Francis Lee, the beloved former Manchester City and England striker, left an indelible mark not only in the world of football but also in the realm of business. As we reflect on his remarkable life, we explore how Francis Lee ventured beyond the football pitch and ventured into the world of entrepreneurship, ultimately becoming a successful toilet paper tycoon.
From Football Stardom to Business Brilliance
Francis Lee’s legacy in football is undeniable. He graced the pitch as a prolific striker for Manchester City and proudly represented England on the international stage. However, his journey didn’t end with football; it was just the beginning of a multifaceted career.
In 1976, after retiring from professional football, Francis Lee made a strategic move into the world of business. He established FH Lee Ltd, a company initially specializing in waste paper recycling and haulage. Over time, the company expanded its operations to include essential household items like toilet paper, kitchen roll, foil, and cling film.
The Toilet Paper Venture: A Lucrative Endeavor
One of Francis Lee’s most notable business ventures was his foray into the production of toilet paper. Under his astute leadership, FH Lee Ltd thrived in the consumer goods industry. The Evening Standard reported that Francis Lee’s company achieved remarkable success, eventually making £6 million in profits.
In 1984, Francis Lee made a significant decision to sell FH Lee Ltd, a move that brought him substantial financial gains. The company was sold for a staggering £8.35 million, a testament to his business acumen and knack for identifying lucrative opportunities.
Beyond Business: Francis Lee’s Impact on Football and Charity
Francis Lee’s journey extended beyond business success. In 1994, he made headlines by purchasing Manchester City, a club he had previously served as a player and chairman. His return was initially met with enthusiasm from the club’s devoted fans.
While his tenure as chairman saw its share of challenges, Francis Lee remained an integral figure in Manchester City’s history. Even after resigning in 1998, he retained shares in the club and continued to be a presence at games until eventually selling them to Thaksin Shinawatra in 2007.
In recognition of his significant contributions, Francis Lee was honored with a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2016. This prestigious award acknowledged his dedication to football and charity, highlighting his impact on both sports and community endeavors.
A Remarkable Journey from Lancashire to Football Stardom
Francis Lee’s incredible life journey began in Westhoughton, Lancashire. Born into a family with a background in cotton mill management, he attended Horwich Technical School. His passion for sports was evident not only on the football pitch but also in his keen interest in cricket.
As we remember Francis Lee, we celebrate his diverse achievements, from his football stardom to his successful business ventures. His legacy continues to inspire, serving as a testament to the remarkable opportunities that can arise when one combines talent, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit.