Jack Leslie (English footballer)
|Full name||John Francis Leslie|
|Date of birth||17 August 1901|
|Place of birth||Canning Town, England|
|Date of death||1988 (aged 86–87)|
|Playing position||Inside left|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Born to a Jamaican father in Canning Town, Leslie was the only professional black player in England during his time with Plymouth Argyle. He was set to become the first non-white player to represent England at international level before he was denied the opportunity when selectors were made aware that he was "a man of colour". As a consequence, it wasn't until 1978 that Viv Anderson became the first black player to appear in an England shirt. Leslie enjoyed a 13-year spell with Plymouth Argyle, having joined the club from Barking Town in 1921. A creator and scorer of goals, his partnership with outside left Sammy Black has gone down in history as one of their very best. The duo scored 319 goals between them in all competitions, with Leslie contributing 137 of them. In 1930, The Herald described him as "known throughout England for his skill and complexion."
Life and career
Leslie was born in Canning Town, London, and played for local team, Barking Town, before joining Plymouth Argyle in 1921. Leslie scored over 400 goals in his career, 134 of those for Plymouth in 400 appearances. He retired from football in 1935.
Leslie played at centre-forward and over the next thirteen years he scored 131 goals in 383 games. A call-up to the national team was cancelled when officials realised he was "a man of colour"; his manager, Bob Jack, told him he had been selected to play for England. However, the invitation to play for his country was withdrawn. Leslie told the journalist, Brian Woolnough: "They must have forgot I was a coloured boy". Leslie retired from professional football in 1934.
- Plymouth Argyle
- Football League Third Division South
|Club||Division||Season||League||FA Cup||Club Total||International||Total Games|
- Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records 1888 to 1939. Nottingham: SoccerData. p. 156. ISBN 1-899468-67-6.
- "Jack Leslie". BBC South West. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
- Danes (2009), Complete Record, p. 104.
- "England's Black Players". England Football Online. Retrieved 29 April 2008.
- Knight, Brian (1989). Plymouth Argyle A Complete Record 1903–1989. p. 88. ISBN 0-907969-40-2.