Tag Archives: allison

Man City legend Francis Lee: My top player was on 15 grand a week when I was chairman blimey, academy lads are on that now

Legend Lee who paved way to Etihad reflects on City's incredible journey: My top player was on 15 grand a week – blimey, academy lads are on that now



23:01 GMT, 8 December 2012

Francis Lee can pinpoint the moment he realised being the chairman of Manchester City might send him round the bend. Watching his team thrashed at Old Trafford, Lee was aghast by what he saw when Andrei Kanchelskis scored a fifth United goal in a 5-0 victory.

'A couple of United players were laughing – so were the defenders of Manchester City. I thought “Oh Christ, I can't believe that”,' he said. 'It was a little giggle and a shrug of the shoulders as if to say “Oh, that is five”. Kanchelskis got three that night and our left-back still thought he'd had a good game!

Flamboyant: Former City chairman Francis Lee

Flamboyant: Former City chairman Francis Lee

'They were the bad old days. We spent too much money on a new stand and infrastructure when we should have spent it on players. And our managers weren't very good, although I've got to take responsibility for appointing them.'

Franny on Balotelli

What's he done wrong exactly Plenty of players today do far worse than a few problems with fireworks. I played with a guy called Tony Coleman at City. He'd come into training still in his dinner jacket and tie, smelling of vodka. The manager had to introduce a rule just for TC: any player spotted out after midnight on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday would be fined two weeks' wages.

Nobody packed inside the Etihad Stadium for the Manchester derby between the two best teams in the country knows Manchester City like Lee.

As a barrel-chested, prolific centre-forward, he earned cult status for winning the League Championship, FA Cup and European Cup-winners' Cup in consecutive seasons under manager Joe Mercer and his colourful coach, Malcolm Allison.

Then, having made a fortune in business, he returned to City as chairman in 1994, when they were a financial basket-case rather than Premier League superpower.

Back then, there were no Abu Dhabi millions to spend. Instead, Lee put in charge Alan Ball, whose team shielded the ball when they needed to score to avoid relegation, Steve Coppell, who quit after 28 days, and Frank Clark, whose job was to take City out of the old First Division. Clark succeeded – not by getting the club promoted back to the Premier League but by getting them relegated to the third tier of English football.

Lee, by nature an optimist and extrovert, was moved to say: 'If cups were awarded for cock-ups, you would not be able to move in City's boardroom.'

Legend: Lee in his playing days

Legend: Lee in his playing days

Looking back now to those turbulent times, Lee still has to pinch himself at how the club has changed in little more than a decade.

Franny on City's dream signing

Some fans might not like it
but I'd go out and try to buy
Cristiano Ronaldo. He can win
a game at the drop of a hat
even when he's having a
moan. When you line up
against someone like
Ronaldo, you wouldn't have
a clue how to stop him. He can
play on either wing
and is unplayable on
his day.

'I didn't pay a lot for City because it was completely skint. The top earner in my time was Georgi Kinkladze on about 15 grand a week. Blimey, the Academy lads are on that now. The turnover was 4.5million when I became chairman. When I left in 1998 it was over 30m – now it is 240m.'

On Sunday, Roberto Mancini has the most expensive Premier League squad in history to choose from, part an overall 1billion investment from Sheik Mansour since he bought City in 2008.

Lee's largest single purchase was 3.75m for Portsmouth striker Lee Bradbury, a deal that still gives him nightmares. Bradbury played just 40 matches, scoring 10 goals before being sold to Crystal Palace for half the amount Lee had paid.

Lee recalled: 'I asked our manager, Frank Clark, if he was sure because it was a lot of money. He said ''Yes, this lad could be the next Alan Shearer''. I saw his debut in pre-season at Burnley and he never looked to get into the six-yard box like a lead striker should. I went home afterwards and my wife, Gill, said “What is it, you look fed up” I said “This new striker, I don't fancy him, honestly''.'

It had been different in Lee's playing heyday during the Swinging Sixties when United and City battled for trophies. Once the matches were over, rival players would go out clubbing together.

