The Football Association welcomed the family of Jack Leslie to Wembley Stadium for a special presentation of a posthumous honorary England cap, shortly before kick off in the crucial qualifying game against Ukraine.
Jack was a true trailblazer in our game, and an Argyle legend scoring 137 times for Plymouth Argyle, before retiring in 1935- read about his story here.
In 1925, Jack earned a deserved call up to represent England. However, he faced adversity because of the colour of his skin, and was deselected and never played for our country.
This should never have happened.
The FA have been very supportive of the Jack Leslie Campaign, which led to the unveiling of a statue in his honour at Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park stadium in October 2022.
Following this, the FA confirmed their intention to award Jack with a posthumous honorary cap to recognise his career, his contribution to the game and wider society, and to right this historical wrong.
The FA are also donating to the Jack Leslie Campaign’s ongoing legacy work which will support the roll out of educational materials to schools and organisations so more people can learn about his story.
Ahead of kick-off at the match at Wembley, FA Chair Debbie Hewitt MBE and former England international Viv Anderson welcomed members of Jack’s family onto the pitch, where they were presented with the honorary cap and certificate!
At the game Plymouth Argyle were represented by Club Ambassador Ronnie Mauge, and West Ham (where Jack worked in the boot room after retirement) by Carlton Cole.
Jack’s granddaughters Lesley, Lyn and Gill said:
‘When the FA told us they were giving our grandad this posthumous honour it took our breath away. What happened to him nearly a century ago is a burden he carried through his life with the dignity and grace he had as a human being and a footballer. This is our family’s history and now it is part of the nation’s history, a recognition that things can and must change. This means so much to the whole family. Granddad never shouted or complained but he knew he should have been capped and now, at last, he is.’
Jack Leslie Campaign co-founders Greg Foxsmith and Matt Tiller said,
’The FA acknowledged and supported the campaign from the start but we always hoped they would take that step further and recognise what happened to Jack. Plymouth Argyle fans saw their hero treated unjustly when he was denied his chance in 1925. We are delighted he has now been given this honour.’