Jack Leslie: Plymouth Argyle

Jack Leslie: Plymouth Argyle

John (Jack) Leslie nasceu em Canning Town, Londres, em 17 de agosto de 1901. Ele jogou pelo time local, Barking Town, antes de ingressar no Plymouth Argyle em 1921.

Leslie foi um dos primeiros jogadores não brancos a jogar futebol profissionalmente. Outros incluíram Arthur Wharton, Walter Tull, Fred Corbett e Hassan Hegazi.

Leslie jogou como ponta-de-lança e ao longo dos treze anos seguintes marcou 131 golos em 383 jogos. Em uma ocasião, seu empresário, Bob Jack, disse que ele havia sido escolhido para jogar pela Inglaterra. No entanto, o convite para jogar pelo seu país foi retirado. Leslie disse ao jornalista Brian Woolnough: "Eles devem ter esquecido que eu era um garoto de cor."

Leslie aposentou-se do futebol profissional em 1934. Mais tarde, trabalhou como membro da equipe de bastidores de seu clube local, o West Ham United.

Jack Leslie morreu em 1988.


É um privilégio absoluto para todos nós em Home Park nomearmos a Boardroom no novo Mayflower Grandstand em homenagem ao grande Jack Leslie.

Um pioneiro do futebol e um jogador para sempre consagrado nos livros dos recordes de Argyle, Jack Leslie passou toda a sua carreira como peregrino. Estamos agora procurando membros de sua família para nos ajudar a prestar mais homenagem a este grande homem.

Jack faleceu há 30 anos e passou sua aposentadoria em Londres, trabalhando por muitos anos nos bastidores do West Ham United.

Se alguém souber de quaisquer detalhes de contato da família Jack & rsquos, gostaríamos de convidá-los para a nova Jack Leslie Boardroom em Home Park para desfrutar de um jogo de primeira equipe no conforto da Boardroom nomeada em sua homenagem.

Por favor, envie quaisquer detalhes ao nosso chefe de comunicações Rick Cowdery em [email protected]

Nascido de pai jamaicano em 1901, Leslie cresceu em Canning Town, Londres. Ele assinou com o Argyle vindo de Barking Town em 1921 e, na época, era um dos poucos jogadores negros jogando na Inglaterra durante seu tempo como peregrino.

Em suas primeiras temporadas em Green, ele lutou para segurar uma vaga na lateral. A chegada de Sammy Black, junto com uma mudança de posição & ndash de centro-avançado para dentro-esquerdo & ndash viu uma melhora drástica em suas performances, e um vínculo formidável foi formado imediatamente entre ele e Sammy.

Em 1922, as exibições de Leslie & rsquos no lado esquerdo do ataque Argyle começaram a levantar sobrancelhas, tanto que ele estava à margem de uma convocação internacional pela Inglaterra. Ele permaneceu sempre atraente e foi finalmente recompensado por sua forma, ou assim ele pensava.

Leslie foi informado por seu empresário do Argyle, Bob Jack, que ele havia sido escolhido para jogar pela Inglaterra, lembrando mais tarde como ele foi "bloqueado para o lado" ao ouvir as boas notícias.

No entanto, ele posteriormente recebeu uma comunicação cancelando sua convocação e, quando o elenco foi formalmente anunciado, Billy Walker, do Aston Villa, assumiu seu lugar. Jack nunca mais teve a chance de jogar por seu país.

Anos depois do incidente, quando ele fazia parte da equipe de bastidores do West Ham United & ndash sua equipe local & ndash Leslie afirmou que: & ldquoEles [a hierarquia de seleção] devem ter esquecido que eu era um garoto de cor & rdquo como o motivo pelo qual ele foi dispensado.

Ele disse: & ldquoEu ouvi, por assim dizer, que a FA tinha vindo para me dar uma outra olhada. Não para mim, futebol, mas para meu rosto. Eles perguntaram e descobriram que eles haviam feito um ricket. Descobri sobre mim papai, e foi isso.

& ldquo; Houve um certo alvoroço nos jornais. O pessoal da cidade ficou muito chateado. Ninguém nunca me disse oficialmente como, mas essa tinha que ser a razão pela qual minha mãe era inglesa, mas meu pai era negro como o Ás de Espadas. Não havia nenhum outro motivo para tirar meu boné. & Rdquo

Leslie deveria ter sido o primeiro jogador negro a jogar pela Inglaterra, a Inglaterra teve que esperar mais de 50 anos para ver o primeiro jogador negro representar seu país & ndash Nottingham Forest & rsquos Viv Anderson contra a Tchecoslováquia em um amistoso em Wembley em 1978.

Nos 41 anos desde então, 91 jogadores do BAME representaram a Inglaterra.

Simon disse: & ldquoUm dos valores do clube & rsquos é o respeito, o que significa que faremos o possível para erradicar a discriminação por qualquer motivo.

“Discriminação com base na raça é algo que está no meu coração e no coração de minha esposa e algo que meus filhos têm tentado lutar ativamente.

"Então, eu acho que é importante que o Argyle, como um clube movido por valores, demonstre que estamos comprometidos em erradicar o racismo e esse compromisso começa no topo, portanto, nomear a sala de reuniões & ndash onde estão as grandes decisões na Argyle
tirada & ndash após Jack Leslie. & rdquo

JACK LESLIE

Plymouth Argyle 1921-1934. 401 jogos. 137 gols. Pioneiro


Nenhum jogador negro para a Inglaterra

Leslie provou ser um artilheiro, detendo o recorde de mais gols marcados na liga (35) entre 1927 e 1929, mas isso ainda não foi suficiente para os dirigentes que acreditavam que ele não estava em condições de ingressar no estimado time nacional.

& # 8220Eles descobriram que eu era um moreno e suponho que foi como descobrir que sou estrangeiro. & # 8221

Isso destruiu os sonhos de Leslie & # 8217s de uma carreira internacional.

Ele fez um comentário famoso com o colega de equipe do Pilgrims e mais tarde jornalista Brian Woolnough,

& # 8220Eles devem ter esquecido que eu era um garoto de cor. & # 8221

Jack Leslie se aposentou em 1934, mais tarde ele foi trabalhar para seu clube local, o West Ham United, como parte de sua equipe de bastidores.


ARTIGOS RELACIONADOS

O presidente do Conselho Nacional de Chefes de Polícia, Martin Hewitt, disse anteriormente que mais de 130 policiais foram "feridos de uma forma ou de outra" nas manifestações.

Cerca de 137 pessoas foram presas, enquanto outras foram multadas por violações das regras de bloqueio da Covid-19.

As forças policiais em Avon e Somerset foram criticadas por não conseguirem evitar que os manifestantes derrubassem a estátua de Edward Colston em Bristol. A secretária do Interior, Priti Patel, disse ter tido uma conversa 'firme' com os chefes de polícia da área.

Leslie, à esquerda, que jogou pelo Plymouth Argyle de 1922 a 1934, foi definido para se tornar o primeiro jogador negro a representar a Inglaterra até que os selecionadores foram informados de que ele era negro

Um ponto de informação é visto próximo a uma placa de rua vazia na antiga Sir John Hawkins Square. A placa foi removida após protestos contra a morte de George Floyd

Desde a remoção de Colston, tem havido apelos para que as autoridades locais intervenham e determinem se monumentos de figuras históricas devem ser removidos com base em antecedentes questionáveis ​​relacionados à era colonial.

O chefe de polícia de Essex, Ben-Julian Harrington, disse que as forças policiais estão apoiando os conselhos para avaliar se uma estátua deve ser removida, em uma tentativa de evitar cenas como as de Bristol.

A morte de Floyd nas mãos da polícia de Minneapolis causou vários protestos nos Estados Unidos, no Reino Unido e em todo o mundo.

O site Topple The Racists mencionou 78 estátuas e monumentos que 'celebram a escravidão e o racismo'.

Uma placa diz que Hawkins foi um 'jogador-chave no início do comércio de escravos africano' e diz que é 'importante reconhecer' que, agora, suas 'ações seriam controversas'

Em 9 de junho, trabalhadores derrubaram uma estátua do comerciante de escravos do século 18, Robert Milligan, de seu local no West India Quay, nas docas de Londres.

Naquele mesmo dia, mais de 1.000 manifestantes em Oxford exigiram a remoção de uma estátua do colonialista Cecil Rhodes, um imperialista que forneceu apoio filantrópico ao Oriel College na Universidade de Oxford, onde fica o monumento.

