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?
Life and Style
healthMeet the volunteer users helping to see if the banned drug can help cure depression and addiction
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Life and Style
tech
News
i100
News
Foo Fighters lead man Dave Grohl talks about the band's forthcoming HBO documentary series
people
News
i100
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: Direct Mail Machine Operative

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an i...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Day In a Page

Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The officials are caught in the web of US legal imperialism - where double standards don't get in the way

Caught in the web of legal imperialism

The Fifa officials ensnared by America's extraterritorial authority are only the latest examples of this fearsome power, says Rupert Cornwell
Bruce Robinson: Creator of Withnail and I on his new book about Jack the Ripper

'Jack the Ripper has accrued a heroic aura. But I'm going after the bastard'

The deaths of London prostitutes are commonly pinned on a toff in a top hat. But Bruce Robinson, creator of Withnail and I, has a new theory about the killer's identity
Fifa presidential election: What is the best way to see off Sepp Blatter and end this farce?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

What is the best way to see off Sepp Blatter and end this farce?
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards