quit as chairman on Monday claiming the abuse from angry fans and pressure on his private and business life had forced him out. Lee's wife, Gill, claims their lives had become hell and the abuse had upset their family. She said: "It gets to you in the end; you say you don't listen or read about it, but it's hard."

However, Muir, now a director of Blackpool and a retired businessman, says he saw worse alongside Swales in the campaign that brought Lee to power four years ago.

He added: "Compared to what Peter had to contend with this has been nothing. What happened to Peter was a disgrace, what Francis Lee has had to cope with is minor.

"When the campaign to oust Peter was at its height, fans got into the nursing home where his mother was being looked after and caused trouble. His home was attacked, and fans spat in the face of his wife Brenda when she was out shopping."

Both Lee and the "Forward with Franny" group disassociated themselves with, and condemned, the abuse Swales suffered before Lee took control in February 1994.