O conselho administrativo da faculdade decidiu agora que quer remover a estátua, junto com a placa da King Edward Street, mas uma comissão independente para a estátua será criada antes que qualquer ação seja tomada.

Huw Thomas, líder do Conselho de Cardiff, apoiou a remoção de uma estátua de Sir Thomas Picton, um proprietário de escravos e líder militar. Ele descreveu o monumento ao ex-governador de Trinidad como uma "afronta" aos negros.

O líder do conselho de Edimburgo, Adam McVey, disse que não sentiria "nenhuma sensação de perda" se uma estátua de Henry Dundas, que atrasou a abolição da escravidão, fosse removida.

Quem foi Sir John Hawkins?

Sir John Hawkins foi um administrador e comandante naval inglês e o arquiteto-chefe da marinha elizabetana.

Nascido em 1532 em Plymouth, ele era um comerciante do comércio africano antes de se tornar o primeiro comerciante de escravos inglês.

Ele gerou conflito com os espanhóis ao transportar escravos da Guiné, na África Ocidental, para as Índias Ocidentais espanholas.

Em uma viagem, ele foi forçado a buscar abrigo perto de Veracruz, no México, e foi atacado por uma frota espanhola no porto, mas conseguiu escapar.

Ele notificou o governo de uma conspiração dos católicos romanos ingleses, com a ajuda da Espanha, para depor a rainha Elizabeth e colocar Maria Stuart, rainha dos escoceses, no trono.

Ele assumiu o cargo de seu sogro como tesoureiro da Marinha em 1577 e participou da concepção dos navios que foram usados ​​para lutar contra a Armada Espanhola em 1588, durante o qual ele foi o terceiro no comando.

Quem foi Jack Leslie?

Jack Leslie foi o único jogador profissional negro na Inglaterra entre 1921 e 1934 enquanto jogava pelo Plymouth Argyle.

Ele formou uma parceria lendária com o jogador esquerdo externo Sammy Black.

Leslie estava prestes a se tornar o primeiro jogador não-branco a representar a Inglaterra, até que os selecionadores foram informados de que ele era negro.

Bob Jack, seu gerente, disse que ele havia sido selecionado, mas o convite foi removido posteriormente.

Na época, ele disse a um jornalista: 'Eles devem ter esquecido que eu era um garoto de cor.'

Nascido em 1901 em Canning Town, Londres, ele jogou pelo Barking Town antes de ingressar no Argyle, jogando como atacante.

Leslie marcou 137 gols pelo Argyle em 401 jogos - o quarto maior artilheiro de todos os tempos pelo clube.

Ele se aposentou do futebol profissional em 1934 e mais tarde tornou-se boot-boy de um clube de sua área, o West Ham United, e faleceu em 1988.


Plymouth square será renomeada após o pioneiro jogador negro Argyle

Uma praça em Plymouth com o nome de um traficante de escravos será renomeada em homenagem a um jogador de futebol negro pioneiro que jogou pelo Plymouth Argyle.

O conselho municipal propôs renomear Sir John Hawkins Square após Jack Leslie.

Ele foi o único jogador negro profissional na Inglaterra quando jogou pelo clube entre 1921 e 1934.

Acredita-se que Jack foi definido para se tornar o primeiro jogador negro a representar a Inglaterra, mas foi negada a oportunidade quando os selecionadores foram informados de que ele era um "homem de cor".

Foi só no final dos anos 1970 que o primeiro jogador negro apareceu com uma camisa da Inglaterra.

Jack foi o único jogador negro profissional na Inglaterra quando jogou pelo clube entre 1921 e 1934, tendo marcado mais de 137 gols pelo Argyle em 401 jogos.

Ele continua sendo o Pilgrims & # x27 o quarto maior artilheiro de todos os tempos.

gols marcados por Jack Leslie para o Plymouth Argyle

O conselho concordou em mudar o nome do traficante de escravos elisabetano Sir John Hawkins depois que uma petição foi criada para “ajudar Plymouth a se tornar uma cidade que defende a igualdade e a compaixão”.

O líder do conselho municipal de Plymouth, Tudor Evans, diz que a autoridade "ouviu aqueles que encontraram a ofensiva de Hawkins com o nome relativamente recente da praça e estão mudando-a."

Recebemos uma série de novos nomes em potencial e achamos que nomear o quadrado com o nome de Jack Leslie seria muito apropriado, dado seu papel pioneiro como jogador negro no futebol inglês.

De acordo com o conselheiro Evans, a autoridade "não está procurando reescrever a história e não estamos dizendo que devemos esquecer Hawkins".

“Ele foi sem dúvida uma figura importante em nossa história nacional. Podemos lembrar e reconhecer isso de uma forma que conta uma história mais completa sobre sua vida e não o comemora de uma forma que o ofende. & Quot

Ele diz que um relato da vida e atos de Hawkins & # x27 será dado no novo Centro de Artes da cidade.

O conselheiro Chris Penberthy, membro do Gabinete de Desenvolvimento Habitacional e Cooperativo e conselheiro de St Peter and the Waterfront Ward, diz que nomear a praça com o nome de Jack Leslie & quot seria uma maneira maravilhosa de reconhecer o grande papel que ele tem não apenas na herança de Argyle de Plymouth, mas também no futebol nacional & quot.

Como único jogador profissional negro na época, ele foi um pioneiro. Infelizmente, ele também teve que lidar com a discriminação, o que significa que foi negada a oportunidade de representar seu país.


Você pode ler mais artigos este mês

A campanha FAN-DRIVEN arrecadou mais de £ 100.000 em apenas seis semanas, para financiar a construção de uma estátua fora de Home Park em Plymouth para homenagear o primeiro jogador de futebol negro escolhido para jogar pela Inglaterra.

Em dezembro passado, o Morning Star publicou um artigo celebrando a vida do esquecido atacante do Plymouth Argyle, Jack Leslie, que foi escolhido para jogar na seleção da Inglaterra contra a Irlanda em outubro de 1925, apenas para ter sua vaga revogada quando o comitê de seleção internacional da FA percebeu que Leslie , filho de um operário de gás jamaicano, era negro.

Matt Tiller, músico, comediante, escritor e produtor de comédias para a televisão, iniciou a campanha para homenagear Leslie ao lado de seu colega fã de Plymouth, Greg Foxsmith.

Tiller admitiu que “quando ouvi a história de Jack no ano passado, fiquei com vergonha de não conhecer esse pedaço incrível da história do futebol e depois comecei a escrever uma música que minha pequena, mas leal base de fãs parece adorar. Isso inclui Greg Foxsmith, também fã do Plymouth Argyle, e juntos decidimos celebrar as conquistas desse jogador pioneiro e arrecadar fundos para construir uma estátua. ”

Tiller e Foxsmith lançaram uma campanha crowdfunder em 1º de julho, gerando inicialmente grande publicidade em todo o país.

“Ambos executamos projetos”, explicou Tiller. “Greg é um ativista e advogado bastante experiente. Meu trabalho diário? Eu sou um produtor de TV. Não sabíamos realmente o que estávamos fazendo até começarmos, mas apenas seguimos em frente. ”

MPs como Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas e Emily Thornberry apoiaram os esforços de arrecadação de fundos da dupla em suas contas de mídia social, bem como celebridades como Arabella Weir, Josh Widdicombe e Gary Lineker.

Obras de arte doadas e camisetas autografadas foram leiloadas e Tiller, que ganhou aclamação da crítica no Festival Fringe de Edimburgo, até lançou um single "The Ballad of Jack Leslie", uma canção folclórica moderna que conta a história da carreira de Leslie, para ajudar a aumentar fundos.

“Tem sido um esforço cumulativo”, disse ele, “com mais e mais pessoas a bordo. Celebridades com grandes seguidores no Twitter ajudaram massivamente, você vê isso nas doações.

“No início, ter o apoio de Plymouth Argyle foi muito importante, realmente galvanizou o‘ Exército Verde ’e todas as organizações em torno dele - fundos de confiança de fãs e fóruns na Internet. Muitas organizações se reuniram para arrecadar fundos ou doar grandes quantias. Além disso, o financiamento do Conselho de Plymouth foi muito grande.

“O que tem sido realmente impressionante com a cobertura nacional é que a história ressoou além de Plymouth, o que é fantástico. Recebemos o apoio de pessoas que não são fãs de futebol, pessoas de clubes diferentes, não apenas daqueles aos quais ele estava associado, mas também de outros lugares. É brilhante ver isso.

