Jack Leslie: Plymouth Argyle

Jack Leslie: Plymouth Argyle

John (Jack) Leslie nació en Canning Town, Londres, el 17 de agosto de 1901. Jugó para el equipo local, Barking Town, antes de unirse al Plymouth Argyle en 1921.

Leslie fue una de las primeras jugadoras no blancas en jugar fútbol profesional. Otros incluyeron a Arthur Wharton, Walter Tull, Fred Corbett y Hassan Hegazi.

Leslie jugó como delantero centro y durante los siguientes trece años marcó 131 goles en 383 partidos. En una ocasión, su manager, Bob Jack, le dijo que había sido seleccionado para jugar con Inglaterra. Sin embargo, la invitación a jugar por su país fue retirada. Leslie le dijo al periodista Brian Woolnough: "Deben haber olvidado que era un chico de color".

Leslie se retiró del fútbol profesional en 1934. Más tarde trabajó como miembro del personal de trastienda de su club local, West Ham United.

Jack Leslie murió en 1988.


Es un privilegio absoluto para todos nosotros en Home Park nombrar la sala de juntas en la nueva tribuna Mayflower en honor al gran Jack Leslie.

Pionero del fútbol y jugador consagrado para siempre en los libros de récords de Argyle, Jack Leslie pasó toda su carrera como peregrino. Ahora buscamos a miembros de su familia que nos ayuden a rendir más tributo a este gran hombre.

Jack falleció hace 30 años y pasó su jubilación en Londres, trabajando durante muchos años entre bastidores en West Ham United.

Si alguien conoce los datos de contacto de la familia Jack & rsquos, nos gustaría invitarlos a la nueva sala de juntas Jack Leslie en Home Park para disfrutar de un juego del primer equipo desde la comodidad de la sala de juntas nombrada en su honor.

Envíe cualquier información a nuestro jefe de comunicaciones Rick Cowdery en [email protected]

Nacida de padre jamaicano en 1901, Leslie creció en Canning Town, Londres. Fichó por Argyle de Barking Town en 1921 y, en ese momento, era uno de los pocos jugadores negros que jugaban en Inglaterra durante su tiempo como Pilgrim.

En sus primeras temporadas en Green, luchó por mantener un lugar en el costado. La llegada de Sammy Black, junto con un cambio de posición y ndash de delantero centro a interior izquierdo, vio una mejora drástica en sus actuaciones, y se formó de inmediato un vínculo formidable entre él y Sammy.

En 1922, las exhibiciones de Leslie & rsquos en el lado izquierdo del ataque de Argyle comenzaron a levantar las cejas, tanto que estaba al margen de una convocatoria internacional de Inglaterra. Se mantuvo constantemente llamativo y finalmente fue recompensado por su forma, o eso pensó.

Leslie fue informado por su manager de Argyle, Bob Jack, que había sido seleccionado para jugar con Inglaterra, y más tarde recordó cómo fue & ldquoknoqueado de lado & rdquo al escuchar las buenas noticias.

Sin embargo, posteriormente recibió una comunicación cancelando su convocatoria y, cuando se anunció formalmente el equipo, Billy Walker, de Aston Villa, había tomado su lugar. Jack nunca más tuvo la oportunidad de jugar para su país.

Años después del incidente, cuando él era parte del equipo de trastienda en West Ham United y su equipo local, Leslie afirmó que: & ldquoEllos [la jerarquía de selección] deben haber olvidado que yo era un chico de color & rdquo como la razón por la que lo dejaron.

Dijo: "Escuché, indirectamente, que la FA había venido a verme de nuevo. No al fútbol, ​​sino a la cara. Preguntaron y descubrieron que habían hecho un raquitismo. Se enteró de mí, papá, y eso fue todo.

& ldquoHubo un poco de alboroto en los periódicos. La gente de la ciudad estaba muy disgustada. Nadie me dijo nunca como oficial, pero esa tenía que ser la razón por la que mi mamá era inglesa, pero mi papá era negro como el as de espadas. No había ninguna otra razón para quitarme la gorra. & Rdquo

Leslie debería haber sido el primer jugador negro en jugar para Inglaterra, Inglaterra tuvo que esperar más de 50 años para ver al primer futbolista negro representar a su país & ndash Nottingham Forest & rsquos Viv Anderson contra Checoslovaquia en un amistoso en Wembley en 1978.

En los 41 años transcurridos desde entonces, 91 jugadores de BAME han representado a Inglaterra.

Simon dijo: & ldquoUno de los valores del club & rsquos es el respeto, lo que significa que haremos todo lo posible para erradicar la discriminación por cualquier motivo.

"La discriminación por motivos de raza es algo que está cerca de mi corazón y del corazón de mi esposa y mis amigos y algo que mis hijos han intentado combatir activamente.

"Por lo tanto, creo que es importante que Argyle, como un club impulsado por valores, demuestre que estamos comprometidos con erradicar el racismo y que ese compromiso comienza desde lo más alto, por lo tanto, nombra la sala de juntas y ndash donde están las grandes decisiones en Argyle.
tomado & ndash después de Jack Leslie. & rdquo

JACK LESLIE

Plymouth Argyle 1921-1934. 401 juegos. 137 goles. Pionero


No hay futbolistas negros para Inglaterra

Leslie demostró ser un máximo goleador, con el récord de más goles anotados en la liga (35) entre 1927 y 1929, pero esto todavía no era suficiente para los funcionarios que creían que no estaba en condiciones de unirse a la estimada selección nacional.

& # 8220 Descubrieron que era un moreno y supongo que fue como descubrir que era extranjero. & # 8221

Esto hizo añicos los sueños de Leslie de una carrera internacional.

Él le comentó a su compañero de equipo Pilgrims y luego periodista Brian Woolnough:

& # 8220 Deben haber olvidado que era un chico de color. & # 8221

Jack Leslie se retiró en 1934, luego se fue a trabajar para su club local West Ham United como parte de su equipo de trastienda.


