Football: Rocky road to heaven: Lee's perfect lift-off at Maine Road

Manchester City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Ipswich Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

IT SEEMED to be tempting fate when Francis Lee entered Maine Road on what appeared to be a podium. Given Manchester City's past, you half expected the new chairman to crash through an unsecured trap door.

At the club of cock-ups, anything is possible. So, when an announcer introduced the 'man who will put the word great into Manchester City again', the mind pondered whether he was still referring to either Little or Large, the comedians pointed out to the 28,188 crowd immediately before. But no, Lee appeared, 10,000 blue and white balloons were released, and a new era was ushered noisily in.

With it came bravado, laced with a glass of champagne. 'We're certainties to stay up,' Lee, who had gained a controlling interest only in the early hours of Saturday morning, said. 'We're going to buy quality players, maybe two or three. There's no point in going for people who are not better than the ones we've got. The manager has a short- list . . . ooh, of about 74.'

All music to City ears, of course, and Lee could make his promises on the back of a victory, but he might also have been the chairman who took the club to the bottom. Had they lost, and there were grounds for fearing they might do, the results at Swindon and Oldham would have ensured a miserable start on the road to a new Blue Heaven.

That they did not was down largely to David Rocastle. This may seem unlikely to anyone at Leeds, but on Saturday he recalled the times when he was considered an integral part of England's future with an eye-catching performance.

When he arrived from Elland Road, he carried a spare tyre that would have done justice to a juggernaut but the pounds have been shed and his confidence rediscovered. His part in City's first goal was worthy, in Lee's words, of 'Brazilian football at its best'.

Rocastle was penned in on the right-hand touch-line by two defenders, yet a bewildering drag back with the sole of his feet left his minders kicking at air and his cross, low and hard into the six-yard box, allowed Carl Griffiths to get his fourth goal in nine full appearances.

That recovered a poise that City had discarded when Garry Flitcroft had passed back horribly to Ian Marshall for Ipswich's 18th-minute goal, and they just about clung on to it throughout the second half. Before Flitcroft made amends with his 73rd-minute winner, however, there was a suspicion that frustration was mounting and the visitors getting more dangerous.

'For 17 years I've watched football with equanimity, and suddenly today it was different,' Lee said. 'I was very tense. I was kicking every ball, going up for every header. I'll calm down in time, I'm sure.'

Peter Swales, the previous and unloved incumbent, might beg to differ.

Goals: Marshall (17) 0-1; Griffiths (31) 1-1; Flitcroft (72) 2-1.

Manchester City (4-3-3): Coton; Edghill, Curle, Vonk, Phelan; Lomas, Rocastle, Flitcroft; Shutt, Griffiths, Sheron. Substitutes not used: Quigley, D Brightwell, Dibble (gk).

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): Forrest; Stockwell, Wark, Linighan, Thompson; Slater (Palmer, 66), Youds, Williams, Johnson; Marshall, Genchev (Kiwomya, 69). Substitute not used: Baker (gk).

Referee: A Hart (Darlington).

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: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test