“Uma das coisas boas da campanha é ver as memórias de Jack que aparecem. Você vê mensagens no crowdfunder, como: "Estou postando isso em nome do meu avô na casa dos 90 anos, que se lembra de Jack como um grande jogador."

“O presidente do Barking FC escreveu uma mensagem nas redes sociais dizendo:“ Meu falecido pai me disse que Jack foi o melhor jogador que ele já viu jogar pelo Barking em seus mais de 60 anos assistindo ao Blues. 'A positividade tem sido incrível . ”

A campanha também teve o apoio da FA, mas eles pararam de se desculpar por se recusarem a jogar contra Leslie em 1925.

O presidente da FA, Greg Dyke, disse: “Histórias como esta são incrivelmente tristes. A discriminação no jogo, em qualquer forma ou período de tempo, é inaceitável.

“Devemos sempre lembrar de pioneiros como Jack Leslie e ser gratos pelo futebol estar em um lugar muito diferente hoje. Estamos muito satisfeitos em apoiar esta campanha que, esperamos, garantirá que a carreira de Jack seja devidamente reconhecida. ”

Antes de morrer em 1988, Leslie acabou trabalhando em Upton Park por 15 anos, limpando as chuteiras de jogadores do West Ham United que não perceberam suas façanhas de gols anteriores.

Apoiando a campanha, Sir Trevor Brooking disse: “O incrível é que nenhum de nós - eu, Geoff Hurst ou Bobby Moore incluído - sabia que ele era um jogador! Jack nunca mencionou que ele era humilde.

“Fiquei surpreso quando li sobre a campanha e ouvi sobre a história de Jack no jogo. Eu só queria que ele tivesse nos contado na época, mas era Jack e eu estou muito feliz em apoiar a campanha para que uma estátua seja erguida em Home Park em sua homenagem. ”

O ex-jogador de futebol Clyde Best, que jogou pelo West Ham por sete temporadas desde 1969, também não sabia que Leslie havia jogado profissionalmente e sofrido o mesmo preconceito que enfrentava, mas 45 anos antes.

“Nós o chamávamos de Tio Jack e íamos buscar nossas botas com ele quando viajávamos ou o trazíamos depois de um jogo em casa e ele cuidava de tudo para nós.

“Na época em que joguei foi difícil, mas descobrir o que Jack teve que passar, tenho certeza que foi muito mais difícil. Ele estaria sozinho, assim como eu estava sozinho e isso torna você uma pessoa diferente quando você tem que enfrentar isso. Estou muito feliz que as pessoas se uniram para obter algo que ele merece ricamente, uma estátua. ”

É provável que a estátua de bronze de Jack Leslie fique perto do Mayflower Grandstand of Home Park. Tiller, que planeja usar todos os fundos excedentes arrecadados do crowdfunder para financiar o trabalho educacional em torno do projeto, espera que "haja mais por vir além da campanha".

A neta de Leslie, Lyn Davies, disse: “Estamos muito satisfeitos que a história de Jack esteja finalmente recebendo a atenção que merece e a música de Matt sobre o avô é maravilhosa. Isso me fez chorar pensando nele, na injustiça que aconteceu, mas também em como ele agiu com tanta graça e humildade. ”


Campanha Jack Leslie: & # 8220Tempo para que os apoiadores saibam seu nome & # 8221

Enquanto os debates grassam em torno da estatuária do país & # 8217, os fãs de Plymouth Argyle estão lutando para que um de seus maiores jogadores seja homenageado. Aqui, Matt Tiller nos fala sobre a campanha Jack Leslie, um movimento para fazer com que um jogador negro pioneiro seja reconhecido em Home Park & ​​# 8230

Saber a história de Jack Leslie apenas no ano passado foi um choque para o sistema. Por que eu não sabia? Como um jovem torcedor do Plymouth Argyle nos anos 80, eu só estava interessado em Tommy Tynan e nos heróis da FA Cup de 1984 e # 8211, um time da terceira divisão, que fizemos as semifinais em que perdemos para o Watford.

O passado distante do clube simplesmente não passou pela minha cabeça. É todas as nossas responsabilidades reconhecer as falhas do passado para nos ajudar a resolver o problema do presente.

De deixar de contextualizar figuras do passado que são comemoradas em bronze a incidentes de racismo no esporte profissional agora, este não é o momento de nos darmos tapinhas nas costas por quão longe chegamos. O racismo ainda está aqui. Basta perguntar a Ian Wright. Basta perguntar a qualquer pessoa de cor, dentro ou fora do mundo do futebol. Basta assistir ao noticiário.

Mas que história de Jack é e que jogador vale a pena lembrar e celebrar. Sua equipe Argyle fez uma turnê pela América do Sul em 1924, vencendo a Argentina e o Uruguai. Jack os ajudou a ganhar a promoção em 1930 e # 8211 como capitão do time em seus anos finais.

Sua reputação como artilheiro e criador se espalhou por todos os lados, levando à convocação da Inglaterra. Claro, nós, da campanha, não queremos apenas esse erro histórico corrigido, mas também queremos que as pessoas entendam a relevância da história para os problemas de hoje. Porque é apenas por meio da educação e empatia que podemos erradicar um preconceito que amargamente se agarra.

Retrato de Jack Leslie © Creative Commons, Wikipedia

Em 1925, tenho certeza de que não foi nenhuma surpresa para Jack que ele nunca tenha conquistado a internacionalização pela Inglaterra. Quando Viv Anderson foi finalmente selecionado em 1978, Jack foi entrevistado sobre sua história e disse que sentiu que era apenas uma daquelas coisas. Em suas palavras: “Eles descobriram que eu era um moreno e suponho que foi como descobrir que sou estrangeiro.”

Então, como sabemos que Leslie deveria ter sido o primeiro jogador negro de futebol da Inglaterra? Há o próprio testemunho de Jack de ser chamado ao escritório de seu gerente para saber que ele havia sido escolhido para a Inglaterra no jogo contra a Irlanda e como a notícia foi o assunto de Plymouth. Não vejo razão para não acreditar nele.

E há evidências de arquivo da seleção que foi posteriormente rescindida. Um artigo de imprensa no Nottingham Journal em 6 de outubro de 1925 nomeia Leslie naquela equipe da Inglaterra. E sobre sua misteriosa desmarcação, um repórter local escreveu: “Infelizmente, minha caneta está proibida neste assunto: mas posso dizer que um erro foi cometido em Londres e transmitido a mim. De qualquer forma, Leslie estava jogando bem o suficiente para ser escolhido ”.

Como e por que esse "deslize" da FA ocorreu ainda é um mistério e eu adoraria saber mais.

Parece incompreensível que o comitê de seleção não soubesse que ele era negro, já que ele jogou profissionalmente por vários anos e sua aparência foi frequentemente comentada. Portanto, deve ter havido um ou mais selecionadores de FA que decidiram colocar Jack na equipe. Por que outra razão as notícias teriam viajado e sido publicadas?

Portanto, parece verdade que alguém, ou mais de uma pessoa, interveio para negar a Jack Leslie seu boné. Em 1933, um jornal nacional disse: “Se ele fosse branco, teria sido um certo internacional inglês”.

Jack Leslie foi, pelo menos, um herói em Plymouth como a pedra angular da equipe por mais de uma década. Sua família conta como ele era amado na cidade e que foi aplaudido de pé quando voltou para uma visita nos anos 60.

Esses torcedores sempre serão a força vital de qualquer clube. São os torcedores que estão se reunindo em torno de seus clubes neste momento de crise, fazendo o possível para ajudá-los a sobreviver. E embora alguns fãs tenham, é claro, sido culpados de incidentes racistas - os gritos de macacos e o lançamento de bananas que envergonharam os terraços dos anos setenta e oitenta - o movimento anti-racista em resposta veio do zero, de jogadores e fãs para ser abraçado pelos clubes.

E é por isso que o apoio da Football Supporters ’Association é tão bem recebido pela Jack Leslie Campaign, enquanto procuramos contar a história e continuar a lutar contra este flagelo no esporte e na sociedade.

As realizações de Jack marcam-no como uma figura histórica que a cidade de Plymouth deve reconhecer e celebrar. Mas essa glória da Inglaterra, cruelmente negada, marca-o como uma figura de importância nacional.

A primeira internacionalização de Jack Leslie teria acontecido quando ele estava amadurecendo como jogador e, se tivesse sido concedida, poderia tê-lo tornado um elemento fixo da seleção nacional nos próximos anos.

É hora de apoiadores em todos os lugares saberem seu nome e de ser construída uma estátua que mereça seu lugar.

