Jack Leslie should have been England’s first black football player.
He was an outstanding footballer – his career beginning at local team Barking Town, before joining Plymouth Argyle in 1921, scoring 137 goals in a long and illustrious career which ended in 1934.
Leslie was named in the England national team to face Ireland in 1925 and was told by his manager that he’d been called up. But after this selection, his name mysteriously disappeared from the team sheet, seemingly because FA officials had come to look at him in person and discovered that he was black.
England’s first black player was instead Viv Anderson, 53 years later.
Viv is also a proud supporter of this campaign.
So, not only was Jack an incredible footballer, but his is also a story of great national and historical significance. It’s also one that sadly still resonates as racist incidents in football and in wider society continue to this day.
The Jack Leslie campaign is aiming:
1. To raise funds for and build a statue of Jack Leslie at Home Park where he played professionally for Plymouth Argyle.
2. To promote and share Jack’s story.
3. To celebrate diversity and combat racism.