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FAQs and Contact

CONTACT

You can contact the campaign co-founders by email or phone as below- but please note we have no paid staff or fundraisers, Matt and Greg Volunteer their time so please bear with us if there is a delay in reply 🙂

Greg Foxsmith gregfoxsmith@msn.com 07980 846330

Matt Tiller JackleslieCampaign@gmail.com 07887616408

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who was Jack Leslie?

For much of his career, Jack Leslie was the only professional black footballer in England playing for Plymouth Argyle from 1921 until his retirement in 1934. From his position at inside left, he was a prolific goal-scorer and went on to captain the team. He was set to become the first non-white player to represent England at international level in 1925 when he was named in the team but then denied the opportunity when some selectors were made aware that he was “a man of colour.”

You can read more about Jack Leslie on the brilliant Greens On Screen website and there are further links on “finding out more” below.

What is the Jack Leslie Campaign?

The campaign is to raise the money for a statue of Jack Leslie in Plymouth. It will also promote the story of Jack Leslie, using his story to combat racism in football, With similar aims to the “Kick It Out” campaign. See the “aims and objectives” on the home page.

I’m not a football fan, what does this have to do with me?

We believe the prejudice and discrimination from his England rejection are reflective of societal issues, and deserve to be addressed rather than swept under the carpet. By putting up a statue to Jack Leslie now, we are making a proud statement that what happened then was wrong. We believe that ongoing issues of racism in football and wider society are of national significance, and we aim to use the Jack Leslie story in a positive way to challenge racist attitudes. People should be able to succeed in any field, regardless of the colour of their skin.

I’m a fan of another club, not Argyle, what does this have to do with me?

We aim to attract support from fans of all 92 league clubs and beyond. 

We will be working with The FA, the PFA, the Football Supporters Association, and we hope with Kick It Out and other organisations to promote diversity and challenge racism in sport throughout our campaign.

Why did the FA deny Jack Leslie a chance to play?

It is clear from the evidence – Jack’s selection made the papers, then he was listed in the initial team in the press and the incident was reported in Plymouth, albeit in a censored manner – that Jack was picked to play. England selectors in the 1920s would have received match reports, seen stats from the top divisions and taken recommendations from club manager’s like Plymouth Argyle’s, Bob Jack. So, they would have become aware of Leslie’s ability and phenomenal scoring record. However, in an era without TV footage, colour photographs, social media or the internet, not all would have known much more about his personal attributes.

It’s more likely that whilst some officials did know Jack’s heritage and wanted him to play, others clearly saw it as a reason to deny him the chance, in an era when to be black may not have fitted with the perception of being “English”. The call-up was rescinded.

What do Jack Leslie’s family think of the campaign?

Jack’s daughter, Evelyn, his granddaughters Lesley, Lyn and Jillian are delighted he is finally getting the recognition he deserves. Our original launch was planned to coincide with a visit to Home Park in April 2020 when many family members were due to attend, and we looking forward to meeting them all in person when we can. In the meantime, we communicate regularly. Jack’s great-great-nephew George is active in the campaign, and is on our committee.

Who is running the campaign?

The campaign was set up by two volunteers, Matt Tiller and Greg Foxsmith. See Matt’s account of how and why we started this here https://jackleslie.co.uk/news/

We have been joined by others – full list here – but please do contact us if you would like to help! 

Who supports the campaign?

We are supported by Jack Leslie’s family members, Plymouth Argyle, a range of footballers and fans, celebrities and more – see full list here. Know somebody who may be interested in becoming one of our high profile supporters? Get in touch!

THE STATUE

Where will it be?

The statue of Jack Leslie will stand outside Home Park – the exact location will be decided in collaboration with Plymouth Argyle and in consultation with Plymouth City Council. We’ve had initial discussions and will update on this once we are able to discuss this with club officials on site but don’t want to preempt this, lest a particular location prove to be unfeasible!

What will it look like?

The aim is for an imposing, landmark bronze full body statue of Jack in his prime on a stone plinth. But we are not prescriptive as to the design, and will consider all suggestions from prospective sculptors.

We had talks with a number of sculptors with experience in this field, for advice as to cost and materials, but no decisions or promises were made.

How will it be commissioned?

On 1at November we will issue a formal invitation for sculptors to express a declaration of interest, at the expiry of that period we will draw up a long list. We will set out criteria for the long-listed sculptors to submit ideas, after which we will shortlist (probably 3). From there we will have to choose the final design! This will be done by us in consultation with all our key partners, supporters, Plymouth Argyle and the city council but, most importantly, with Jack’s surviving family. What we can promise is that the process will be fair, and transparent.

How much will it cost?

Having researched other similar statues and spoken to people behind other similar statues, we have a good idea of cost and process.

We estimated that we would need at least £100,000, but hoped to raise more in order to provide the best possible statue in terms of design and finish, to ensure a legacy fund to maintain the monument long term and to continue the work raising awareness of the Jack Leslie story.

For that reason, although we have hit our original “minimum” target, our fundraising continues. The more money we have, the bigger, the better the statue, the grander the plinth and surround, and the more secure the legacy.

The Crowdfunder remains open – see the funding section below.

FUNDING

How are funds being raised?

This is a crowd funded campaign and we are delighted to have such warm support from the public. We would love to have as many supporters as possible and we love seeing all the positivity on the comments page. If you would like to join and be one of the campaign supporters, then please donate here.  Please forward the link to friends, family and colleagues. We have spent no money on advertising, and relied on social media and word of mouth.