ARTÍCULOS RELACIONADOS

El presidente del Consejo de Jefes de la Policía Nacional, Martin Hewitt, dijo anteriormente que más de 130 agentes han resultado "heridos de una forma u otra" en las manifestaciones.

Unas 137 personas han sido arrestadas, mientras que otras han sido multadas por infringir las reglas de bloqueo de Covid-19.

Las fuerzas policiales en Avon y Somerset han sido criticadas por no poder evitar que los manifestantes derriben la estatua de Edward Colston en Bristol, y se dice que la secretaria del Interior, Priti Patel, tuvo una conversación `` firme '' con los jefes de policía de la zona.

Leslie, a la izquierda, que jugó en el Plymouth Argyle de 1922 a 1934, se convertiría en el primer jugador negro en representar a Inglaterra hasta que se les dijo a los selectores que era negro.

Se ve un punto de información junto a un letrero vacío en la antigua plaza Sir John Hawkins. El letrero fue retirado a raíz de las protestas contra la muerte de George Floyd.

Desde la remoción de Colston, ha habido llamados a las autoridades locales para que intervengan y determinen si los monumentos de personajes históricos deben ser removidos en base a antecedentes cuestionables relacionados con la era colonial.

El jefe de policía de Essex, Ben-Julian Harrington, dijo que las fuerzas policiales están apoyando a los consejos para evaluar si una estatua debe ser removida, en un intento por evitar escenas como las de Bristol.

La muerte de Floyd a manos de la policía de Minneapolis ha provocado una gran cantidad de protestas en los Estados Unidos, el Reino Unido y en todo el mundo.

El sitio web de Topple The Racists ha nombrado 78 estatuas y monumentos que "celebran la esclavitud y el racismo".

Un letrero dice que Hawkins fue un 'actor clave en los inicios del comercio de esclavos africanos' y dice que es 'importante reconocer' que, ahora, sus 'acciones serían controvertidas'

El 9 de junio, los trabajadores derribaron una estatua del traficante de esclavos del siglo XVIII Robert Milligan desde su lugar en West India Quay en los muelles de Londres.

Ese mismo día, más de mil manifestantes en Oxford exigieron la remoción de una estatua del colonialista Cecil Rhodes, un imperialista que brindó apoyo filantrópico al Oriel College de la Universidad de Oxford, donde se encuentra el monumento.

La junta directiva de la universidad ha decidido ahora que quieren quitar la estatua, junto con la placa de King Edward Street, pero se establecerá una comisión independiente para la estatua antes de que se tomen medidas.

Huw Thomas, líder del Consejo de Cardiff, respaldó la remoción de una estatua de Sir Thomas Picton, un esclavista y líder militar. Describió el monumento al ex gobernador de Trinidad como una 'afrenta' a los negros.

El líder del consejo de Edimburgo, Adam McVey, dijo que no sentiría "ningún sentimiento de pérdida" si se retirara una estatua de Henry Dundas, quien retrasó la abolición de la esclavitud.

¿Quién era Sir John Hawkins?

Sir John Hawkins fue un administrador y comandante naval inglés y el arquitecto principal de la marina isabelina.

Nacido en 1532 en Plymouth, fue comerciante africano antes de convertirse en el primer comerciante de esclavos inglés.

Desató el conflicto con los españoles al transportar esclavos de Guinea, África Occidental, a las Indias Occidentales españolas.

En un viaje se vio obligado a buscar refugio cerca de Veracruz en México y fue atacado por una flota española en el puerto, pero logró escapar.

Notificó al gobierno de un complot de los católicos ingleses, con la ayuda de España, para deponer a la reina Isabel y sentar a María Estuardo, reina de Escocia, en el trono.

Reemplazó a su suegro como tesorero de la marina en 1577 y participó en el diseño de los barcos que se utilizaron para luchar contra la Armada española en 1588, durante el cual fue tercero al mando.

¿Quién era Jack Leslie?

Jack Leslie fue el único jugador negro profesional en Inglaterra entre 1921 y 1934 mientras jugaba para Plymouth Argyle.

Formó una asociación legendaria con el jugador exterior izquierdo Sammy Black.

Leslie estaba a punto de convertirse en el primer jugador no blanco en representar a Inglaterra hasta que a los selectores se les dijo que era negro.

Bob Jack, su gerente, le dijo que había sido seleccionado, pero que luego se eliminó la invitación.

En ese momento, le dijo a un periodista: 'Deben haber olvidado que era un niño de color'.

Nacido en 1901 en Canning Town, Londres, jugó para Barking Town antes de unirse a Argyle, jugando como delantero centro.

Leslie anotó 137 goles para Argyle en 401 apariciones, el cuarto máximo goleador de todos los tiempos para el club.

Se retiró del fútbol profesional en 1934 y más tarde se convirtió en un botín de un club en su área, West Ham United, y falleció en 1988.


Plymouth Square será renombrado después del pionero jugador de Argyle negro

Una plaza en Plymouth que lleva el nombre de un traficante de esclavos cambiará el nombre de un futbolista negro pionero que jugó para Plymouth Argyle.

El Ayuntamiento ha propuesto cambiar el nombre de Sir John Hawkins Square por Jack Leslie.

Fue el único jugador negro profesional en Inglaterra cuando jugó para el club entre 1921 y 1934.

Se cree que Jack se convertiría en el primer jugador negro en representar a Inglaterra, pero se le negó la oportunidad cuando los selectores se enteraron de que era un "hombre de color de cuotas".

No fue hasta finales de la década de 1970 que apareció el primer jugador negro con una camiseta de Inglaterra.

Jack era el único jugador negro profesional en Inglaterra cuando jugó para el club entre 1921 y 1934, después de haber marcado más de 137 goles para Argyle en 401 apariciones.

Sigue siendo el cuarto máximo goleador de todos los tiempos de Pilgrims & # x27.

goles de Jack Leslie para el Plymouth Argyle

El consejo acordó cambiar el nombre del comerciante de esclavos isabelino Sir John Hawkins después de que se estableciera una petición para "ayudar a Plymouth a convertirse en una ciudad que defienda la igualdad y la compasión".