'Manchester was a fantastic place to go out in,' says Lee. 'There were 10 clubs with world-class cabaret and comedians. You'd go in and Tom Jones might be singing, or Shirley Bassey or Engelbert Humperdinck. The United lads would go to the same places. Besty (George Best) was always in Blinkers or Mr Smiths. He was a prize asset for any club who could have him in there regularly because he used to pack it out with young girls who all fancied becoming his wife, which was a big mountain to climb. Some of the younger players used to follow on, hoping to get a few of his cast-offs.'

Nightmare: City paid 3.75m for Lee Bradbury

Nightmare: City paid 3.75m for Lee Bradbury

The charismatic Allison was as likely to join his players for a night out as punish them, a practice it is hard to imagine current manager Mancini adopting, given his reputation for keeping his distance from his squad. But Lee, who played for the ultimate disciplinarian Sir Alf Ramsey at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, does not see any problem with City's Italian manager.

Franny on England

I'd like to see David Moyes as our next manager. He's done wonders with relatively limited resources at Everton and that's basically the same situation he'd have with England. People say we can't appoint him because he's Scottish. Why not We've had an Italian, a Swede and a half-Dutchman.

'You don't have to be popular with the players to be a good manager or coach,' he insists. 'Alf Ramsey was never the life and soul of the party. He would turn to anybody – no matter how big a name – and say “Look, if you don't start pulling your socks up, you can kiss this bloody international squad goodbye”. If Alf gave you a rollocking, you knew you had been told off.

'He accused me twice of going to the Sportsman's Club in Tottenham Court Road and getting drunk. It wasn't me because I'd never been there in my life – but he said if he ever got proof, he would drop me like a stone.

Impressive: Lee would have liked to have played with Sergio Aguero

Impressive: Lee would have liked to have played with Sergio Aguero

'City haven't lost a League game
since April. They beat West Brom with 10 men this season. That doesn't
happen if the players don't have attitude and spirit. The Champions
League has been a learning curve but it's a higher grade of football.
The tempo is very high and didn't suit one or two of the current
players. It'll take time to readjust.'

Six of the best Manchester derbies

Man United 0 Man Cit y 1
April 27, 1974

United would have gone down anyway, no matter what the result of this game. But defeat by their old rivals confirmed it – and Denis Law scored with a cheeky back-heel that merely twisted the knife a little bit more.

Man Cit y 5 Man United 1
September 23, 1989

Sir Alex Ferguson claimed this was the worst defeat of his career. Under pressure and struggling to make an impact, the Scot's new-look side were dismantled by a rampant, newly-promoted City. David Oldfield scored twice, with Trevor Morley and Ian Bishop also finding the net before Andy Hinchcliffe completed the rout. Mark Hughes was United's scorer.

Man City 2 Man United 3
November 7, 1993

Two-up through a Niall Quinn double, City supporters were in ecstasy at half-time. But Eric Cantona pulled one back straight after the break, then equalised before Roy Keane completed a comeback to remember.

Man United 5 Man City 0
November 10, 1994

United in their pomp and City beginning their slide to near-oblivion. Russian winger Andrei Kanchelskis scored the first derby hat-trick for 24 years after Cantona and Hughes had put United in command.

Man United 4 Man Cit y 3
September 20, 2009

An extraordinary game, settled by Michael Owen in the sixth minute of stoppage-time. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring after two minutes before Gareth Barry capitalised on a Ben Foster mistake to level. Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy each scored twice, with City believing they had earned a share of the spoils – until a Boy's Owen finish in his first start in a United shirt.

Man United 1 Man City 6
October 23, 2011

Mario Balotelli's opener, before revealing that 'Why Always Me' T-shirt, started a rout the like of which had never been seen. The Italian added another, Sergio Aguero put City three up, then, after Darren Fletcher had pulled one back, Edin Dzeko (two, left) and David Silva netted in stoppage-time to condemn United to their

Lee was surrounded by quality in
City's golden era, most notably from his great friend, Mike Summerbee,
and Colin Bell. His own contribution saw him dubbed 'Lee-won-pen'
because of his ability to win and convert penalty-kicks. He would have
relished playing in the current City side, although he has some
interesting advice on how to get the best out of their strikers, who are
well down on last season's huge goals tally.