Please talk to us if you are thinking of making a larger donation so we can properly acknowledge that. Please also put us in touch with your company or organisation, as we look to link up with commercial backers and allow those companies to be properly recognised. Larger individual or commercial backers will have their names immortalised on the statue plinth.

Where does the money go?

Almost all of the money raised will go towards the statue itself, costs associated with the construction and events surrounding it. These costs include the sculptor and materials, ideally bronze, logistics around the site itself – planning, surveying and installation. There will be expenses around some of the events such as the unveiling. Any expenses incurred for events during the campaign will be offset by the benefit in funds raised. But we have and will continue to do our damnedest to keep those to a minimum and all the team that worked on the campaign during the planning and execution of the initial six week crowdfunder phase did so on a voluntary basis.

Once sufficient money has been ring-fenced for the statue design, construction and installation, additional money will go to our educational work, On telling the Jack Leslie story, and challenging Prejudice and Discrimination. Much of this funding will be from targeted sponsorship.

Our volunteer committee continues to do unpaid work on the campaign, although reasonable expenses incurred can be reimbursed, but moving forward where there is larger project work (e.g. devising or delivering our educational packages) or further large-scale fund-raising work, the Campaign will allow payment where that work has involved a half-day or more (defined as a minimum of four hours work in a 24 hour period).

What accountability is there?

We have a treasurer who will audit the campaign accounts and there are two signatures needed for any outgoings. The committee members are all volunteers with connections to Plymouth Argyle or other campaigns and charitable causes, and all will ensure the project is delivered responsibly.

What will contributors receive?

There were some fantastic rewards on our Crowdfunder, including limited edition Rob Bullen prints. We aim to make the remaining copies available via this site in the next few weeks.

Anyone who donates £100 or more will get an invite to the unveiling. Larger amounts mean a supporter can be recognised on the statue plinth (see website for details or contact us with enquiries)

Corporate sponsorships are available. If you are a business interested in supporting us then please do get in touch.

HELP

How can individuals help?

Aside from donating to the Crowdfunder, you can do the following…

1 Sign up to our mailing list – we won’t bother you very often, but you will hear news of significant events, progress, our launch and regular updates once we do kick off.

2 Please “tell a friend” about our campaign! We have no marketing budget, so are relying on word of mouth to spread the news. Please forward a link to our site to those you think will find us of interest.

3 Follow! Please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and when following on twitter, please do give us the occasional “like” or retweet – it’s good for our morale! Please post a link to the crowdfunder page on any social media platforms that you use.

How can football clubs, supporter associations, campaign groups or organisations help?

Please consider whether you are willing:

  • to be listed as a supporter,
  • to make a donation, or
  • promote our campaign to your members/colleagues

How can businesses or companies help?

We welcome donations or support from the corporate world and will be happy to acknowledge that support. Significant contributions will be noted on our website, the contributor publicly thanked, and the contributor name listed on our “key supporters” plaque at the completed statue. Invites to the statue unveiling and other events will be extended, as well as media opportunities. See “funding” above. Email us if you’d like to discuss this.

OTHER

What’s all this about renaming a square in Plymouth after Jack Leslie? 

The short answer is that this is nothing to do with us! But as this is a frequently asked question, the longer answer for those interested is as follows:-

Back in June 2020, after we had spoken to Plymouth City Council (PCC) about our campaign but before our Crowdfunder appeal had launched, the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston was pulled down in Bristol, as part of the then on-going Black Lives Matter protests. This led to a national debate about representations of others with links to slavery. PCC announced that they were going to rename Sir John Hawkins Square (an unattractive area behind the Court building, named in the 1980s without consultation after the Elizabethan seafarer and slaver Hawkins)

 The announcement led to a backlash with unpleasant undertones (see eg this excellent report by local political journalist Erin Black)

The Council later announced the square would be named after Jack Leslie. In turn, some discontented locals said they would take the Council to Court to prevent that (the case is ongoing) 

So all of this became a local political tussle, which sadly coincided (and to a small part detracted from) our overwhelmingly positive and avowedly non-political campaign.

To be clear, we did not ask for the square to be renamed, or suggest Jack Leslie as the replacement name. 

Regrettably some parties persist in trying to link the issues, copying us in or communications relating to the change of name and tagging us on social media, even when asked not to do so. 

They are in fact two entirely distinct issues:-

1 Councils are entitled to name or rename their streets and highways, citizens are entitled to form and if they wish express a view as to the merits of that. 

2 We are a statue campaign, with clearly stated aims and objectives, unrelated to (1) above. 

Where can we find out more? (Useful links)

1 Inside Out  -TV programme remembering Jack Leslie http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/southwest/series6/jack_leslie.shtml

2 Article about Jack Leslie by Martin Johnes: https://martinjohnes.com/2019/10/02/jack-leslie-the-man-who-should-have-been-englands-first-black-international-footballer/

3 Article on West Ham site.  https://www.whufc.com/news/articles/2019/october/30-october/black-hammers-celebrating-lives-jack-leslie-and-john-charles

4 Phil Vasili http://www.vasili.co.uk/history-of-black-footballers.html

5 Asif Burhan, blog for Kick It Out, 18/12/2019:-

https://www.kickitout.org/blog/barking-town-plymouth-argyle-and-england-the-story-of-black-pioneer-jack-leslie,

6 coverage of Barking FC partnering with the campaign in the Barking and Dagenham Post here

My question has not been answered! How do we find out further information?

Message us!

This page will be updated as further questions are asked. The committee aims to be open and transparent at all stages.