Manchester City have unveiled a statue of club greats Mike Summerbee, Colin Bell and Francis Lee outside the Etihad Stadium.

The permanent bronze tribute on the west side of the ground captures the three players in dynamic poses characteristic of their styles of play.

Summerbee, Bell and Lee were the central figures in the City side that won the First Division title in 1968, the FA Cup the following year and both the European Cup Winners’ Cup and League Cup in 1970.

The names of all 29 players who featured during this trophy-winning era are also inscribed on a bronze plate on the statue’s plinth.

It is the latest in a series of tributes the club have made to honour past players, including the commissioning of statues of Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, in recent years.

Summerbee, 80, who scored 67 goals in 449 appearances for City and remains an ambassador for the club, said: “This is a truly special moment for me and my family. I joined Manchester City in 1965 and it is the best decision I could have possibly made.

“Fifty years later I am still here, still treated with such respect. I feel incredibly lucky to be recognised in this way, amongst friends whose contribution to our history this club never forgets, despite the amazing success we have enjoyed in recent years.

“It is an honour to be part of this extraordinary club.”

Lee, who scored 148 goals in 330 appearances for City and later had a spell as chairman at Maine Road, died in October. Bell, who died in 2021, scored 153 goals in 498 City games.

The statue has been sculpted by the British artist David Williams-Ellis and is 4.5 metres high and four metres wide.

City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said: “This statue honours three players who are unquestionably City legends and have deservedly earned a special place in the history of the club and hearts of the whole City family.”

Francis Lee was described as “the life and soul of the game” as football paid its last respects to the former Manchester City and England forward.

The funeral service for Lee, who died on October 2 at the age of 79 following a battle with cancer, was held at Manchester Cathedral on Thursday morning.

Figures from across the sport were in attendance as well as family, friends, associates from other aspects of his varied life and fans.

Lee scored 148 goals in 330 appearances for City between 1967 and 1974, winning the First Division title, the FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Along with Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell, he formed part of a great triumvirate for which the club became renowned.

He also played for hometown side Bolton, earned 27 England caps and ended his career with Derby, where he won another league title in 1975.

Additionally he ran a highly successful toilet roll business and went on to become a prominent racehorse trainer before a spell as City chairman from 1994-98.

In 1974 he scored a stunning goal for Derby against former club City, prompting one of English football’s most memorable lines of commentary from broadcaster Barry Davies.

“Interesting…very interesting!” said Davies as Lee picked up possession and took aim before finding the net and running off to celebrate. “Look at his face, just look at his face!”

Davies was among the mourners to pay tribute on a drizzly morning in Manchester.

“He was a wonderful player, the life and soul of the game,” said Davies. “He was interesting, very interesting!

“He was a character and brought character to the game. When I said, ‘Look at his face’, I had the feeling that he had an expression like a schoolboy who had just scored his first goal for his school team. It was wonderful.”

Others in attendance included Summerbee and Tony Book, the captain of the 1968 title-winning team.

Former Liverpool and Scotland midfielder Graeme Souness was also present, as were former City players Joe Royle, Asa Hartford, Peter Barnes, Alex Williams and Micah Richards.

Tributes were paid at the service that reflected his life at City, his time in the game and in business, and from his family. The address was given by the Ven David Sharples, Archdeacon of Rochdale.

Book, 89, said: “He was a top man. They don’t come any better. He was great in the dressing room, marvellous to be around. It’s very sad.”

Williams, who played in goal for City in the 1980s, spent 33 years in the club’s community department before retiring earlier this year.

He said: “Francis Lee was brilliant. He had Manchester City at heart. He came to us from Bolton and took like a duck to water.

“A brilliant man – he loved the club and supported the club when we needed him.

“We’ve got our neighbours across the city who have their trios and ours was brilliant too – Lee, Bell and Summerbee. They’ll never be forgotten at Manchester City.”

This season's Manchester City side could be remembered as "one of the best teams ever" if they deliver Champions League success in style against Chelsea on Saturday.

City great Francis Lee told Stats Perform he believes Pep Guardiola's men could "hit the jackpot" in Porto.

The club Lee represented between 1967 and 1974 – winning four major honours, including the 1970 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup – have never taken home Europe's top prize.

Indeed, this is City's first Champions League final, becoming the ninth English team to reach this stage.

The gap of 51 years to that Cup Winners' Cup triumph is the biggest ever between European deciders, longer than Sporting CP's barren 41 years between the 1964 Cup Winners' Cup and 2005 UEFA Cup finals.

But victory against domestic rivals Chelsea would complete a City treble following success in the Premier League and EFL Cup.

Lee was asked by Stats Perform how that might compare to rivals Manchester United's three trophies in 1999.

"Well, you can't say that one team is better than any other team," he said. "You can only say in the way they win the game, the style they play the game, and the contribution to all the players in the team.

"And if it's a scrappy 1-0, 2-1 win...

"It just depends. It depends on the day, with the fluidity of the City team. If they hit the jackpot, you could be talking about one of the best teams ever."

Guardiola has lost more games against Chelsea (seven) than any other opponent in his coaching career, including the past two in a row.

Yet the Blues have not won three straight matches against City since a run of eight victories between 2005 and 2009, and Lee is not concerned by their recent meetings.

"It's going to be difficult but I think it'll be a different result," he said.

"I think that we played Chelsea before [these two games] and have always done pretty well against them.

"It's been the last two games, and there was nothing in it anyway; it was here and there.

"And if you have a City squad, a full squad, bubbling and ready to go, they're going to be very, very difficult to beat."

Manchester City great Francis Lee said a move for Harry Kane would be "very difficult" as he questioned whether the England captain would be a long-term option.

Kane has given his strongest indication yet that he wants to leave Tottenham at the end of the season, stating his desire to play for a trophy-winning side.

Premier League champions City would fit that bill, while Kane has also been linked with the likes of Chelsea and neighbours Manchester United.

Kane, who will turn 28 in July, is level with Mohamed Salah at the top of the Premier League scoring charts heading into the final weekend of the season.

That suggests he remains in the very top bracket of Europe's top strikers, but Lee needs convincing that Kane would be capable of being a force for City for longer than a handful of seasons.

"There's three or four players who would suit us down to the ground and another three or four others who could slot into the team and probably be a sensation as well," Lee told Stats Perform.

He pointed to reports linking 20-year-old Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish with City, before adding Kane's name to the list of possible candidates for a close-season move.

"It'd be very difficult for Harry Kane to move to Manchester City because it would be big money for ... not a short period but maybe two or three years, something like that," Lee said.

Lee, who starred as a City forward from 1967 to 1974 and had a spell as the club's chairman from 1994 to 1998, knows there are plenty of prolific strikers who could potentially step into the City squad and replace Sergio Aguero, the record scorer who will leave on a free transfer at the end of this campaign.

Whether they are the right age and have the right qualities is a question for City manager Pep Guardiola, with Lee suggesting Romelu Lukaku, the 28-year-old former Manchester United and Everton forward, now at Inter, may have what it takes.

"There's a lot of players, there's quite a few players who would fit the bill," Lee said.

"Lukaku would fit the bill. But he didn't fit the bill when he played in the Premier League before. With Pep, a lot of it is attitude. If your attitude is right, and your training is right, and your fitness is right, everything is going on within the Pep plan, you get there."

Since Kane became a Tottenham regular in the 2014-15 season, he has scored 162 goals in 230 Premier League games, with Aguero managing 130 in 187 appearances over the same period.

Kane has managed a marginally better conversion rate when presented with what Opta defines as 'big chances', scoring from 54.77 per cent of such openings, compared to 51.48 per cent by Argentine frontman Aguero.

Aguero's minutes-per-goal record is better though, with one every 105.78 minutes to Kane's one every 120.83 minutes.

But ostensibly, they are well matched, in both being highly prolific. Their total shot conversion rate over the last seven league seasons is almost identical, with Kane netting 18.39 per cent of his efforts on goal and Aguero sticking away 18.34 per cent of his attempts.

That suggests it would be a near like-for-like replacement operation if Kane – five years younger than Aguero – came in from Spurs.

Lee is certain that City must replace Aguero. Although they have had success without him in their starting XI lately, and when deploying a 'false nine' system, Lee, 77, has no doubt Guardiola has to bring in a recognised goal-getter.

Lee said: "I think with the retirement of Sergio, that we definitely need one big striker. I'm not talking in size, I'm talking in reputation and ability. But who could it be? Because if you can't play in this team, you can't play in any team."

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