The ‘heart-breaking, yet inspiring’ biography of Plymouth Argyle legend Jack Leslie, The Lion Who Never Roared, launched with a packed event at Home Park on the anniversary of the England game he was selected for. ORDER SIGNED COPIES HERE.
The audience enjoyed a Q&A with author Matt Tiller hosted by The Athletic’s Richard Amofa, who consulted on and contributed to the book. The event was filmed by the National Football Museum and will be released online as part of its Football Writing Festival.
After talking through Jack’s fascinating story, guests were able to ask their own questions delving into the events of 1925 when the exciting young forward was called up for England but then cruelly denied his chance due to the colour of his skin.
Tiller, a lifelong member of the Green Army who co-founded The Jack Leslie Campaign with his friend and fellow fan Greg Foxsmith. The Lion Who Never Roared is now out in hardback and includes a fantastic section of photographs, many from the Leslie family archive.
It is available from the Argyle superstore and Matt will at the outlet by the Jack Leslie statue at midday on 4th November ahead of the Middlesbrough game to sign books. He’ll have Jack’s honorary cap with him for fans to have a look and take photos too.
Matt said, “The interest Jack’s story has generated in Plymouth and beyond has blown me away. He lived an incredible and pioneering life and it’s been such a joy to research and write it. The feedback from the crowd about the campaign and book was so lovely to hear and people have already been in touch to say how much they are enjoying it. The questions from a very knowledgeable crowd were challenging too, which kept me on my toes, something I really appreciated.“
Football writer Richard Amofa added, “The turnout was quite humbling – I wasn’t expecting to see so many people there. Better still, it was a diverse crowd, from students to the elderly, from Argyle fans to historians and others who were interested in Jack’s story. Better still, they were fully engaged with the story. This was reflected not only in vast number of questions asked by the audience, but by the breadth and depth of them. It really shows how Jack’s story – one of huge injustice, but also of a wonderful life – has struck a chord with so many people, not just football fans.”
Among around one hundred guests were two of Jack Leslie’s granddaughters Lesley and Lyn who shared their memories too. They said, ‘It was such a lovely evening and to hear how much our grandad’s story has affected people and in such a positive way was heart-warming. We loved being a part of it and are so proud that our family story has been preserved in such a loving way.’
Jack’s legendary striking partner was left-wing Sammy Black, who is still Argyle’s all-time top scorer. His daughter, Gloria, and granddaughter, Tracy, attended the event and shared their memories of the diminutive, yet explosive Scot. Gloria said, ‘He was such a quiet man, you would never believe he had been a great footballer.’ The left-wing partners shared a special bond on the pitch and, although Jack moved back to London after his playing career ended while Sammy stayed in Plymouth, they stayed in touch with Jack visiting Sammy’s home when he visited the city after the Second World War.
You can find out more about The Lion Who Never Roared on the Pitch Publishing site HERE.