El líder del Ayuntamiento de Plymouth, Tudor Evans, dice que la autoridad ha "escuchado a aquellos que encontraron el nombre relativamente reciente de la plaza después de la ofensiva de Hawkins y lo están cambiando".

Hemos presentado una serie de posibles nombres nuevos y creemos que nombrar el cuadrado en honor a Jack Leslie sería muy apropiado dado su papel pionero como jugador negro en el fútbol inglés.

Según el concejal Evans, la autoridad "no busca reescribir la historia y no estamos diciendo que debamos olvidarnos de Hawkins".

“Fue sin duda una figura importante en nuestra historia nacional. Podemos recordar y reconocer esto de una manera que cuenta una historia más completa sobre su vida y no lo conmemora de una manera que ofenda ".

Dice que se dará un relato de la vida y los hechos de Hawkins & # x27 en el nuevo Centro de Artes de la Ciudad & # x27.

El concejal Chris Penberthy, miembro del gabinete de Vivienda y Desarrollo Cooperativo y concejal de St Peter and the Waterfront Ward, dice que nombrar la plaza en honor a Jack Leslie & quot; sería una manera maravillosa de reconocer el gran papel que tiene no solo en la herencia de Argyle de Plymouth, sino también en el fútbol nacional & quot.

Como el único jugador profesional negro en ese momento, fue un pionero. Lamentablemente, también tuvo que lidiar con la discriminación, lo que significó que se le negó la oportunidad de representar a su país.


Puedes leer más artículo este mes.

Una campaña impulsada por fanáticos recaudó más de £ 100,000 en solo seis semanas, para financiar la comisión de una estatua en las afueras de Home Park en Plymouth para honrar al primer futbolista negro elegido para jugar para Inglaterra.

En diciembre pasado, el Morning Star publicó un artículo celebrando la vida del olvidado delantero del Plymouth Argyle Jack Leslie, quien fue elegido para comenzar con la selección nacional de Inglaterra contra Irlanda en octubre de 1925, solo para que su lugar fuera revocado una vez que el comité de selección internacional de la FA se dio cuenta de que Leslie , hijo de un trabajador instalador de gas de Jamaica, era negro.

Matt Tiller, músico, comediante, escritor y productor de comedia televisiva, inició la campaña para honrar a Leslie junto a su compañero fan de Plymouth Greg Foxsmith.

Tiller admitió que “cuando escuché la historia de Jack el año pasado, al principio me avergoncé de no conocer esta increíble pieza de la historia del fútbol y luego decidí escribir una canción que a mi pequeña, pero leal base de fans, parece gustarle. Eso incluye a Greg Foxsmith, también fan de Plymouth Argyle, y juntos decidimos celebrar los logros de este jugador pionero y recaudar fondos para construir una estatua ".

Tiller y Foxsmith lanzaron una campaña de financiación colectiva el 1 de julio, que inicialmente generó una gran publicidad a nivel nacional.

“Ambos hemos llevado a cabo proyectos”, explicó Tiller. “Greg es un activista y abogado con bastante experiencia. ¿Mi trabajo diario? Soy un productor de televisión. Realmente no sabíamos lo que estábamos haciendo hasta que comenzamos, pero simplemente lo hicimos ".

Diputados como Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas y Emily Thornberry han apoyado los esfuerzos de recaudación de fondos del dúo en sus cuentas de redes sociales, así como celebridades como Arabella Weir, Josh Widdicombe y Gary Lineker.

Se subastaron obras de arte donadas y camisetas firmadas, y Tiller, que ha sido aclamado por la crítica actuando en el Festival Fringe de Edimburgo, incluso lanzó un sencillo "The Ballad of Jack Leslie", una canción popular moderna que cuenta la historia de la carrera de Leslie, para ayudar a recaudar fondos.

“Ha sido un esfuerzo acumulativo”, dijo, “con más y más personas subiendo a bordo. Las celebridades con grandes seguidores en Twitter ayudaron enormemente, lo ves en las donaciones.

“Al principio, contar con el apoyo de Plymouth Argyle fue bastante crucial, realmente galvanizó al 'Ejército Verde' y a todas las organizaciones que lo rodean: los fideicomisos de fanáticos y los foros de Internet. Muchas organizaciones se unieron para recaudar fondos o donaron grandes cantidades. Además, la financiación del Plymouth Council fue bastante masiva.

“Lo que ha sido realmente sorprendente con la cobertura nacional es que la historia ha resonado más allá de Plymouth, lo cual es fantástico. Hemos tenido el apoyo de personas que no son fanáticos del fútbol, ​​personas de diferentes clubes, no solo de aquellos con los que estaba asociado, sino también de otros lugares. Es brillante ver eso.

“Una de las mejores cosas de la campaña es ver los recuerdos de Jack que se manifiestan. Verá mensajes en el crowdfunder, como: "Estoy publicando esto en nombre de mi abuelo de 90 años que recuerda a Jack como un gran jugador".

“El presidente de Barking FC escribió un mensaje en las redes sociales que decía:“ Mi difunto padre me dijo que Jack era el mejor jugador que había visto jugar para Barking en sus más de 60 años viendo los Blues. 'La positividad ha sido asombrosa . "

La campaña también ha contado con el respaldo de The FA, pero no llegaron a disculparse por negarse a interpretar a Leslie en 1925.

El presidente de la FA, Greg Dyke, dijo: “Historias como esta son increíblemente tristes. La discriminación en el juego, en cualquier forma o período de tiempo, es inaceptable.

“Siempre debemos recordar a pioneros como Jack Leslie y estar agradecidos de que el fútbol esté en un lugar muy diferente hoy. Estamos muy contentos de apoyar esta campaña que, con suerte, asegurará que la carrera de Jack sea debidamente reconocida ".

Antes de morir en 1988, Leslie terminó trabajando en Upton Park durante 15 años, limpiando las botas de los jugadores del West Ham United que ignoraban sus hazañas goleadoras anteriores.

Apoyando la campaña, Sir Trevor Brooking dijo: “¡Lo increíble fue que ninguno de nosotros, yo, Geoff Hurst o Bobby Moore incluidos, sabíamos que él era un jugador! Jack nunca mencionó lo humilde que era.

“Me asombré cuando leí sobre la campaña y me enteré de la historia de Jack en el juego. Ojalá nos lo hubiera dicho en ese momento, pero ese fue Jack y estoy encantado de apoyar la campaña para que se erija una estatua en Home Park en su honor ".

El exfutbolista Clyde Best, que jugó para el West Ham durante siete temporadas desde 1969, tampoco sabía que Leslie había jugado profesionalmente y había sufrido el mismo prejuicio con el que estaba lidiando, pero más de 45 años antes.

“Lo llamábamos tío Jack e íbamos a recogerle las botas cuando teníamos viajes fuera de casa o lo traíamos después de un partido en casa y él se ocupaba de todo por nosotros.

“En el momento en que jugué fue difícil, pero descubrir por lo que Jack tuvo que pasar, estoy seguro de que fue mucho más difícil. Él habría estado solo, al igual que yo estaba solo y eso te convierte en una persona diferente cuando tienes que enfrentar eso. Me alegro de que la gente se haya unido para conseguir algo que él se merece, una estatua ".

Es probable que la estatua de bronce de Jack Leslie esté cerca de la tribuna Mayflower de Home Park. Tiller, que planea utilizar los fondos excedentes recaudados del crowdfunder para financiar el trabajo educativo en torno al proyecto, espera que "haya más por venir más allá de la campaña".

La nieta de Leslie, Lyn Davies, dijo: “Estamos encantados de que la historia de Jack finalmente reciba la atención que merece y la canción de Matt sobre el abuelo es maravillosa. Me hizo llorar al pensar en él, en la injusticia que sucedió, pero también en cómo siguió adelante con tanta gracia y humildad ".


Campaña Jack Leslie: & # 8220Tiempo para que los seguidores sepan su nombre & # 8221

Mientras los debates se desatan alrededor de la estatuaria de la nación, los fanáticos de Plymouth Argyle luchan para que uno de sus mejores jugadores sea honrado. Aquí Matt Tiller nos cuenta sobre la campaña Jack Leslie, un movimiento para lograr que un jugador negro pionero sea reconocido en Home Park & ​​# 8230

Conocer la historia de Jack Leslie el año pasado fue un shock para el sistema. ¿Por qué no lo sabía? Cuando era un joven fanático del Plymouth Argyle en los años ochenta, solo me interesaban Tommy Tynan y los héroes de la Copa FA de 1984 y # 8211, un equipo de tercera división, hicimos las semifinales en las que perdimos ante Watford.

El pasado lejano del club simplemente no cruzó por mi mente. Es nuestra responsabilidad reconocer las fallas del pasado para ayudarnos a abordar el problema del presente.

Desde no contextualizar las figuras del pasado que se conmemoran en bronce hasta los incidentes de racismo en el deporte profesional ahora, este no es el momento de felicitarnos por lo lejos que hemos llegado. El racismo todavía está aquí. Pregúntale a Ian Wright. Pregúntale a cualquier persona de color dentro o fuera del mundo del fútbol. Solo mira las noticias.

Pero qué historia es Jack's y qué jugador vale la pena recordar y celebrar. Su equipo Argyle realizó una gira por América del Sur en 1924 venciendo a Argentina y Uruguay. Jack les ayudó a ganar el ascenso en 1930 & # 8211 como capitán del equipo en sus últimos años.

Su reputación como goleador y creador se extendió por todas partes, lo que llevó a la convocatoria de Inglaterra. Por supuesto, en la campaña no solo queremos que se corrija ese error histórico, sino que también queremos que la gente comprenda la relevancia de la historia para los problemas actuales. Porque es solo a través de la educación y la empatía que podemos erradicar un prejuicio que se aferra amargamente.

Retrato de Jack Leslie | © Creative Commons, Wikipedia

En 1925, estoy seguro de que a Jack no le sorprendió que nunca ganara esa gorra de Inglaterra. Cuando finalmente se seleccionó a Viv Anderson en 1978, Jack fue entrevistado sobre su historia y dijo que sentía que era solo una de esas cosas. En sus palabras: "Descubrieron que era un moreno y supongo que fue como descubrir que era extranjero".

Entonces, ¿cómo sabemos que Leslie debería haber sido el primer futbolista negro de Inglaterra? Existe el testimonio del propio Jack de que lo llamaron a la oficina de su gerente para que le dijeran que había sido elegido para Inglaterra en el juego contra Irlanda y que la noticia fue la comidilla de Plymouth. No veo ninguna razón para no creerle.

Y hay evidencia de archivo de la selección que luego fue anulada. Un artículo de prensa en el Nottingham Journal el 6 de octubre de 1925 nombra a Leslie en ese equipo de Inglaterra. Y sobre su misteriosa eliminación, un periodista local escribió: “Desafortunadamente, mi pluma está prohibida en este asunto, pero puedo decir que se cometió un error en Londres y me lo transmitieron. De todos modos, Leslie en ese momento estaba jugando lo suficientemente bien como para ser elegida ".

Cómo y por qué ocurrió este "desliz" de la FA sigue siendo un misterio y me encantaría saber más.

Parece incomprensible que el comité de selección no hubiera sabido que era negro, ya que había jugado profesionalmente durante varios años y su apariencia a menudo se comentó. Así que debe haber habido uno o más selectores de la FA que decidieron poner a Jack en el equipo. ¿Por qué otra razón habrían viajado y publicado las noticias?

Así que parece cierto que alguien, o más de una persona, intervino para negarle a Jack Leslie su gorra. En 1933, un periódico nacional dijo: "Si hubiera sido blanco, habría sido un cierto internacional inglés".

Jack Leslie fue, al menos, un héroe en Plymouth como piedra angular del equipo durante más de una década. Su familia cuenta lo bien que lo querían en la ciudad y que recibió una ovación de pie cuando regresó de visita en los años sesenta.

