Football: Lee leaves City with attack on club's managers

FRANCIS LEE'S turbulent reign at Manchester City's chairman ended yesterday for "personal, family and business reasons". The millionaire and former City striker, who was swept to power by popular support four years ago, was driven out by spectator miscontent as the club sit perilously in the First Division's relegation zone.

He went with a withering swipe at the Maine Road managers who he claimed have wasted millions on poor players and criticised the people inside the club who "have tried to blacken my name".

The 53-year-old Lee resigned as chairman and as a director, leaving his deputy, David Bernstein - a life-long supporter who heads the clothing chain French Connection - in charge. Dennis Tueart, another former City player, becomes director of football, with John Wardle, the boss of JD Sports, joining the board.

Lee paid pounds 3m for a 29.9 per cent stake in City in February 1994. Eight managers and pounds 30m spent on players later, they are facing relegation to the Second Division for the first time in their history - a struggle which still draws 30,000 crowds.

"My family life, personal life and business life have been severely disrupted by events over the past few months to such an extent that it has become impossible and impractical for me to carry on," Lee said in a statement.

"As a player I took great pride in playing for Manchester City and I was also very proud to have become chairman. Consequently, over the last four years I have tried very hard to create a situation where everyone would be proud, pleased and privileged to be associated with Manchester City.

"I feel I have done my very best for the club. However many improvements are made off the field it is the improvements on it for which the chairman is judged. I leave with my integrity and character intact."

Lee did not single out individual managers, but the bulk of signings under his chairmanship were made by Alan Ball and Frank Clark. "We have not bought quality and organised them right. It has not worked for us on the pitch," Lee said. "The purchase of players have not been worth the value we have paid for them, with the odd exception like Georgi Kinkladze."

He denied that he had interfered with team selection. "I have been accused of all kinds of things which are totally untrue," he said. "There are, behind the scenes at Maine Road, some very insincere people, who have tried to blacken my name. There were enemies within and without."

Bernstein, who was brought into the club by Lee, offered no quick remedy and stressed that the club will have to cut their cloth according to their finances.

"I know the tension that the supporters feel. I feel exactly the same way, absolutely awful," he said. "We will give it everything."

However, he suggested the possibility of standing aside if new money was forthcoming and many observers feel his spell as chairman will be short-lived. Mike McDonald, the Sheffield United chairman, has been pushing for a stake in City for some time.

The position of the manager, Joe Royle, who was appointed in February, appears secure.

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Sport
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
football
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn