Francis Lee was described as “the life and soul of the game” as football paid its last respects to the legendary Bolton 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.

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

The Bolton News: Bolton Wanderers' 1966 team.Front second from left Francis Lee (Image: Newsquest)

The Westhoughton-born forward kicked off a prestigious football career with the Whites before going on to forge a glittering career with Manchester City, Derby County and England.

Francis Henry Lee was born on April 29, 1944, and went to Westhoughton Boys Secondary Modern, and later to Horwich Technical College.

Gifted, tenacious and charismatic, Lee became the youngest player ever to score on his Bolton debut when he netted against Manchester City in November 1960.

The Bolton News: Gill Lee (left)Gill Lee (left)

Also on the scoresheet in the 3-1 win was Nat Lofthouse, and Lee would eventually succeed the great Lion of Vienna, topping the club's scoring charts in 1962/3 and 1963/4 and again after relegation in 1965/6 and 1966/7.

In total, he notched 106 goals in 210 appearances in all competitions and still stands 11th in the club's all-time goalscoring list – and though his move to City for a then-record £60,000 was viewed as controversial at the time, following a number of transfer requests, he remains one of Bolton’s most successful homegrown players.

He 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.

The Bolton News: The coffin of former Manchester City player and chairman Francis Lee in a hearse ahead of his funeral service at Manchester Cathedral. Francis Lee died earlier this month following a long battle against cancer. He scored 148 goals in 330 appearances for

“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 Manchester City legend Mike 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 time in the game and in business, and from his family.

The address was given by the Ven David Sharples, Archdeacon of Rochdale.

The Bolton News: Tributes pour in for Bolton Wanderers legend Francis LeeBolton boss Bill Ridding greeted 16-years-old Francis Lee when he arrived at Burnden Park in 1960. <i>(Image: Newsquest)

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."