Statue for England’s first black footballer reaches fundraising goal
Jack Leslie was called up to the England squad in 1925 but was denied a cap due to his race
The Jack Leslie campaign to raise funds for a statue of England's first black footballer has reached its target of £100,000.
The campaign was founded to raise awareness and recognition of the first black footballer to be called up by England in 1925. Leslie played for Plymouth Argyle throughout his whole career, scoring 133 goals in 384 appearances for the Devon club. His form earned him a reputation as a talented forward and he was subsequently called up to the England squad for a friendly against the Republic of Ireland.
But after FA officials had a closer look at him, in his own words, "not at my football, but at my face," his call-up was withdrawn.
The campaign today reached its target and announced a statue would be made in his memory.
We did it! Thank you!
And now a very short thread about what happens next.
1 The Facebook event tonight is still ON - and will be a party ! Don’t miss out on the live-steam with @joshwiddicombe and other guests - details on our Facebook page or earlier tweets pic.twitter.com/Eg8Tl8HZTa
— JackLeslieCamp (@JackLeslieCamp) August 10, 2020
But they're not stopping there. They have extended the target to £120k to help deliver their aims and objectives including education projects.
A virtual celebration of reaching the target will be held tonight at 8pm on Facebook, with Leslie's granddaughters involved, as well as Plymouth Argyle fan and comedian Josh Widdicombe.
The fundraisers' founders spoke to the first black footballer to play for England, Viv Anderson, who said: "I made my debut in 1978 and I hadn't heard of Jack Leslie. So it's really important that we highlight the people that have gone before me."
"Jack Leslie is a great example of that."