FAQs and Contact
You can contact either of the campaign co-founders Greg or Matt by email or phone as below – if you can’t get hold of one of us then please try the other – we both have work and childcare commitments, but one of us will always endeavour to get back to you!
Greg Foxsmith firstname.lastname@example.org 07980 846330
Matt Tiller email@example.com 07887 616408
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- almost certainly the first black footballer to have captained a professional team in England. 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 JACK’S STORY tab on this website!
(You will find under that tab:
“England Came Knocking – But Then The Door Slammed Shut” by Matt Tiller
“Jack Leslie-a short Biography” by Bill Hern,author “Football’s Black Pioneers” (or long version here)
”Jack’s Stats” by John Eales. )
What is the Jack Leslie Campaign?
The campaign started with a Crowdfunded Campaign to raise money for a statue of Jack Leslie in Plymouth (now completed), but also to promote the story of Jack Leslie, using his story to celebrate diversity and combat racism in football (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, not just the football 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, and from the clubs themselves. We have already had incredible support from Barking FC and West Ham United, and Liverpool FC kindly gave us a signed shirt to assist our fundraising. We have even had support from fans of the Devon clubs that are usually sworn rivals of PAFC- see here!
We have been working with The FA, the PFA, the Football Supporters Association, Kick It Out and other organisations to promote diversity and challenge racism in sport throughout our campaign. (see CAMPAIGN SUPPORTERS)
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. For the detail, read articles by Matt Tiller, and Bill HERN (co-author of Football’s Black Pioneers) on our website here.
What do Jack Leslie’s family think of the campaign?
Jack’s daughter, Evelyn, was thrilled when we launched the Campaign, and although she sadly passed away before the statue was unveiled (obituary here) she knew the fundraising target had been reached.
Jack’s granddaughters Lesley, Lyn and Jillian were all delighted he is finally getting the recognition he deserves, and attended the unveiling ceremony together with wider family. Jack’s great-great-nephew George is on our committee. Read “Memories of Grandad Jack”
Who is running the campaign?
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? Or would like to support us or do partnership work moving forward? Get in touch!
Where is it?
The statue of Jack Leslie now proudly stands outside Plymouth Argyle’s stadium, Home Park, Jack Leslie Way, Plymouth.
What was the design and commissioning process?
The aim was for an imposing, landmark bronze full body statue of Jack in his prime on a stone plinth. We were not prescriptive as to the design, and wanted to consider a wide range of prospective sculptors, in consultation with all our key partners, supporters, Plymouth Argyle, City Council and with Jack’s family. The process was fair and transparent.
We eventually selected the amazing and highly regarded Andy Edwards from a shortlist of 4.
How are funds raised and why is the fundraising ongoing?
This is primarily a crowd-funded campaign and we are delighted to have such warm support from the public. The crowdfunder is still open as we plan a legacy fund, and to take Jack’s story into schools. 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 support the campaign and post your own comment, please donate here. Please forward the link to friends, family and colleagues. We spent no money on advertising, and unlike some statue campaigns we did not directly employ a paid fundraiser. We rely heavily on social media (follow us on facebook and/or twitter @jacklesliecamp) 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 may still have the opportunity to have their names immortalised around the statue in some way, or can be a named sponsor on one of our projects.
How can individuals help?
2 Sign up to our mailing list – we won’t bother you very often, but you will hear news of significant events, progress, and future plans.
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, and awareness-raising! Please post a link to the crowdfunder page on any social media platforms that you use.
4 Please “tell a friend” about our campaign! We have no marketing budget, so rely on word of mouth to spread the news. Please forward a link to this site to those you think will find us of interest.
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 players/members/colleagues.
(We are always happy to do presentations)
What was 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 (a little-known area behind the Court building, named in the 1980s without consultation after the Elizabethan seafarer and slaver Hawkins, a cousin of Sir Francis Drake)
There had been a petition to rename the Square after Jack Leslie, and the Council later announced that the Square would indeed be named after Jack. The announcement was warmly welcomed by some, but also criticised by others, leading to a backlash with unpleasant undertones (see eg this excellent report by local political journalist Erin Black)
Later. some local discontents said they would take the Council to Court to prevent that (they lost)
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/
5 Asif Burhan, blog for Kick It Out, 18/12/2019:-
6 coverage of Barking FC partnering with the campaign in the Barking and Dagenham Post here
7 BBC coverage of launch of the campaign https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53184615
8 Sky Sports feature about Jack Leslie and the Campaign here
My question has not been answered! How do we find out further information?
This page will be updated as further questions are asked.