Campaign for statue of footballer dropped from England squad for being black | Futaa.com Uganda
Campaign for statue of footballer dropped from England squad for being black
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Campaign for statue of footballer dropped from England squad for being black

A campaign has been launched to erect a statue of Jack Leslie dropped by England for reportedly being black. 

Leslie was poised to be the first black man to play for England when in 1925 was called to the national team before being axed after selectors found that he was black.

England would wait for another 53 years before Viv Anderson became the first black footballer to represent the Three Lions in an international match. 

Leslie was born in 1900 in Canning Town, London to an English mother and a Jamaican father. By the time he died, in 1988 at the age of 88, there were many more black players at top levels of the game.

He played Barking Town, where his prolific scoring record attracted the attention of Plymouth Argyle, then a third-division club.

He made 401 appearances for Plymouth scoring 137 goals despite acute racial abuse by both opponents and crowds. 

His scoring prowess did not go unnoticed and in 1925 he was called up to the national team that was due to Ireland but when the final team was named, he had been replaced by Aston Villa's Billy Walker. 

And now a group of supporters led by Greg Foxsmith are running a campaign to have a statue erected to celebrate Leslie's achievements. 

"I'd never heard of Jack Leslie until up to two weeks ago," he told BBC News.

"And that's a crying shame, because what he achieved and what he did should be paramount in every black person's mind.

"It's a crying shame but hopefully the statue they are trying to get erected will carry on his legacy."

Argyle have already honoured Leslie with a mural and renamed their boardroom after him.

The campaign hopes to raise £100,000.