Esos seguidores que animan siempre serán el alma de cualquier club. Son los aficionados los que se movilizan en torno a sus clubes en esta época de crisis haciendo todo lo posible para ayudarlos a sobrevivir. Y si bien algunos fanáticos, por supuesto, han sido culpables de incidentes racistas, los cánticos de monos y el lanzamiento de plátanos que avergonzaron las gradas de los años setenta y ochenta, el movimiento antirracista en respuesta ha venido desde cero, desde jugadores y fanáticos hasta ser abrazado por clubes.

Y es por eso que el apoyo de la Asociación de Aficionados al Fútbol es tan bienvenido por la Campaña de Jack Leslie mientras buscamos contar la historia y continuar la lucha contra este flagelo en el deporte y la sociedad.

Los logros de Jack lo distinguen como una figura histórica que la ciudad de Plymouth debería reconocer y celebrar. Pero esa gloria de Inglaterra, cruelmente negada, lo marca como una figura de importancia nacional.

El primer partido internacional de Jack Leslie habría llegado cuando estaba madurando como jugador y, si se hubiera concedido, podría haberlo convertido en un elemento fijo de la selección nacional en los años venideros.

Es hora de que los seguidores de todo el mundo conozcan su nombre y de que se construya una estatua que merezca su lugar.

Jack Leslie & # 8211 137 goles en 401 apariciones para Plymouth Argyle (1921-1934). Seleccionado para apariciones en Inglaterra (1925)… ninguna.


Pioneros del fútbol: Jack Leslie

Nacido en 1901 de padre jamaicano en Canning Town, Jack Leslie había jugado para el club local Barking Town antes de unirse al Plymouth Argyle en 1921.

Jugó 14 temporadas en Home Park, haciendo 401 apariciones. Fue un goleador prolífico, anotando 137 goles, 22 de ellos durante la campaña 1928/29.

En 1931/32, el club perdió por poco el ascenso a Primera División. Creador y anotador de goles, desarrolló una célebre asociación con el exterior izquierdo escocés Sammy Black.

Leslie fue una figura clave en el equipo de Plymouth durante más de una década. Como capitán del equipo a principios de la década de 1930, actuó como portavoz y representante de los jugadores en los eventos del club y en las negociaciones con los directores. Cuando el club experimentó con viajes aéreos para viajes largos, fue Leslie, como capitana, a quien se invitó por primera vez a volar.

Fue descrito como "un capitán inspirador". Un periódico local lo recordó como "un estratega de calidad excepcional" y "uno de los mejores jugadores que jamás haya usado una camiseta de Argyle".

Para el corresponsal de fútbol de The People, fue "uno de los más grandes intrigantes del fútbol inglés".

En 1931, el entrenador de un club rival de Segunda División se preguntó por qué los selectores de Inglaterra no habían "pasado por alto a Leslie".

De hecho ya lo habían hecho. Aunque el año exacto sigue sin estar claro, Leslie recordó más tarde que lo llamaron a la oficina del gerente de Plymouth para que le dijeran que había sido seleccionado para Inglaterra.

Pero la decisión nunca se hizo pública y fue reemplazado por Billy Walker de Aston Villa. Afectada por una serie de lesiones, Leslie se retiró en 1935.

Después de unos años en Truro dirigiendo un pub, regresó al fútbol como entrenador de su antiguo club Barking Town en 1938.

Cuando el periodista Brian Woolnough lo alcanzó durante la temporada 1982/83, Leslie estaba trabajando en la sala de botas del West Ham.

Murió en 1988 y tiende a ser recordado ahora como el hombre que estuvo a punto de convertirse en el primer jugador negro en aparecer con una camiseta de Inglaterra.

Durante varias temporadas, el Leicester City Football Club ha trabajado con el Centro Internacional de Historia del Deporte y Cultura de la Universidad De Montfort en varios proyectos patrimoniales. Esta temporada, el personal y los estudiantes del Centro contarán con los jugadores que fueron pioneros que contribuyeron al crecimiento y desarrollo del juego.

Para obtener más información sobre la historia del deporte en DMU, ​​haga clic AQUÍ.


Jack Leslie: Plymouth Argyle - Historia

Jack Vidler, máximo goleador en 1934-35 y más de 100 goles en sus 10 años en Home Park

El Plymouth Argyle se había convertido en un equipo de segundo nivel establecido en la temporada 1934-35, y aunque la lista de partidos contenía nombres como Manchester United, Newcastle y West Ham, el club y los fanáticos eran optimistas sobre la campaña que se avecinaba. Hubo una creencia continua en el equipo y una fe considerable en Bob Jack, quien se declaró satisfecho con los jugadores existentes, especialmente si podían mantenerse libres de lesiones. La principal preocupación era por el gran Jack Leslie, que se había perdido la mayor parte de la temporada anterior después de que el encaje de un balón le hubiera causado una grave lesión en el ojo. El portero escocés George McKenzie fue el único nuevo fichaje significativo, aunque Harry Cann siguió siendo la primera opción, con Bill Harper también en reserva. Los laterales y los medios se mantuvieron iguales y los delanteros volverían a confiar en Jimmy Cookson para marcar sus goles.

Solo se ganó uno de los primeros diez juegos, una victoria por 6-4 sobre Hull City en el primer juego en casa de la temporada, que incluyó un hat-trick para Jack Vidler. Esa mala forma inicial se vio agravada por una lesión en la rodilla de Cookson, el máximo goleador de la temporada anterior, que resultó en una operación para extirpar un cartílago y una ausencia del primer equipo de más de un año. Sin embargo, el equipo cobró buena forma, coincidiendo con la llegada de un nuevo centro, Johnny McNeil, del fútbol juvenil escocés, y ganó diez de sus siguientes quince partidos, empatando otros tres. Como era de esperar, los Pilgrims perdieron cuatro juegos seguidos antes de ganar ocho de sus últimos trece. Al final, Argyle terminó la temporada en un octavo lugar meritorio, y Vidler aprovechó la oportunidad que le presentó la lesión de Cookson para terminar como máximo goleador con 21 goles.

