Campaign launched to erect statue of pioneering black Plymouth Argyle player

A fundraising campaign has been launched to erect a statue of a Plymouth Argyle footballer who was chosen to play for England but dropped when selectors discovered he was black.

Jack Leslie was called up to the national team in 1925 but the invitation was subsequently withdrawn.

It would be another 53 years before Viv Anderson became England's first black player.


Leslie was the only professional black player in England when he played for Plymouth Argyle between 1921 and 1934.An attacking inside left, he played 384 games for the Pilgrims.

The campaign hopes to raise £100,000 for the statue outside Home Park.

The Jack Leslie Campaign team's website said: "We not only want to build a statue as a memorial to Jack Leslie, but also use his story to celebrate diversity and combat racism."

Plymouth Argyle manager, Ryan Lowe, speaking after his side were presented with their promotion medlas ,said the campaign had the club’s full backing.

Last month the city council proposed renaming Sir John Hawkins Square after Leslie.

Kelly Greenaway, Leslie's great-great niece, says the family welcomes the campaign.

Jack's great-great nephew, George Connett, says exclusion is "a feeling that is synonymous with everyone in the black community or anyone who is mixed race, that feeling of being left out or not picked".

Plymouth Argyle manager Ryan Lowe speaking today said the campaign had the club’s full backing