Jack Leslie & # 8211 137 gols em 401 jogos pelo Plymouth Argyle (1921-1934). Selecionado para aparições na Inglaterra (1925) ... nenhuma.


Pioneiros do futebol: Jack Leslie

Nascido em 1901, filho de pai jamaicano em Canning Town, Jack Leslie havia jogado no clube local Barking Town antes de ingressar no Plymouth Argyle em 1921.

Ele jogou 14 temporadas em Home Park, fazendo 401 jogos. Ele foi um artilheiro prolífico, marcando 137 gols, incluindo 22 durante a campanha de 1928/29.

Em 1931/32, o clube perdeu por pouco a promoção à Primeira Divisão. Criador e também marcador de gols, ele desenvolveu uma parceria celebrada com o escocês Sammy Black, de fora-de-esquerda.

Leslie foi uma figura chave na equipe de Plymouth por mais de uma década. Como capitão do time no início dos anos 1930, ele atuou como porta-voz e representante dos jogadores em eventos do clube e nas negociações com os diretores. Quando o clube experimentou viagens aéreas para viagens longas, foi Leslie, como capitão, o primeiro convidado a voar.

Ele foi descrito como "um capitão inspirador". Um jornal local o lembrou como "um tático de excelente qualidade" e "um dos melhores jogadores que já vestiu uma camisa da Argyle".

Para o correspondente de futebol do The People, ele foi "um dos maiores golpistas do futebol inglês".

Em 1931, o gerente de um clube rival da Segunda Divisão se perguntou por que os selecionadores da Inglaterra não haviam "mandado para Leslie".

Na verdade, eles já tinham. Embora o ano exato ainda não esteja claro, Leslie mais tarde se lembrou de ter sido chamado ao escritório do gerente de Plymouth para ser informado de que havia sido selecionado para a Inglaterra.

Mas a decisão nunca foi tornada pública e ele foi substituído por Billy Walker do Aston Villa. Atormentado por uma série de ferimentos, Leslie aposentou-se em 1935.

Depois de alguns anos administrando um pub em Truro, ele voltou ao futebol como treinador de seu antigo clube, Barking Town, em 1938.

Quando o jornalista Brian Woolnough o alcançou durante a temporada de 1982/83, Leslie estava trabalhando na sala de botas do West Ham.

Ele morreu em 1988 e tende a ser lembrado agora como o homem que quase se tornou o primeiro jogador negro a aparecer com uma camisa da Inglaterra.

Por várias temporadas, o Leicester City Football Club trabalhou com o Centro Internacional de História do Esporte e Cultura da Universidade De Montfort em vários projetos de patrimônio. Nesta temporada, funcionários e alunos do Centro contarão com os jogadores pioneiros que contribuíram para o crescimento e desenvolvimento do esporte.

Para mais informações sobre a história do esporte na DMU, ​​clique AQUI.


Jack Leslie: Plymouth Argyle - História

Jack Vidler, artilheiro em 1934-35 e mais de 100 gols em seus 10 anos em Home Park

O Plymouth Argyle havia se tornado um time de segunda divisão estabelecido na temporada 1934-35, e embora a lista de jogos contivesse nomes como Manchester United, Newcastle e West Ham, o clube e os torcedores estavam otimistas com relação à campanha pela frente. Continuou a acreditar na equipa e considerável fé em Bob Jack, que se declarou satisfeito com os jogadores existentes - especialmente se eles pudessem ficar livres de lesões. A principal preocupação era com o grande Jack Leslie, que havia perdido a maior parte da temporada anterior depois que o laço de uma bola causou uma lesão grave no olho. O goleiro George McKenzie, da Escócia, foi a única contratação significativa, embora Harry Cann tenha permanecido como a primeira escolha, com Bill Harper também na reserva. Os zagueiros e zagueiros permaneceram os mesmos e os atacantes voltaram a contar com Jimmy Cookson para fazer seus gols.

Apenas um dos dez primeiros jogos foi vencido, uma vitória de 6-4 sobre o Hull City no primeiro jogo em casa da temporada, que incluiu um hat-trick para Jack Vidler. A má forma inicial foi agravada por uma lesão no joelho de Cookson, o artilheiro da temporada anterior, que resultou em uma operação para remover uma cartilagem e uma ausência do time titular por mais de um ano. No entanto, a equipa bateu em boa forma, coincidindo com a chegada de um novo defesa-central, Johnny McNeil, do futebol juvenil escocês, e venceu dez das quinze partidas seguintes, empatando mais três. Como era de se esperar, os Pilgrims perderam quatro jogos consecutivos antes de vencer oito dos treze finais. No final, Argyle terminou a temporada em um oitavo lugar, com Vidler aproveitando a oportunidade apresentada pela lesão de longa duração de Cookson para terminar como artilheiro com 21 gols.

O lendário Jack Leslie [ver também 'Estrelas dos anos 20' no Capítulo 13]

Onze jogadores partiram no final da temporada. Entre eles, Jack Pullen deixou o clube por causa de uma lesão, e George McKenzie e Jack Demellweek foram para Southend para se juntar ao famoso filho de Robert Jack, David - mas de longe a saída mais notável foi o infeliz Jack Leslie. Apesar das grandes esperanças no início da temporada, a lesão no olho de Leslie o impediu de jogar até o final de dezembro, e essa foi sua única participação na temporada. Foi um final longo, prolongado e muito triste para sua magnífica carreira com Argyle, e no final da temporada ele recebeu uma transferência gratuita. Jack Leslie foi um dos jogadores mais populares de todos os tempos a vestir a camisa do Argyle, e seu recorde de jogo em 14 temporadas no clube fala por si - o quarto na lista de maiores gols de todos os tempos, com 137 gols em 401 partidas. Mas foi sua parceria no flanco esquerdo com Sammy Black que foi talvez a conquista mais notável de todas. A dupla jogou junta por surpreendentes 327 vezes, uma parceria que se dizia ser a melhor de toda a Liga de Futebol. Mais tarde naquele ano, Leslie acabou como zagueiro central do Truro City na Plymouth & District League, e mais tarde se tornou o proprietário de um pub de Truro.

Os diretores relataram novamente uma perda comercial, mas reduzida para 1.650. O mau tempo foi um fator importante na redução da receita no portão - caindo em 1.321. As vendas de ingressos para a temporada caíram, assim como os portões da equipe de reserva. Em resposta, houve um corte na folha de pagamento geral e uma pequena economia nas despesas de viagens e hotéis. Foi declarado que o clube tinha uma dívida total de 6.000 e, no final da temporada, Bob Jack foi forçado a informar os jogadores que os diretores estavam lutando para encontrar dinheiro para pagar seus salários.

Em 2 de abril de 1935, a morte do Sr. John Dawson Spooner foi anunciada em sua casa em Yelverton aos 68 anos. Além de membro ativo do clube amador na década de 1890, John Dawson, um solteiro, ajudou seus irmãos a formar o clube profissional em 1903, e atuou no conselho de diretores nas três primeiras temporadas do Plymouth Argyle. Quando a sociedade anônima foi reformada em 1910, JD tornou-se diretor mais uma vez, função que desempenhou por 25 anos até sua morte, embora problemas de saúde o tivessem impedido de comparecer às reuniões do conselho em seus últimos meses. Embora seu irmão Clarence fosse considerado o arquiteto do clube profissional, ninguém teve um papel maior em seu desenvolvimento nos 30 anos seguintes do que John Dawson Spooner.

Manchetes dramáticas no Western Morning News.

Quatro semanas depois, e quatro dias antes do jogo final da temporada (em casa para o Manchester United), os diretores restantes tiveram uma reunião em Home Park com um grupo de conhecidos empresários locais. Após quase quatro horas de deliberação, ficou acordado que a atual diretoria de sete membros seria destituída e substituída por uma nova diretoria de quinze, o máximo permitido pelos estatutos da empresa. O Sr. E. Elliot Square, um advogado proeminente na cidade, foi presidente do Argyle por 16 temporadas, conduzindo o clube de uma temporada na Liga Sul após a Primeira Guerra Mundial para um clube bem estabelecido da Liga de Futebol, que agora estava perto de a Primeira Divisão. O vice-presidente Alfred Gard, que serviu como diretor por 25 anos, também se demitiu, assim como Hubert Papps, diretor desde a guerra, mas os outros quatro foram eleitos para o novo conselho.