El legendario Jack Leslie [ver también 'Estrellas de los años veinte' en el Capítulo 13]

Once jugadores se marcharon al final de la temporada. Entre ellos, Jack Pullen dejó el club debido a una lesión, y George McKenzie y Jack Demellweek fueron a Southend para unirse al famoso hijo de Robert Jack, David, pero, con mucho, la partida más notable fue la desafortunada Jack Leslie. A pesar de las grandes esperanzas al comienzo de la campaña, la lesión en el ojo de Leslie le impidió jugar hasta finales de diciembre, y esa resultó ser su única aparición de la temporada. Fue un final largo, interminable y muy triste para su magnífica carrera con Argyle, y al final de la temporada se le dio una transferencia gratuita. Jack Leslie fue uno de los jugadores más populares en llevar la camiseta de Argyle, y su récord de juego en 14 temporadas en el club habla por sí solo: el cuarto en la lista de goleadores de todos los tiempos con 137 goles en 401 partidos. Pero fue su asociación del flanco izquierdo con Sammy Black lo que fue quizás el logro más notable de todos. La pareja jugó juntos 327 veces asombrosas, una asociación que se dijo que era la mejor en toda la Liga de Fútbol. Más tarde ese año, Leslie se convirtió en la mitad central de Truro City en la Plymouth & District League, y más tarde se convirtió en la propietaria de un pub de Truro.

Los directores volvieron a informar una pérdida comercial, pero se redujeron a 1.650 libras esterlinas. El mal tiempo fue un factor importante en la reducción de los ingresos en la puerta, cayendo en 1.321 libras esterlinas. Las ventas de boletos de temporada bajaron al igual que las puertas de los equipos de reserva. En respuesta, se había producido un recorte en la masa salarial general y pequeños ahorros en facturas de viaje y hotel. Se dijo que el club tenía una deuda total de 6.000 libras esterlinas y, al final de la temporada, Bob Jack se vio obligado a informar a los jugadores que los directores estaban luchando por encontrar el dinero para pagar sus salarios.

El 2 de abril de 1935, se anunció la muerte del Sr. John Dawson Spooner en su casa de Yelverton a la edad de 68 años. Además de miembro activo del club amateur en la década de 1890, John Dawson, un soltero, ayudó a sus hermanos a formar el club profesional en 1903, y sirvió en la junta directiva durante las primeras tres temporadas de Plymouth Argyle. Con la reforma de la sociedad anónima en 1910, JD volvió a ser consejero, cargo que cumplió durante 25 años hasta su fallecimiento, aunque la mala salud le había impedido asistir a las reuniones del consejo en sus últimos meses. Si bien se decía que su hermano Clarence era el arquitecto del club profesional, nadie jugó un papel más importante en su desarrollo durante los siguientes 30 años que John Dawson Spooner.

Titulares dramáticos en el Western Morning News.

Cuatro semanas después, y cuatro días antes del último partido de la temporada (en casa ante el Manchester United), el resto de directores se reunió en Home Park con un grupo de reconocidos empresarios locales. Tras casi cuatro horas de deliberación, se acordó que el actual consejo de siete personas dimitiría y sería sustituido por un nuevo consejo de quince, el máximo permitido por los estatutos de la empresa. E. Elliot Square, un destacado abogado de la ciudad, había sido presidente de Argyle durante 16 temporadas, dirigiendo al club desde una temporada en la Liga del Sur después de la Primera Guerra Mundial a un club de la Liga de Fútbol bien establecido, que ahora estaba cerca de Primera División. El vicepresidente Alfred Gard, que se había desempeñado como director durante 25 años, también dimitió, al igual que Hubert Papps, director desde la guerra, pero los otros cuatro fueron elegidos para la nueva junta.

Teniente Coronel T.R. McCready fue elegido nuevo presidente de Plymouth Argyle. Born in Plymouth in 1883, Thomas Robert McCready served in the Machine Gun Corp in the First World War, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and was mentioned in dispatches in April 1918 for his "distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty". After the war he practised as a solicitor in Plymouth (although the 1911 census describes him as an accountant), and incidentally, one of his long-standing clients was the club's president, 'Archie' Ballard. Clarence Spooner stepped in as the new vice-chairman, some 30 years after his last time in the boardroom, so maintaining the Spooner name on the board.

After the landmark meeting, the newly-elected chairman explained that the burden of the club's long-term debt was in the region of 9,000, and with no means to provide summer wages or increase the playing strength, the old board had either to transfer some of their best players or reorganise the board to provide increased capital.

The eleven new directors were all local sportsmen who also represented a wide range of business activity, and amongst them was James Clifford Tozer, the son of the founder of Messrs J.C. Tozer Ltd, the well-known Plymouth drapers and furnishers. In 1912, at just 23 years old, Clifford Tozer had been elected as a member of Devonport Borough Council, and in 1921 he became a Plymouth Borough councillor. He was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1929 and became Mayor of Plymouth for 1930-31. In 1937, two years after his elevation to the Argyle boardroom, he was selected to become an Alderman of the City of Plymouth. A year later he became Argyle's vice-chairman, followed six months on by his election as chairman, and in 1939 he was knighted by King George VI for his public and political services in Plymouth.

When football resumed after the Second World War, Alderman Sir J. Clifford Tozer JP continued as Argyle's chairman, and after Clarence Spooner's death in 1952, he became Argyle's president, a role he fulfilled for 16 years. He was also chairman of Plymouth's Reconstruction Committee and in 1952 was honoured with the Freedom of the City of Plymouth. Two years later he served as the city's Lord Mayor.

James Clifford Tozer died in 1970, the end of a life of outstanding public service, but also the end of 35 years of devotion to his football club, which began on that day in April 1935.

The reconstituted board's urgent priority was to increase the football company's capital. At the annual shareholders' meeting on 28th June 1935, a resolution was unanimously adopted that the capital of the company be increased from 4,000 to 15,000 by the creation of 44,000 new Ordinary shares of five shillings each. A fortnight later a mass meeting was held in the Guildhall to launch the campaign. The board's slogan 'First Division Football for Plymouth' had fired the public's imagination, and the Guildhall, which had been decorated for the occasion in green and black by Messrs Dingle & Co, was packed to capacity and speeches had to be relayed to an estimated 1,000 in the square outside.

