The Jack Leslie Campaign was launched to build a statue to celebrate Jack Leslie, picked to play for England back in 1925, but then denied his England cap when the selection committee realised he was black. Jack Leslie is best known for his time at Plymouth Argyle, but was born in Canning Town and started his footballing career at Barking FC.
He is a legendary figure for supporters of Barking FC and in the community. The Barking side with Jack Leslie won the Essex Senior cup, and West Ham Charity cup.
And now Barking FC have partnered the Campaign, and are aiming to raise £5000 towards the total target. In return, the club will receive a maquette (a smaller replica of the statue, cast in Bronze)
Barking FC Chairman Rob O’Brien said “100 years ago Jack Leslie played here at Barking as part of a diverse side, before going on to Plymouth Argyle. Our club in the East End of London has always celebrated diversity, both on the pitch and in our fan-base. Racism and prejudice have never been tolerated here, and we were upset to hear that Jack was denied his England place due to the colour of his skin”
Barking FC ﬁrst team manager Justin Gardiner, who has himself suﬀered racism in the past but never at Barking FC, said “we are proud of our legacy, and the players at the club from ﬁrst team to youth team are really diverse, we look at ability not colour”
Local MP Margaret Hodge is also backing the campaign, as reported here. The Crowdfunding target is to raise at least £100,000 to build a statue of Jack Leslie at Home Park, Plymouth. Now Barking FC, together with it’s friends and supporters, have pledged to work to help reach this goal. In return for this partnership, when reaching £3000 the club will receive a mention on the plinth of the full size statue, and then at £5000 a statuette as detailed above. To help them reach this target, you can contribute to the Crowdfunder, and mention Barking in the comments- each of those will count towards Barking’s target as well as the overall campaign.
Campaign Co-founder Greg Foxsmith said, “We have achieved a huge amount in such a short time, but that is all down to Jack Leslie’s story, and the positive way that the people of Barking and beyond have responded . We need everyone to keep telling that story and asking people and local companies and businesses to donate, and we are delighted that Barking FC is partnering with us in reaching our aims and objectives”