Tenente Coronel T.R. McCready foi eleito o novo presidente da Plymouth Argyle. Born in Plymouth in 1883, Thomas Robert McCready served in the Machine Gun Corp in the First World War, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and was mentioned in dispatches in April 1918 for his "distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty". After the war he practised as a solicitor in Plymouth (although the 1911 census describes him as an accountant), and incidentally, one of his long-standing clients was the club's president, 'Archie' Ballard. Clarence Spooner stepped in as the new vice-chairman, some 30 years after his last time in the boardroom, so maintaining the Spooner name on the board.

After the landmark meeting, the newly-elected chairman explained that the burden of the club's long-term debt was in the region of 9,000, and with no means to provide summer wages or increase the playing strength, the old board had either to transfer some of their best players or reorganise the board to provide increased capital.

The eleven new directors were all local sportsmen who also represented a wide range of business activity, and amongst them was James Clifford Tozer, the son of the founder of Messrs J.C. Tozer Ltd, the well-known Plymouth drapers and furnishers. In 1912, at just 23 years old, Clifford Tozer had been elected as a member of Devonport Borough Council, and in 1921 he became a Plymouth Borough councillor. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1929 and became Mayor of Plymouth for 1930-31. In 1937, two years after his elevation to the Argyle boardroom, he was selected to become an Alderman of the City of Plymouth. A year later he became Argyle's vice-chairman, followed six months on by his election as chairman, and in 1939 he was knighted by King George VI for his public and political services in Plymouth.

When football resumed after the Second World War, Alderman Sir J. Clifford Tozer JP continued as Argyle's chairman, and after Clarence Spooner's death in 1952, he became Argyle's president, a role he fulfilled for 16 years. He was also chairman of Plymouth's Reconstruction Committee and in 1952 was honoured with the Freedom of the City of Plymouth. Two years later he served as the city's Lord Mayor.

James Clifford Tozer died in 1970, the end of a life of outstanding public service, but also the end of 35 years of devotion to his football club, which began on that day in April 1935.

The reconstituted board's urgent priority was to increase the football company's capital. At the annual shareholders' meeting on 28th June 1935, a resolution was unanimously adopted that the capital of the company be increased from 4,000 to 15,000 by the creation of 44,000 new Ordinary shares of five shillings each. A fortnight later a mass meeting was held in the Guildhall to launch the campaign. The board's slogan 'First Division Football for Plymouth' had fired the public's imagination, and the Guildhall, which had been decorated for the occasion in green and black by Messrs Dingle & Co, was packed to capacity and speeches had to be relayed to an estimated 1,000 in the square outside.

The Arsenal manager, Mr George Allison, was a guest speaker at the Guildhall.

Before the meeting opened there was a programme of community singing, led by Mr Harry Grose and assisted by the band of the Devon & Cornwall Heavy Brigade. Thomas McCready began a series of speeches, explaining that the purpose of the meeting was to direct the club's appeal to the citizens of Plymouth in general and to the business community in particular, and also to the body of supporters in Devon and Cornwall. After listing the broad intentions of the share sale, the chairman said it was the considered opinion of the directors that the additional share capital was absolutely necessary to place the company in a sound financial position and to secure First Division football for Plymouth. He explained that the company was incorporated in 1920 with a share capital of 1,000, which was considered to be sufficient for the Southern League team. A few years later the capital was increased to 4,000, but he had been unable to trace any serious attempt to actually raise it. When he took over as chairman of the board, the subscribed share capital amounted to only 2,016.

Mr McCready went on to explain why, in his view, the club had found it difficult to make ends meet. When Argyle secured promotion to the Second Division in 1930, a spirit of optimism prevailed and that was the opportunity to obtain more capital, but "a glorious opportunity was lost". The directors at the time considered that an immediate and large expenditure was required to cope with Second Division football, and they incurred liabilities of up to 12,000 in building the necessary new Home Park stands. His point was that the stands were essential, but the money for them should have come out of capital and not out of revenue. Whilst the directors judged that the revenue from bigger attendances would be sufficient to provide for that heavy capital charge, the result was there was very little money left for anything else. With the burden of bank charges and the decrease in gates because of the economic climate and especially bad weather that season, the directors found themselves in the position that they could no longer find the money to support a team worthy of a Second Division football club. In April they were in great difficulty. There was no hope of any revenue until the following season, and they had to face a large debt to local tradesmen, the payment of summer wages and the need to strengthen weak spots in the team, in addition to the "horrible bugbear" of the bank overdraft. The football club's only realisable assets were the transfer values of its players, and transfer was the only alternative at that time. "This was suicide it was murder," Mr McCready declared. "If the transfers had been accomplished it would have set back Plymouth Argyle for so many years that it would be extremely doubtful if it had any chance of recovery."

The scenes of enthusiasm that marked the reception of speeches were eclipsed only by the remarkable manner in which the invitation to take up new shares was accepted. A representative from Messrs Dilleigh & Co rose from the body of the hall and offered to take up 100 worth of shares. He was immediately followed by a Spooners' representative, who pledged to purchase 150 worth. This was the signal for a succession of similar actions from the floor, which continued for half an hour, and approximately 6,000 shares, representing a value of 1,500, were taken before the meeting closed.

Three months later the chairman described the response to the share appeal as "wretchedly disappointing". 260 applications had been received for 8,817 shares to the total value of 2,204 5s. Mr McCready added: "It was anticipated that many of the business firms in Plymouth would have supported the club's appeal more generously. Only a few firms have come up to expectation." The Western Morning News commented that the business community of Plymouth, by their lack of response, did not appreciate the value of the Argyle club to the trade of Plymouth, and reported that some firms that had refused had benefited considerably from the activities of the club.

Whilst we think of Robert Jack as Argyle's manager, his actual title was secretary-manager, reflecting his enormous appetite for work and his wide range of administrative activities over and above the management of the team. The new directors, clear in their ambition for First Division football, set about a review of the backroom staff - many of whom were of 'advancing' years - and one of their first actions was to appoint A.H. Cole as assistant-secretary, effectively an understudy for the administration aspects of the manager's work. Bob Cole, a civil servant, had been Propaganda Secretary of the Supporters' Club (what we might think of as advertising/marketing in today's terms) and was one of its founder-members. Other changes followed, including the departure of Tommy Haynes, the former Argyle FC player who retired after 25 years as chief trainer. Bill Harper was appointed in his place. New players included Bill Gooney, a wing half from Sheffield United and once captain of England Schoolboys, and Jackie Smith from Barnsley, who was a talented player despite his lack of inches. Arthur Eggleston arrived from Bury to add punch to the forward line.

Argyle at Port Vale in September 1935.

Back row: Septimus Atterbury (trainer), Bill Gooney, Harry Roberts, Arthur Davies, Jimmy Rae, Tommy Black, Tommy Grozier.

Front row: David Robbie, Jackie Smith, Jack Vidler, Robert Jack (manager), Arthur Eggleston, Len Rich, Johnny McNeil.

Argyle beat West Ham 4-1 at Home Park in October 1935. The Pilgrims dominated the game and Cookson scored with an early goal. West Ham's possession was mainly limited to belting long balls upfield. However, they equalised and, with five minutes to go, looked like securing a draw. Cookson scored again and Black and Vidler put away two more goals in the last two minutes. In the following January Argyle played Chelsea away in the Cup. The game coincided with the mourning of the death of King George V. Both teams wore black arm bands and there was a two-minute silence before the kick-off and the singing of "Abide With Me" by the crowd of 53,703. Two thousand fans made the journey from Plymouth and saw an excellent display of football from the visitors. However, this was not reflected in the score. Chelsea went 3-0 ahead despite playing much less attractive football, especially during the first half. Harry Cann received an injury but Argyle still managed to 'draw' the second half 1-1. Vidler scored 12 minutes from the end and Sammy Black missed a penalty.

The Pilgrims finished the 1935-36 season in 7th place, one position and two points better than the previous year. Sammy Black was again top scorer with 16 goals four ahead of Eggleston and twice as many as Vidler. Gate receipts were up, as was the revenue from season tickets. The directors continued to complain about the iniquitously high level of entertainment Tax nearly 3,500. There was still an overall loss because of the relatively high net cost of transfers but Archie Ballard again stepped in with generous donations.

The main entrance plate, still in place today.