The Arsenal manager, Mr George Allison, was a guest speaker at the Guildhall.

Before the meeting opened there was a programme of community singing, led by Mr Harry Grose and assisted by the band of the Devon & Cornwall Heavy Brigade. Thomas McCready began a series of speeches, explaining that the purpose of the meeting was to direct the club's appeal to the citizens of Plymouth in general and to the business community in particular, and also to the body of supporters in Devon and Cornwall. After listing the broad intentions of the share sale, the chairman said it was the considered opinion of the directors that the additional share capital was absolutely necessary to place the company in a sound financial position and to secure First Division football for Plymouth. He explained that the company was incorporated in 1920 with a share capital of 1,000, which was considered to be sufficient for the Southern League team. A few years later the capital was increased to 4,000, but he had been unable to trace any serious attempt to actually raise it. When he took over as chairman of the board, the subscribed share capital amounted to only 2,016.

Mr McCready went on to explain why, in his view, the club had found it difficult to make ends meet. When Argyle secured promotion to the Second Division in 1930, a spirit of optimism prevailed and that was the opportunity to obtain more capital, but "a glorious opportunity was lost". The directors at the time considered that an immediate and large expenditure was required to cope with Second Division football, and they incurred liabilities of up to 12,000 in building the necessary new Home Park stands. His point was that the stands were essential, but the money for them should have come out of capital and not out of revenue. Whilst the directors judged that the revenue from bigger attendances would be sufficient to provide for that heavy capital charge, the result was there was very little money left for anything else. With the burden of bank charges and the decrease in gates because of the economic climate and especially bad weather that season, the directors found themselves in the position that they could no longer find the money to support a team worthy of a Second Division football club. In April they were in great difficulty. There was no hope of any revenue until the following season, and they had to face a large debt to local tradesmen, the payment of summer wages and the need to strengthen weak spots in the team, in addition to the "horrible bugbear" of the bank overdraft. The football club's only realisable assets were the transfer values of its players, and transfer was the only alternative at that time. "This was suicide it was murder," Mr McCready declared. "If the transfers had been accomplished it would have set back Plymouth Argyle for so many years that it would be extremely doubtful if it had any chance of recovery."

The scenes of enthusiasm that marked the reception of speeches were eclipsed only by the remarkable manner in which the invitation to take up new shares was accepted. A representative from Messrs Dilleigh & Co rose from the body of the hall and offered to take up 100 worth of shares. He was immediately followed by a Spooners' representative, who pledged to purchase 150 worth. This was the signal for a succession of similar actions from the floor, which continued for half an hour, and approximately 6,000 shares, representing a value of 1,500, were taken before the meeting closed.

Three months later the chairman described the response to the share appeal as "wretchedly disappointing". 260 applications had been received for 8,817 shares to the total value of 2,204 5s. Mr McCready added: "It was anticipated that many of the business firms in Plymouth would have supported the club's appeal more generously. Only a few firms have come up to expectation." The Western Morning News commented that the business community of Plymouth, by their lack of response, did not appreciate the value of the Argyle club to the trade of Plymouth, and reported that some firms that had refused had benefited considerably from the activities of the club.

Whilst we think of Robert Jack as Argyle's manager, his actual title was secretary-manager, reflecting his enormous appetite for work and his wide range of administrative activities over and above the management of the team. The new directors, clear in their ambition for First Division football, set about a review of the backroom staff - many of whom were of 'advancing' years - and one of their first actions was to appoint A.H. Cole as assistant-secretary, effectively an understudy for the administration aspects of the manager's work. Bob Cole, a civil servant, had been Propaganda Secretary of the Supporters' Club (what we might think of as advertising/marketing in today's terms) and was one of its founder-members. Other changes followed, including the departure of Tommy Haynes, the former Argyle FC player who retired after 25 years as chief trainer. Bill Harper was appointed in his place. New players included Bill Gooney, a wing half from Sheffield United and once captain of England Schoolboys, and Jackie Smith from Barnsley, who was a talented player despite his lack of inches. Arthur Eggleston arrived from Bury to add punch to the forward line.

Argyle at Port Vale in September 1935.

Back row: Septimus Atterbury (trainer), Bill Gooney, Harry Roberts, Arthur Davies, Jimmy Rae, Tommy Black, Tommy Grozier.

Front row: David Robbie, Jackie Smith, Jack Vidler, Robert Jack (manager), Arthur Eggleston, Len Rich, Johnny McNeil.

Argyle beat West Ham 4-1 at Home Park in October 1935. The Pilgrims dominated the game and Cookson scored with an early goal. West Ham's possession was mainly limited to belting long balls upfield. However, they equalised and, with five minutes to go, looked like securing a draw. Cookson scored again and Black and Vidler put away two more goals in the last two minutes. In the following January Argyle played Chelsea away in the Cup. The game coincided with the mourning of the death of King George V. Both teams wore black arm bands and there was a two-minute silence before the kick-off and the singing of "Abide With Me" by the crowd of 53,703. Two thousand fans made the journey from Plymouth and saw an excellent display of football from the visitors. However, this was not reflected in the score. Chelsea went 3-0 ahead despite playing much less attractive football, especially during the first half. Harry Cann received an injury but Argyle still managed to 'draw' the second half 1-1. Vidler scored 12 minutes from the end and Sammy Black missed a penalty.

The Pilgrims finished the 1935-36 season in 7th place, one position and two points better than the previous year. Sammy Black was again top scorer with 16 goals four ahead of Eggleston and twice as many as Vidler. Gate receipts were up, as was the revenue from season tickets. The directors continued to complain about the iniquitously high level of entertainment Tax nearly 3,500. There was still an overall loss because of the relatively high net cost of transfers but Archie Ballard again stepped in with generous donations.

The main entrance plate, still in place today.