'I would love to have played with
David Silva,' Lee adds. 'Vincent Kompany is an extremely good player and
the goalkeeper, Joe Hart, is top drawer – in the Peter Schmeichel
class. If you were being pernickety, you might say he could still tidy
up his distribution a bit.

'And I would like to have played up
front with Carlos Tevez or Sergio Aguero. They make life uncomfortable
for defenders but invariably play too close together. I'd like to see
them spread out 20 metres apart, giving defenders nightmares on the
outside and allowing the big feller, Yaya Toure, to bomb through the
gaps in the middle.'

Born and raised in Bolton, Lee was one of the first footballers to break the stereotype that their brains were kept in their boots. He made his first-team debut for his hometown club at 16, thereby putting on hold his training to be a draughtsman.

Encouraged by his father, he pursued an interest in business during his playing days and was rewarded when he sold his toilet-roll manufacturing business, FH Lee, in 1984.

He had not needed the help of an agent to negotiate the contract that made him the best-paid player in England when he joined Derby County in 1976 on wages of 1,000 a week.

The following year he bought the Cheshire home where he still lives, with enough land at the back to run a successful horse-racing stable.

His part in City's history is indelible, and he is proud that he was the chairman at the start of negotiations that would see City leave their Maine Road home for the Commonwealth Games stadium.

'I was at a Premier League meeting and Sir John Hall (Newcastle United's chairman), who was in property, said to me: “You've landed lucky, haven't you”. His information was that Manchester was going to host the Commonwealth Games in the Queen's Golden Jubilee year of 2002, which meant a big, new stadium.

'There was really only going to be one team to go there and it meant City didn't have to spend the same amount as for their own ground. The city council approached us and we worked on that from there.'

The rest, as they say, is history, and at least when Lee walks up to The Etihad today, he will not be worried about another five-goal beating from United.

Lee McCulloch says sorry after Rangers defeat at Stirling

We're so sorry! McCulloch admits there are no excuses as Rangers suffer humbling defeat at Stirling



13:32 GMT, 7 October 2012

Skipper Lee McCulloch has apologised to supporters after Rangers crashed to one of their worst ever results.

The Light Blues travelled to Stirling Albion on Saturday hoping to finally secure an elusive first away win in the Irn-Bru Third Division.

Instead, they suffered their first league defeat of the season against a side who headed into the clash at Forthbank bottom of the table.

Battle: Lee McCulloch tries to win the ball at Stirling on Saturday

Battle: Lee McCulloch tries to win the ball at Stirling on Saturday

Rangers are struggling to adapt to life in Scottish football's bottom tier, especially gruelling matches on the road, and McCulloch conceded their efforts have simply not been acceptable.

He said: 'We owed a result to the fans, who turned up and made it another sell-out. We can only apologise to them.

'We've got a lot of new players, a lot of young players, a couple of foreign players who don't speak English. But that's all excuses, isn't it

'We really need to start picking up points now for the fans as well as ourselves.

Delight: Stirling players celebrate Brian Allison's goal

Delight: Stirling players celebrate Brian Allison's goal

'It's not acceptable so we are going to have to respond to it. We owe it to the fans, we owe it to ourselves, we owe it to the management and we owe it to everyone at the club.

'Drawing away from home at a club like Rangers isn't acceptable and, after getting beaten away from home, hopefully everyone knows now that it can't happen again.'

Brian Allison grabbed the only goal of the game early on to hand victory to a side who had suffered five league defeats in a row.

McCulloch added: 'I wouldn't say we are embarrassed. They worked harder than us and they had one chance and it was a poor goal for us to lose. We are obviously disappointed.

Under pressure: Rangers manager Ally McCoist

Under pressure: Rangers manager Ally McCoist

'We wanted it to be the day that we got the away win that we have been looking for since the start of the season and it hasn't come yet. At half-time and full-time there was anger but there is nothing we can do about it now. It's in the past now.'

When asked if the result piled the pressure on boss Ally McCoist, the captain replied: 'I don't know about that. We wanted to go out and get that result for him and it wasn't to be. All we can do is go into the next game and try to win that game for him.

'He was the same as the boys – just disappointed. I wish we could put our finger on what's actually wrong. I don't think it's attitude. Maybe they just defended a bit better than us so we didn't get three points.'