Over 21,000 saw Argyle beat Doncaster Rovers 7-0 in their first home game of the 1936-37 season, including a hat-trick for Jackie Smith. Perhaps just as impressive was their first sight of the club's brand-new main entrance, which had been erected over the summer months. The impressive facade, which contained 17 turnstiles, three pairs of exits gates and a ticket box, was approved by the Plymouth Corporation in the February and was expected to cost 300. PAFC's president, Mr A.C. Ballard, pledged 100 and the Supporters' Club, of whom he was also president, agreed to fund the rest on condition that a plate be erected to recognise their contribution. At their annual meeting in September, the cost was reported to have been twice the expectation, but to honour the words of the plate, the Supporters' Club committee agreed to meet the balance of the cost as and when funds permitted.

Above: Home Park's iconic main entrance, built in 1936 and pictured here in the early 1950s.

Below: The main entrance in 2013, shortly before its planned demolition. There seems to be substantial change, but most is superficial. However, note the absence of brickwork above the exit gates - this was removed in 2005, presumably for safety reasons, at a time when repair could not be justified because Phase 2 (the new south side) was 'imminent'.

A section of the massive crowd for the game with Aston Villa. In the background is the Ballard extension of the grandstand, which hit the headlines a few months later.

Argyle's emphatic win in their first home game of the season was their only victory in their first six fixtures, but eleven games then followed without a defeat. Argyle's often-stated record attendance occurred on 10th October 1936 when they drew 2-2 with Aston Villa in front of a recorded gate of 43,596 ('often-stated' but unfortunately unclear - doubts remain about the attendance for the FA Cup game against Huddersfield three seasons before - see the final paragraphs of chapter 14 for a detailed analysis of the evidence). Trains arrived throughout the morning from all over Devon and Cornwall, and even Somerset. The match was preceded by community singing to a song sheet reminiscent of a Wembley Cup Final. The Argyle goals were scored by Sammy Black and Jack Connor. Also in that side was Tommy Black - no relation of Sammy - who had played just one game for Arsenal when he turned out in an FA Cup tie and conceded the penalty which led to Arsenal's defeat, whereupon he was told he would never play for the club again! He went on to play 162 matches for Argyle before he left for Southend in 1939. The draw with Villa was a creditable result since Argyle played for three quarters of the game with ten men and Roberts hobbling on the left wing. The Villa side were full of internationals but were not bonding as a side or playing with expected enthusiasm. In the final half-hour Argyle hit the post and bar and two goal-bound shots were saved by Biddlestone but Villa held out.

On the left, queues for the Villa game at the new main entrance. On the right, fans moved some of the old turnstiles from the back of the stand to get a better view. You can't but feel for that poor lad!

In February 1937, Argyle played the corresponding away game at Villa Park. It was an extraordinary game, with Argyle losing 5-4 in front of 50,000 spectators, 3,000 of whom were from Plymouth. Argyle led 3-0 after half an hour but Villa came back to draw level three minutes after half-time. Argyle once again went ahead with a 25 yard goal from Hunter following a dribble by Vidler. From then on the Argyle defence took a battering. Villa equalised but Argyle held out until the 87th minute Rae was hesitant in the tackle, Haycock centred and Houghton crouched on his knee to head in at the near upright. Incidentally, nine years later Villa's Haycock played one game for Argyle as a war-time guest in the transitional Football League South season.

Jack Connor, who was was brought in from Airdrieonians as the new centre-forward at the start of the season, ended as top scorer with 17 of the team's 73 goals. The Pilgrims finished in 5th place, their fourth consecutive improvement, and if it had not have been for Newcastle's slightly better goal average, would have equalled the best-ever position of 1931-32. What's more, with just one win in their final seven games and a finish that was only six points off a promotion place, we can only wonder what might have been.

1937-38 proved to be an extraordinary season in the history of the club. On the pitch, Bob Jack's philosophy was simple he believed that Scottish junior football was the best breeding ground for football talent and much of his recruitment was from north of the border and Plymouth was always an attraction because it offered employment in the dockyard to players after their career in football was over. At the start of the season he considered that Argyle had as good a chance as any of promotion, and he must have been encouraged by the first game, a 4-0 win over Fulham in front of nearly 25,000 at Home Park. But by October, Argyle were doing badly and a local paper attributed much of the problem to the lack of a goal-scoring centre-forward: "In four games Argyle have experimented with four centre-forwards yet they are no nearer a solution to their problem." By the end of the year the Pilgrims had won just four games out of 22, and in the new year lost to Division Three (North) side New Brighton in the FA Cup.

By mid-January they were tipped, along with Swansea Town, as candidates for relegation a prediction denied vehemently by the manager: "I am not permitted to broadcast any forecast as to what two clubs will eventually be doomed to relegation but, if I were, Argyle would not be one of them". Things improved when Charlie Fletcher, transferred from Burnley earlier in the season, was switched to centre-forward and began to score goals starting with two against his old club. Thankfully Argyle's fortunes revived and they finished the 1937-38 season just below midway in the table, having won six and drawn three of their final ten games. Bill Hullett, signed from Everton earlier in the season, finished as top scorer with ten goals in only eleven starts, including a hat-trick against Southampton in the final match of the season, all with his head.

Bill Hullett scoring the first of his hat-trick in the last game of the season at home to Southampton.

But despite many months of worry, the main drama of the season came off the pitch. In the November, Mr McCready surprisingly resigned as chairman and Clarence Spooner took his place, with Clifford Tozer as vice-chairman. However, Mr Spooner, one of the founders of Plymouth Argyle, made it clear that he would only accept the position temporarily, and six months later Alderman Tozer stepped up and Mr Spooner took his place as vice-chairman. Then, in the final months of the season, came three events that shook the club to the core.

Employing nearly a half a mile of hoses, the Fire Brigade fights the blaze in the grandstand extension.

Just after 10pm on Wednesday, 9th March 1938, Mr J. Horton, Argyle's groundsman, heard a tremendous crackling and at first thought the buses at the Milehouse depot were making a great deal of noise. He ran out of his house, saw the glare over Home Park and rushed to summon the fire brigade. From his house in Peverell Park Road, manager Bob Jack also saw the glare, and later said he thought the whole place was ablaze.

That afternoon at Home Park, Argyle had played out a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in front of nearly 16,000 spectators. At 8pm the groundsman had made his final inspection and found everything in order, but in the following two hours, the extension to the main stand, funded by Archie Ballard in 1931, caught fire. The so-called Ballard extension was at the west end of the grandstand, its roof extending in line with the main structure, and was built as a standing terrace for 3,000 spectators. When the fire brigade arrived, they faced searing heat. Most of the wooden flooring was ablaze and the galvanised roof and sides of the stand became white hot so that as hoses were played on the structure, dense clouds of steam enveloped the fire fighters. Sparks and a glare were reported as far afield as Crownhill and Mannamead, and a crowd assembled to watch the drama. Most of the wooden terraces were destroyed, as was the refreshment area beneath, but the firemen were able to contain the blaze so that the main grandstand was saved. A cigarette end was believed to be the cause, with a strong wind blowing into that corner being the trigger for smouldering timber to burst into flames.

ROBERT JACK'S REIGN COMES TO AN END

Just 24 hours after the grandstand fire - quite remarkable timing in itself - came more shocking news Robert Jack announced that he would be severing his connection with the club at the end of the season. The papers said that he resigned, but the reason was never made clear, and for a man who had delivered nearly three decades of success with Argyle and who without doubt loved the club, it was particularly odd because he emphasised that he was not retiring from the game and expected remain in football for many years to come. 'Tamar' in the Western Morning News said: "I do not know what has led Mr Jack to tender his resignation - that is the secret of those very closely connected with the club." Some felt that he had been somewhat ungraciously pushed aside by the directors and was, not unsurprisingly, disenchanted by the decision, but his public position was one of loyalty. "There are no differences between the directors and myself", he said. "Supported by the determined endeavour of the players and everyone concerned, I feel confident that the club which I have loved and for which I have worked for so many years will emerge safely from the danger of relegation, irrespective of the bad luck which has adversely affected many matches. If I felt otherwise any thought of parting would not have entered my mind."

Robert Jack in the late 1930s

Reacting to the news, Argyle's chairman, Clarence Spooner, said: "It is with sincere regret that I learn of Mr Jack's impending resignation. We have been together as football enthusiasts for many years, and I shall always look back with happy recollections on Mr Jack's association with Plymouth Argyle."

