ROY McFARLAND remembers Franny Lee's fight with Norman Hunter in 1975

Franny Lee yelled: ‘Get out my way Roy, I’m going to kill that b****** Hunter!’: ROY McFARLAND remembers his former Derby team-mate’s infamous fight with Leeds legend Norman Hunter in 1975

  • Lee passed away on Monday at the age of 79 following a long battle with cancer
  • He had an infamous fight with Hunter while at Derby, remembered by McFarland
  • Click HERE to listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ 

It was the punch-up that shamed football, and it was by no means over when Francis Lee and Norman Hunter finally made their way off the pitch at the Baseball Ground.

I’m sure everyone remembers how Norman connected with a right hook, a flashpoint that led to both players being sent off, and Franny desperately tried to land a blow of his own in a flurry of flailing arms near the touchline.

With Derby physio Gordon Guthrie grabbing Franny and frogmarching him away, and Leeds trainer Les Cocker doing the same to Norman, that appeared to be that.

Believe me, it wasn’t. Injured and confined to the bench, I was dispatched to act as peacemaker by manager Dave Mackay. Cheers, Dave.

It was like putting my life on the line, getting between the pair of them in the tunnel, such were the threats flying back and forth.

Franny Lee had an infamous fight with Leeds United legend Norman Hunter on the pitch back in 1975

Hunter connected with a punch and Lee tried to strike back with both players sent off in the game as the Baseball Ground

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Franny was absolutely raging, as he tried to wriggle free of Gordon’s grip and shouted over my shoulder what he was going to do to Norman. Norman, being Norman, gave him a cold stare back and snarled: ‘I’m looking forward to it.’

Finally, Gordon and I managed to grapple Franny into the treatment room, where our club doctor George Cochrane was waiting, with needle and thread, to repair the damage to his fat lip.

Fat chance, doc. The red mist had well and truly descended, and Franny was almost out of control.

There was a demented look in his eye that sent a shudder through me. Seething with anger, he was breathing heavily and irregularly, like a man possessed, and I just thought: ‘We’re going to have our work cut out here.’

Sure enough, despite our best efforts to calm him with a few soothing words of sympathy, he suddenly leapt off the table, hurled Guthrie against a wall and sent Dr Cochrane flying.

Fortunately, I was guarding the door, but I still needed my wits about me to stop him getting past. The consequences of Franny escaping that room and finding Hunter didn’t bear thinking about, so I resolved to stand firm.

Eyes still blazing, he fixed me with a look and yelled: ‘Get out of my way, Roy — I’m going to kill that b****** Hunter.’ I returned the look, and replied, ‘You’re going to have to knock me spark out first, Franny, because I’m not shifting.’

Lee said he would go back for more and Hunter challenged him to, with both players still raging after the fight

That exchange was enough for Gordon to pick himself up and wrap our wild-eyed striker in another bear-hug. This time, there was no resistance. The fire had burnt itself out, and Franny’s breathing gradually returned to normal.

So, too, did Dr Cochrane’s pulse. Shaken by such an eruption of violence, he pulled himself together, took a deep breath and said: ‘Francis, I have to stitch that lip.’ The doc’s handiwork didn’t deter Franny from venturing into the players’ lounge after, with me designated as his minder.

When Norman wandered in, Franny tensed and growled: ‘Roy, go and tell Hunter to get out of my sight, or I’ll come over and sort him out.’

Lee passed away on Monday at the age of 79 and will be fondly remembered as one of England’s top division’s best

Roy McFarland (pictured) remembers having to play bodyguard with Lee still hot-headed long after receiving his marching orders

As inconspicuously as possible, and in terms that could not have been chosen more carefully, I sidled up to the Leeds hard man and warned him Franny was still on the warpath.

It came as no surprise that the reply was a sneering: ‘We’re only stopping for a quick one, but make sure Lee gets the message — he doesn’t frighten me.’

Another 10 minutes — every one of them resembling an eternity — and the Leeds players filed out for the journey home. I could breathe again, order myself a drink and reflect on how, in between hostilities, we had beaten the mighty Leeds 3-2.

This article was first published in Mail Sport in 2014 and is taken from McFarland’s autobiography, Roy Mac: Clough’s Champion


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