Stirling 1 Rangers 0: Brian Allison perfect wedding gift to absent Albion boss

Stirling 1 Rangers 0: Allison provides perfect wedding gift to absent Albion boss



17:00 GMT, 6 October 2012

Rangers suffered a shock first defeat in the Irn-Bru Third Division after crashing to bottom side Stirling Albion.

The hosts had lost their last five league outings but picked up their second win of the campaign after Brian Allison grabbed the only goal of the game.

Delight: Stirling Albion's Brian Allison (third left) celebrates scoring the winner

Delight: Stirling Albion's Brian Allison (third left) celebrates scoring the winner

Match facts

Stirling: Filler (Peat 46), McClune, Thom, Allison, McAnespie, Graham Weir, McSorley (Day 59), McCulloch, Ferry, Steven Weir (Flood 88), White. Subs Not Used: McGeachie, Brass.

Booked: McAnespie, Steven Weir, McClune, Thom.

Goals: Allison 9.

Rangers: Alexander, Argyriou (McKay 67), Perry, Emilson Cribari, Wallace, Faure, Black (Naismith 85), Macleod, Aird (Kyle 71), Shiels, McCulloch. Subs Not Used: Gallacher, Crawford.

Booked: Aird, McCulloch.

Att: 3,751

Ref: Bobby Madden (Scotland).

Having struggled on the road so far this season, this was the match which appeared destined to provide Rangers with their elusive first away win in the league.

Ally McCoist's men faced a side rooted to the bottom of the table, whose manager Greig McDonald was absent from the dugout to attend his own wedding, and knowing victory would propel them to the Third Division summit.

They were also boosted by the return from injury of key players Dean Shiels and Ian Black, who both started at Forthbank.

Instead, it was Stirling who surged into the lead after just eight minutes.

Mark Ferry delivered a corner to the back post which dropped for Allison, who took advantage of dreadful defending from Rangers to bundle over the line.

The visitors could have hit back through a set-piece of their own when Black squared a free-kick to Lee McCulloch on the edge of the box and he dragged a low shot just wide of target.

The skipper then rattled the woodwork when he met a Fraser Aird cross from the left only to see his bullet header smack off the inside of the post.

Aird had a go himself with a well-struck shot that fizzed across the face of goal and past the post, before Jordan White failed to add to the home side's tally with a similar effort at the other end.

Tough: Rangers' Dean Shiels goes down under challenge of Stirling Albion's David McLune (right)

Tough: Rangers' Dean Shiels goes down under challenge of Stirling Albion's David McLune (right)

Painful: Rangers' manager Ally McCoist watches on

Painful: Rangers' manager Ally McCoist watches on

Rangers cranked up the pressure with half-time approaching and McCulloch stung the palms of goalkeeper Sam Filler with a powerful free-kick, with an off-target Black also failing to find the leveller just before the break.

The Binos made a change at the interval when Filler was replaced by substitute keeper Mark Peat.

Peat was immediately called into action to produce a decent reflex save to prevent a sidefoot effort from Shiels finding the back of the net.

Marriage vow: Stirling boss Greig McDonald missed the big win... for his own big day

Marriage vow: Stirling boss Greig McDonald missed the big win… for his own big day

Marc McCulloch then did well to hook a header from Sebastien Faure off the line as the Glasgow giants piled forward in search of an equaliser.

Rangers could have had a penalty when Shiels went to ground under pressure from Kieran McAnespie but there was no spot-kick from referee Bobby Madden.

Kevin Kyle was thrown into the action with 20 minutes to go and nodded just over from a Lee Wallace cross, before Steven Weir squandered a great chance for Stirling.

With time fast running out for Rangers, Shiels delivered an inviting ball across goal for Kyle but the big striker failed to connect in front of the gaping goal.

Shiels then stabbed wide in the final minute as Albion held on for the win.

FBI not concerned with London 2012 security

FBI are not worried by London 2012 security, insists NYPD chief



16:41 GMT, 23 May 2012

New York's police chief says he is impressed with security planning for this summer's London Olympics, rejecting suggestions that US officials were concerned about arrangements for the Games.

Commissioner Raymond Kelly said London's police and security planning was far more comprehensive and organised than had been the case for the Atlanta games in 1996, when he was personally involved in a federal government role.