Vice-chairman J. Clifford Tozer heaped praise on the outgoing manager: "Mr Robert Jack's resignation will most certainly cause considerable surprise among many thousands of followers of Association football, not only in the West, but in all parts of England and Scotland. There can be few men better known in the football world than Robert Jack. For over 30 years he has been closely associated with the Plymouth Argyle club, and his severance at the end of the season will be regretted. In no small measure the success of the club in the past has been due to his personal interest, activities and judgement. Always of genial disposition, he will be missed by the directors of the club. Personally I have always considered Robert Jack as a real friend. I shall miss him, and this feeling, I know, is shared by many."

A testimonial was arranged for Bob Jack on May 4th. Initially this was to be against an international eleven but was eventually against Brentford, then of the First Division. The night before, Mr and Mrs Jack were the principal guests at the Supporters' Club annual dinner and dance and as a final parting, some 350 attendees joined hands in the singing of 'Auld Lang Syne'. Bob Jack and his wife were said to be greatly affected.

Whatever the reason for his departure and despite his intention to stay in football, Jack had little involvement with the game after leaving Home Park, apart from some scouting for his son David, by then the manager of Southend United. He also wrote a regular article for the Football Herald, but his main love, post-'retirement', was bowls. He had in fact been a keen player for many years, and as a member of the Sir Francis Drake Bowling Club in Mannamead, had helped to put the region on the map by playing regularly for the English International Bowls team and also winning the English Singles Championship in 1926.

Robert Jack, probably the greatest name in the club's history, before or since, died on 6th May 1943 at the age of 67. With him to the end was his old friend and playing partner at Bolton, and at Argyle in the professional club's early days, Jock Wright. The family mourners at Ilford Crematorium in London included his widow and three sons - David, Rollo and Donald. Two days later, in the early hours of the morning, Rollo Jack, who in those war-time years was the club's acting secretary-manager, scattered his father's ashes over the Home Park pitch. There could have been no more fitting end.

Thanks to his great-grandson in Australia, a rare photo of Robert Jack and his three sons, (left to right) Donald, David and Rollo, taken circa 1920.

SAMMY BLACK'S 14TH AND FINAL SEASON

Sammy Black, the greatest of them all.

After 14 seasons in green and black, 491 appearances (only topped by Kevin Hodges) and 182 goals (Argyle's highest goalscorer by some margin), few would argue that Sammy Black is not the greatest of them all. He scored in double figures in every one of his first ten seasons and was top scorer in five of them - not bad for a winger. At just 5ft 6in and sporting size four boots, he epitomised the winger of the day - small, fast, tricky, and with dazzling skills. He rarely tracked back and his heading ability was guaranteed to amuse, but wingers of his era were not expected to do anything other than terrorise full-backs. It was his eye for goal that made him stand out he could shoot with either foot and many of his goals came from unlikely angles. Black was the darling of the Argyle crowd and his ten-year partnership with inside-left Jack Leslie was famous across the country - their clever exchanges would leave defenders chasing shadows.

During those years, Sam scored more goals than any other winger in English League football and was described as the best winger never to play for Scotland. But time was catching up on the the 'Mighty Atom', and after an injury at West Ham in October 1936 and an operation that followed, he missed the rest of the season. In 1937-38 he played just ten games, some at inside-forward, with his last appearance - although no one knew it at the time - against Swansea Town on January 26th, 1938. If ever there was a sign that Sammy's time was up, it was that in his final season, he failed to score.

With Bob Jack gone, Black was offered new terms at the end of the 1937-38 season - 4 per week plus 3 when in the first team - but he turned them down and was placed on the transfer list for 1,000, much to the dismay of the fans. Although Ipswich showed some interest, there were no firm offers and the fee was gradually reduced over the following months until it stood at 250. It seems a remarkably small fee for a player with such a fine career, but in those days, few clubs would take a chance on a player over 30 years old. Still there were no offers, but Sammy kept himself fit and ready by training with Plymouth Albion and kicking rugby balls. In November 1938, having had no income for nearly seven months, he wrote to the club to plead for a free transfer. The directors agreed to a nominal fee, believed to be 100, and within days a deal was agreed with Queens Park Rangers, arranged by 'Spectator', the football writer for the Sunday Independent, who was an old friend of the QPR manager, William Birrell. Very oddly, in all his years in football, Birrell had never seen Black play, but trusted the journalist's opinion that the winger had three or four years left in him. Sammy Black made just five appearances for QPR before war called time on League football. All told, a sad end to a wonderful career.

Argyle's new manager, Jack Tresadern.

We can only imagine the atmosphere at Home Park in the summer of 1938. Bob Jack's impact and influence must have pervaded at every turn, but the great man had gone. The players returned to pre-season training to be greeted by a new man, Mr Jack Tresadern, Argyle's first new manager for 28 years.

Jack Tresadern had been appointed in the closing weeks of the old season. His wealth of football experience had impressed the board of directors, who announced the appointment at the game at Luton Town on April 9th. Vice-chairman Clifford Tozer said that the selection was made from a very large number of applications from Scotland, Wales and all parts of England, and even from France and Holland, and pointed out that Argyle was a club with a high reputation in the football world and was popular wherever it went. Mr Tresadern had resigned from the manager's job at Tottenham Hotspur to join Argyle, and Alderman Tozer emphasised that the new man not only had considerable experience in football management, but thoroughly understood the game.

In his playing days, Jack Tresadern played for West Ham United and was capped for England at left-half. He also appeared in the historic first FA Cup Final at Wembley, playing against Bob Jack's son David, who at that time was with Bolton Wanderers. Tresadern moved on to Burnley and then joined Northampton Town as player-manager. Five years later he was appointed as Crystal Palace's manager, and another five years on, in 1935, he became manager of Spurs.

However impressive Jack Tresadern's credentials were, Bob Jack was always going to be a hard act to follow. Amongst the new manager's first signings were Dave Thomas from Romford and Ernie Smith from Nottingham Forest. Argyle had already begun to lose its reputation as an English club with a Scottish flavour.

The team photo for 1938-39: 31 players and trainer Bill Harper, with the new manager firmly in charge.

Harry Cann pushes the ball over the bar in front of 32,000 at Millwall in late September, with Johnny McNeil and Sammy Kirkwood (behind) looking on. Note the square woodwork in those days. Argyle lost 3-0, the result typifying the early form - wins at home and defeats away.

Early attendances were encouraging, with nearly 45,000 watching the first two games at Home Park. In the second, Argyle beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1, with both goals from another new boy, Jackie Wharton. He was an 18-year-old winger, who was the subject of a microphone plea by the manager before the game, asking for the 26,000 crowd's indulgence on account of Wharton's youth and possible debut nerves. But there was no stage fright - Wharton scored his first with an accomplished header after just one minute. West Brom drew level on 33 minutes but the debutant scored the winner on the hour. It originated with a right wing run and cross by Smith which was turned in by the youngster, after goalkeeper Adams had collapsed in a heap on the end of someone's boot. The 'keeper left the field for the next 15 minutes, returning with a bandaged head. The story is a reminder of how tough the game was in those days, as is the report of what happened next: "Then Jackie Smith was in the wars, a collision with a defender dislocating his shoulder, although he resumed after a few minutes' treatment."

Away at Norwich a week later there occurred the famous incident of the pigeon, which Jimmy Hunter apparently tripped over just as he was about to shoot. In October Argyle drew 0-0 at home to Manchester City, after an outstanding goalkeeping display by the future England International Frank Swift, who received a standing ovation from the crowd. Tresadern continued to tinker with the forward line, and in the thirteen matches before 12th November he had played four inside-rights, five outside-lefts and seven inside-lefts. Pleas were made for Sammy Black's return, including one from a parson in Leeds. However, Argyle had managed to remain unbeaten at home, until a 1-0 defeat by Bury on November 19th.

Argyle secured a surprising 4-3 away win at Luton in January, after Boxing Day and New Year's Eve defeats at home to Coventry and away to West Brom, and a 0-3 defeat by Sunderland in the FA Cup. Argyle's hero at Kenilworth Road was Fred Mitcheson, who scored a hat-trick in the first 11 minutes of the second half. The ground was a mud bath and Luton played into the visitors' hands by trying to play close football. Argyle, on the other hand, were much more direct.

Centre-forward Dave Thomas runs to meet a cross against Luton, with a few hardy souls on an open terrace looking on.

The bad weather continued and on the following Saturday, Argyle were home to Norwich. The game started despite the rain that had kept the crowd down to 6,942, and in wet and slippery conditions, Argyle went into a one goal lead on 14 minutes when Archer took a free kick that struck the underside of the bar before the back of the net. Then the weather got worse. Much of the midfield area was barren of grass and, therefore, a sea of mud. No one could see the lines and water was splashing everywhere much to the amusement of the crowd. When the game was finally abandoned at half-time there was no real surprise. Indeed the announcement was followed by another downpour. This was the first abandoned game at Home Park that anyone could remember and ruled out the first home goal scored by Argyle for nearly two months. Happily, when the game was replayed in the final week of the season, Argyle won by the same score.

