Football: Lee 'has made no City bid'

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REPORTS that Francis Lee was poised to take control at Manchester City have been exposed as, at the very least, premature. A special board meeting yesterday that was widely expected to produce a commitment from Peter Swales, the former City chairman, to stand down as a director in favour of the Lee group instead produced no change.

Another City director, Chris Muir, announced that there is at present no takeover under discussion. 'Manchester City have received no offer from the Francis Lee consortium. Until such time as a proper offer is made to ourselves or our merchant bankers, we are in a state of stalemate,' he said.

'We are dealing with substantial sums of money for one of the largest clubs in the country and there is no way we will be rushed into a hasty decision. We all want peace at the club, but until such time as Francis Lee puts the money up, he is firing shots without having his artillery in place.'

Muir added that there had been no discussion of any resignations from the board. 'Mr Swales is a director of the company and will continue to be a director,' he said.

Colin Barlow, a member of the rival consortium and mooted as chief executive under a Lee regime, said that an offer - thought to be around pounds 12m - had been made to the three major shareholders - Swales, Stephen Boler and a representative of the brewers, Greenall Whitley.

Muir said that under company law any bid for more than 30 per cent of the club's shares would have to be made to all shareholders.

If such an offer from Lee and Barlow is accepted, they have already pledged an immediate pounds 6m to strengthen the side, with more money to come from wealthy backers who are committed to making City a major force once more.

Lee, who watched the match from his usual seat in the stand, left the ground without comment. But later he said that he shortly hoped to make a pounds 15m bid for the total shareholding in the club.

City match report, page 24