'It seems they really have a handle on just about any contingency that might take place,' Kelly said in London during a trip to meet Olympic security chiefs, senior London police and officials at MI5 domestic security agency.

'We've been universally very much impressed with everything we've seen. As far as I can see they have done an excellent job preparing all of their forces.'

No concerns: Raymond Kelly has dismissed security fears

No concerns: Raymond Kelly has dismissed security fears

Last November, the United States denied that there had been a diplomatic row over the Olympic security planning, following a newspaper claim that 1,000 agents including some 500 from the FBI, would be sent to protect US athletes and officials.

Chris Allison, Britain's national Olympic security coordinator, said the claim was 'rubbish' and that the reported FBI contingent had been grossly exaggerated.

'I think the FBI role is a supportive one. I don't think they're here with specific concerns,' Kelly said, dismissing the idea that the London police needed their assistance.

He added than rather than lecturing the British, his visit had been a learning one.

'We were takers rather than givers, put it that way,' he commented.

Allison and other senior British security figures have said protests and public order issues rather than al-Qaeda and international terrorism were the most likely threats to the Games.

Last year, Britain suffered its worst rioting in decades and there have been high-profile anti-capitalist protests in London, some inspired by New York's Occupy Wall Street moment.

Kelly said he had discussed the riots with his London counterparts and it was an issue that they had factored in, with plans for a rapid mobilisation to deal with any unexpected events.

'Will there be demonstrations, will there be protests of some sort Sure. That's a given in this day and age. It's something that happens in New York and London literally everyday,' Kelly said.

'But the Met is well experienced. They're well prepared to handle it.'

Lotus hopeful of end to chassis problems that led to test debacle

Lotus hopeful of end to problems that led to testing debacle in Barcelona

Lotus technical director James Allison is confident the team have cured the ills that blighted last week's second pre-season test.

The Enstone-based marque were forced to abandon running for the week at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya after just a handful of laps on the opening day of the four-day programme.

Initially explained away as a problem with the chassis, Lotus have now confirmed the specific issue surrounded the mounting of the upper-front wishbone rear arm.

Teething problems: Lotus had to abandon testing in Barcelona

Teething problems: Lotus had to abandon testing in Barcelona

Lotus had planned to fly out from their factory the chassis that had completed significant mileage in the first test in Jerez.

However, further investigations revealed 'a possibility of the same problem reoccurring', according to Allison.

That forced Lotus to pull out of the second test altogether and instead focus on solutions for correcting the problem to ensure the final test that begins in Barcelona on Thursday will hopefully pass without a hitch.

'It's been an intense few days, but I have to say everybody has completed their tasks in tremendous fashion,' Allison told the team's official website.

Technical Director: James Allison of Lotus

Technical Director: James Allison of Lotus

'On the first day back at the factory I spoke to the entire Enstone personnel and clearly explained what happened.

'Everybody understood the situation was unfortunate, but under control.

'We designed the new parts, manufactured them, and fitted them to the chassis. We then completed the necessary tests satisfactorily and the chassis left for Spain.'

Although expressing his confidence regarding the repair, which adds one kilogram onto the chassis, Allison appreciates the time lost last week cannot be regained.

'Of course, missing four days of testing is not ideal,' added Allison. 'We need mileage at this stage of the year, as does any other team. That said, there are reasons to remain optimistic.

'First of all we completed many trouble-free laps in Jerez and gained a good understanding of the car.

'Also, some of the small issues we identified in Jerez needed to be fixed, and the parts were not available last week.

'So tomorrow the car will run with all the required redesigned parts. We're looking forward to being back on track.'

Eleven of the 12 teams will be in Barcelona, with the exception of Marussia, who this week confirmed their absence after failing the last of 18 FIA crash tests which they are to now re-take.

Lotus out of testing in Barcelona

Chassis problems force Lotus out of F1 testing in Barcelona

Lotus team principal Eric Boullier has taken the painful decision of pulling his marque out of the remainder of this week's second Formula One pre-season test in Barcelona.

Running an upgraded chassis from the first test in Jerez earlier this month, Lotus were forced to call an early halt to the first of the four-day session at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Romain Grosjean, who had been quickest of the 2012 cars in Jerez, almost immediately noticed an issue with the car, bringing the curtain down on the team's plans after just seven laps.