By mid-February Argyle were languishing fifth from bottom of the division, still not having secured a home win since November. They eventually beat Bradford Park Avenue 4-1 on February 25th, with goals from Hunter (2), Thomas and Kirkwood. Early March saw a 2-1 victory at Fulham, but the manner won few friends. A string of free-kicks resulted in constant booing by the home supporters especially of Sam Kirkwood. The referee had to speak to players from both sides and, at one stage, a Fulham fan ran onto the pitch in protest at Argyle's strong-arm tactics, which had reduced Fulham to ten men.

In March the directors could not resist Manchester United's approaches, and sold centre-forward Bill Hullett (this season's top scorer with 10 goals) and outside-right Tommy Dougan to Manchester United for over 5,000, but brought in Bob Royston from Southport for 1,000. Later in March, Jack Tresadern gave a debut to right-half Ellis Stuttard, another of his summer signings. The 18-year-old could not possibly have imagined that this was the beginning of a 44-year association with the club, including two spells as manager.

Overall it was not a successful season but Argyle did win three of their last four games to finish in 15th place. They were never in serious threat of relegation but two decades of relative success were clearly in the past and the team needed to be re-built. Scoring goals continued to be Argyle's problem, with just 49 in 43 games, the second lowest in the division. Concern over standards at the club was growing and there was an emergency meeting of the Shareholders' Association. Indeed, at the Shareholders' AGM at the Farley Hotel in July 1939, there was little short of hostility from some. One said: "I have been watching football for years, and I think last season Argyle had the worst team they have ever had." Another said: "If they had the team at heart they would say: 'We have failed and we will give way to allow others to do better.'" There was general support for the manager, but criticism of the directors and concern about the heavy loss of over 4,000 over the year.

The directors reacted strongly by pruning the staff more severely than ever before. When the retained list was announced there were only 23 names on it, from a total of 41 professionals. Harry Cann and Jack Vidler were placed on the transfer list together with Fred Mitcheson ( 1,500), Tommy Black ( 1,000), Tommy Ryan ( 650), Wilf Chitty ( 750) and Jim McColgan ( 250), and free transfers were offered to 12 players. This would ensure a saving of 100 per week on the summer wage bill of 2,500. The loss of Jack Vidler after 12 years of service was particularly sad and the free transfer for Tod' Sloan indicated that it was unlikely that the 'A' team (the third XI) would continue. It was recognised that the whole forward line would have to be recast and there was talk of 'big money' needed for new forwards. There were even rumours that Ray Bowden wanted to come back to the club, and other names were also being mentioned. However, by the end of April, none of the existing players had actually signed the contracts offered to them. By the summer of 1939, war clouds hung over Europe and football assumed less importance in the minds of the general public, and the players began to think of their possible future outside the game.

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Tag: Plymouth Argyle

By Martin Johnes (Swansea University) and Alex Jackson (National Football Museum)

In 1978 Viv Anderson became the first black player to represent England at football. But 53 years earlier, another black player had been selected for England. Jack Leslie of Plymouth Argyle, however, never joined up with the squad. The FA claimed at the time that he had never been picked and that the press reports of his inclusion were a mistake. Leslie himself claimed years later that he had been dropped because of the colour of his skin.

Born in 1901, Jack Leslie was the son of a gas fitters’ labourer, who was from Jamaica, and a tailoress from Islington. He grew up in Canning Town in London and went onto become a very successful inside left with Plymouth Argyle from 1921 to 1935, scoring 137 goals in 401 appearances in the third and second divisions. In 1930 The Football Herald claimed he was ‘known throughout England for his skill and complexion’, while in 1932 the Daily Mail called him a ‘coloured genius’.

At the time, he was one of only two black players who were regulars in the Football League, the other being Eddie Parris who played for Bradford Park Avenue, Bournemouth, Luton and Northampton. Parris won a single cap for Wales. His international cap came at a time when Wales were desperate for players. He did not have a good game and was never selected again.

How much racism Parris and Leslie faced in the game is unclear. Both were regularly described in the press as ‘coloured’ but not by their local newspapers and research has not uncovered any reports of crowd abuse towards them. But newspapers might easily have wanted to ignore anything uncomfortable and, in a society where there were deeply-held feelings of white superiority, it is unlikely that the two never faced racism from crowds. Indeed, as the above 1925 cartoon suggests, questions of race seemed to make white society uncomfortable and it was easier to ignore it or turn it into a joke than to discuss its meanings.

Both players were, however, popular with their own fans. This owed much to their skills and goals but was perhaps rooted in the fact that their colour made them different. In many ways, they were probably curiosities and they were sometimes referred to as notable personalities in the game.

In 1978, when Anderson was selected for England, a Daily Mail reporter interviewed Leslie. By then, he was working as a bootman for West Ham. Leslie told the reporter how the Plymouth manager had called him into his office, put his arm on his shoulder and said ‘I’ve got great news for you. You’ve been picked for England’. Leslie recalled this knocked him ‘sideways’. He went on:

Everybody in the club knew about it. The town was full of it. All them days ago it was quite a thing for a little club like Plymouth to have a man called up for England. I was proud – but then I was proud just to be a paid footballer.

Then all of a sudden everyone stopped talking about it. Sort of went dead quiet. Didn’t look me in the eye. Then the papers came out a day or so later and Billy Walker of Aston Villa was in the team, not me. I didn’t ask outright. I could see by their faces it was awkward.

But I did hear, roundabout like, that the FA had come to have another look at me. Not at me football but at me face. They asked, and found they’d made a ricket. Found out about me daddy, and that was it.

There was a bit of an uproar in the papers. Folks in the town were very upset. No one ever told me official like but that had to be the reason, me mum was English but me daddy was black as the Ace of Spades. There wasn’t any other reason for taking my cap away.

Leslie’s selection was indeed announced in the press but as a reserve rather than as a first-team player. After the press announcement, the story did disappear and Leslie never joined up with the team. Leslie does not feature in the team recorded in the FA’s selection committee minutes, although these were drawn up later and could have been altered.

England teams were picked by a selection committee of fourteen administrators who voted on the team, showing little consistency but much experimentation and confusion and a desire to ensure teams were not overly dominated by professionals. Earlier in 1925 selectors had also come under some pressure from the press to look at talent in the third division. In 1930, the Athletic News noted that in the eleven seasons after the Great War 145 players were chosen by England and that 66 were yet to win a second cap.

Leslie listed in the England team. Nottingham Journal 6 October 1925.

The selectors were thus picking large numbers of players who they appeared to know little about and it is not impossible that Leslie was chosen without any knowledge of his colour. Leslie was playing in the third division (south) and would not have been very well known. One paper regarded his selection as a ‘surprise’, while another called the whole team ‘experimental’.

There does not seem to be any evidence of an uproar in the press when Leslie did not join up with the team but the Daily Herald did seek further information about what had happened. It was informed by the FA that Leslie had never been selected. Yet the Press Association told the paper that its announcement of his selection had come from the Football Association.

The Plymouth press had initially welcomed his selection but then dropped the story. One local reporter did, however, write:

My readers may be expecting from me a comment upon the Argyle Club’s announcement that Jack Leslie was not chosen as reserve forward for England. Unfortunately my pen is under a ban in this matter: but I may say that a mistake was made in London and transmitted to me. Anyway, Leslie was at that time playing quite well enough to be chosen.

Clearly some people at the time felt something untoward had occurred. Yet it is notable that nowhere in the discussion was his colour mentioned. The selection of a black man had not been not the cause of celebration or even comment. If it was then thought that he had been deselected because of his colour, as Leslie believed, then this was not a matter for public discussion either.

In later years, he was occasionally touted as a potential international but was nothing happened. In 1933, one national newspaper said of Leslie, ‘Had he been white he would have been a certain English international.’ It made no further comment. Racial discrimination was perhaps simply a matter of fact.

This article derives from a forthcoming study Martin Johnes has written on Eddie Parris and race in interwar British football. Martin also has forthcoming articles on race in post-1945 British boxing. Credit is due to Phil Vasili, the pioneering historian of black footballers. Further details of Leslie’s career can be found in Ryan Danes’ Plymouth Argyle: The Complete Record (2014).


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