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Statue campaign for Jack Leslie

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A campaign has been launched to erect a statue for Jack Leslie, who was a footballer dropped by the England International team when selectors found out that he was black.

Born in 1900, in London, to an English mother and a Jamaican father, Leslie showed a gift for the game from a young age, playing for Barking Town. 

In 1921, Leslie’s scoring record caught the attention of third-division club Plymouth Argyle. He joined the club in 1921-22 season and stayed for 14 years during which time he made 401 appearances and scored 137 goals. 

In 1925, Leslie was told by Plymouth Argyle manager Bob Jack, that he had been called up to play for England. However, when the England team was later made public in the local newspapers, the star striker was listed as a travelling reserve. Subsequently, he did not even travel with the side to Belfast. 

Leslie went on to help The Pilgrims gain promotion and also achieve a top-four finish in Division Two. He captained the club, but he was never picked to play for England again. 

Leslie’s granddaughter Lesley Hiscott told the BBC: “They weren't watching his football. They were looking at the colour of his skin.

"And because of that, he was denied the chance of playing for his country.”

Now, a group of fans are campaigning for a statue for Leslie, who passed away at the age of 88 in 1988. The campaigns supporters include Viv Anderson, who was selected to play for England in 1978.  

Plymouth Chairman Simon Hallett told BBC News: “Having a statue promoted by our fans is a statement by them that they are joining the fight against racism in football.

History has been written by the winners and I think we are now trying to pay more attention to some of the victims of those victories”

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