Testing times: Lotus have taken the radical decision to leave Jerez

Testing times: Lotus have taken the radical decision to leave Jerez

Lotus swiftly opted to fly out the initial chassis used in Jerez, however have now aborted that idea in order to give them enough time to rectify the situation.

Lotus chiefs have refused to be drawn on the exact nature of the issue, although it is clearly serious given they will now not run for the remaining three days of this week in Barcelona.

Boullier said: 'Not running this week has been a tough decision to take, but we feel our choice is the right one.

'On the positive side, we have quickly identified the issue with the chassis and our design office has already devised a solution.

'We draw faith from the fact the E20 was quick out of the box in Jerez and showed its reliability there.

'We have a lot of work ahead of us over the next week, but everyone at Enstone is ready for this challenge.'

Plus points: The F1 team are taking positives from the developments

Plus points: The F1 team are taking positives from the developments

Boullier has confirmed the team will be on track when the third and final four-day test gets under way in Barcelona from March 1.

Although the car passed all FIA crash tests, mandatory from this season before testing began, today's few laps seemingly highlighted some defect.

Technical director James Allison explained: “Before we were due to fly out chassis E20-01 (used in Jerez) we ran a series of simulations at the factory based on the data provided by our brief running on track today.

'As a result, we were able to identify an area which requires some additional work.

'It will be more productive for us to carry out these modifications to both chassis at Enstone rather than send E20-01 out to this week's test.

'We'll put the right measures in place and we will be able to fix the problem before next week.'

The lack of track time lost this week, however, puts a serious dent in Lotus' preparations, and that of drivers Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen, ahead of the season-opening race in Australia from March 16-18.

London 2012 Olympics: Angels photoshoot

Angels delight: Olympic sextet aim for sky in Sportsmail shoot

The Olympic slogan may be ‘faster, higher, stronger’ but it seems these angelic Olympic hopefuls took that a little too literally.

The sextet dressed up as Christmas angels for Sportsmail’s award-winning photographer Andy Hooper to create this stunning image. No doubt they will all be floating on air again if they win Olympic medals in the summer.

On a wing and a prayer: (from left) Hannah England, Hollie Avil, Jenna Randall, Louise Hazel, Frayje Prentice, and Lizzie Armistead

On a wing and a prayer: (from left) Hannah England, Hollie Avil, Jenna Randall, Louise Hazel, Frayje Prentice, and Lizzie Armistead


Middle-distance runner who won 1500m silver at the World Championships in Daegu this summer — thanks to a stunning final 100m where she gained five places. Former national junior champion over the same distance. Went to 2008 Olympics as a reserve but did not get to compete.

HOLLIE AVIL 21, Triathlete

World and European junior triathlon champion in 2007 and competed at the Beijing Games a year later but suffered from a vomiting bug. She is the youngest athlete to reach the podium at successive debut World Cup races. One of 12 female athletes to pose in lingerie for a 2012 charity calendar.

JENNA RANDALL 23, Synchronised swimmer

In Beijing she and partner Olivia Allison become the first GB synchro swimmers to compete at an Olympics Games since Barcelona in 1992. They placed 14th. Won two silver medals at last year’s Commonwealth Games and silver in women’s solo event at 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Hollie Avil

Hollie Avil

Hannah England

Hannah England

Lizzie Armistead

Lizzie Armistead

LOUISE HAZEL 26, Heptathlete

Won gold in Delhi last year at the Commonwealth Games at her fourth major championships with a personal best of 6,156 points. Made her senior debut in 2006 at the European Championships, lining up in the 100m hurdles and 200m alongside Carolina Kluft.

FRAYJE PRENTICE 21, Modern pentathlete

Won individual bronze and helped Great Britain retain the team gold medal at the Modern Pentathlon Junior World Championships in Argentina last month. Won team gold at the Junior World Championships last year and silver at senior level in 2010.


World champion British track and road-racing cyclist. At the 2009 Track World Championships, in only her second appearance at a senior world event, she won gold in the team pursuit. She has also won Under 23 gold at the British National Road Race championships and silver in the senior category.

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