Over 21,000 saw Argyle beat Doncaster Rovers 7-0 in their first home game of the 1936-37 season, including a hat-trick for Jackie Smith. Perhaps just as impressive was their first sight of the club's brand-new main entrance, which had been erected over the summer months. The impressive facade, which contained 17 turnstiles, three pairs of exits gates and a ticket box, was approved by the Plymouth Corporation in the February and was expected to cost 300. PAFC's president, Mr A.C. Ballard, pledged 100 and the Supporters' Club, of whom he was also president, agreed to fund the rest on condition that a plate be erected to recognise their contribution. At their annual meeting in September, the cost was reported to have been twice the expectation, but to honour the words of the plate, the Supporters' Club committee agreed to meet the balance of the cost as and when funds permitted.

Above: Home Park's iconic main entrance, built in 1936 and pictured here in the early 1950s.

Below: The main entrance in 2013, shortly before its planned demolition. There seems to be substantial change, but most is superficial. However, note the absence of brickwork above the exit gates - this was removed in 2005, presumably for safety reasons, at a time when repair could not be justified because Phase 2 (the new south side) was 'imminent'.

A section of the massive crowd for the game with Aston Villa. In the background is the Ballard extension of the grandstand, which hit the headlines a few months later.

Argyle's emphatic win in their first home game of the season was their only victory in their first six fixtures, but eleven games then followed without a defeat. Argyle's often-stated record attendance occurred on 10th October 1936 when they drew 2-2 with Aston Villa in front of a recorded gate of 43,596 ('often-stated' but unfortunately unclear - doubts remain about the attendance for the FA Cup game against Huddersfield three seasons before - see the final paragraphs of chapter 14 for a detailed analysis of the evidence). Trains arrived throughout the morning from all over Devon and Cornwall, and even Somerset. The match was preceded by community singing to a song sheet reminiscent of a Wembley Cup Final. The Argyle goals were scored by Sammy Black and Jack Connor. Also in that side was Tommy Black - no relation of Sammy - who had played just one game for Arsenal when he turned out in an FA Cup tie and conceded the penalty which led to Arsenal's defeat, whereupon he was told he would never play for the club again! He went on to play 162 matches for Argyle before he left for Southend in 1939. The draw with Villa was a creditable result since Argyle played for three quarters of the game with ten men and Roberts hobbling on the left wing. The Villa side were full of internationals but were not bonding as a side or playing with expected enthusiasm. In the final half-hour Argyle hit the post and bar and two goal-bound shots were saved by Biddlestone but Villa held out.

On the left, queues for the Villa game at the new main entrance. On the right, fans moved some of the old turnstiles from the back of the stand to get a better view. You can't but feel for that poor lad!

In February 1937, Argyle played the corresponding away game at Villa Park. It was an extraordinary game, with Argyle losing 5-4 in front of 50,000 spectators, 3,000 of whom were from Plymouth. Argyle led 3-0 after half an hour but Villa came back to draw level three minutes after half-time. Argyle once again went ahead with a 25 yard goal from Hunter following a dribble by Vidler. From then on the Argyle defence took a battering. Villa equalised but Argyle held out until the 87th minute Rae was hesitant in the tackle, Haycock centred and Houghton crouched on his knee to head in at the near upright. Incidentally, nine years later Villa's Haycock played one game for Argyle as a war-time guest in the transitional Football League South season.

Jack Connor, who was was brought in from Airdrieonians as the new centre-forward at the start of the season, ended as top scorer with 17 of the team's 73 goals. The Pilgrims finished in 5th place, their fourth consecutive improvement, and if it had not have been for Newcastle's slightly better goal average, would have equalled the best-ever position of 1931-32. What's more, with just one win in their final seven games and a finish that was only six points off a promotion place, we can only wonder what might have been.

1937-38 proved to be an extraordinary season in the history of the club. On the pitch, Bob Jack's philosophy was simple he believed that Scottish junior football was the best breeding ground for football talent and much of his recruitment was from north of the border and Plymouth was always an attraction because it offered employment in the dockyard to players after their career in football was over. At the start of the season he considered that Argyle had as good a chance as any of promotion, and he must have been encouraged by the first game, a 4-0 win over Fulham in front of nearly 25,000 at Home Park. But by October, Argyle were doing badly and a local paper attributed much of the problem to the lack of a goal-scoring centre-forward: "In four games Argyle have experimented with four centre-forwards yet they are no nearer a solution to their problem." By the end of the year the Pilgrims had won just four games out of 22, and in the new year lost to Division Three (North) side New Brighton in the FA Cup.

By mid-January they were tipped, along with Swansea Town, as candidates for relegation a prediction denied vehemently by the manager: "I am not permitted to broadcast any forecast as to what two clubs will eventually be doomed to relegation but, if I were, Argyle would not be one of them". Things improved when Charlie Fletcher, transferred from Burnley earlier in the season, was switched to centre-forward and began to score goals starting with two against his old club. Thankfully Argyle's fortunes revived and they finished the 1937-38 season just below midway in the table, having won six and drawn three of their final ten games. Bill Hullett, signed from Everton earlier in the season, finished as top scorer with ten goals in only eleven starts, including a hat-trick against Southampton in the final match of the season, all with his head.

Bill Hullett scoring the first of his hat-trick in the last game of the season at home to Southampton.

But despite many months of worry, the main drama of the season came off the pitch. In the November, Mr McCready surprisingly resigned as chairman and Clarence Spooner took his place, with Clifford Tozer as vice-chairman. However, Mr Spooner, one of the founders of Plymouth Argyle, made it clear that he would only accept the position temporarily, and six months later Alderman Tozer stepped up and Mr Spooner took his place as vice-chairman. Then, in the final months of the season, came three events that shook the club to the core.

Employing nearly a half a mile of hoses, the Fire Brigade fights the blaze in the grandstand extension.

Just after 10pm on Wednesday, 9th March 1938, Mr J. Horton, Argyle's groundsman, heard a tremendous crackling and at first thought the buses at the Milehouse depot were making a great deal of noise. He ran out of his house, saw the glare over Home Park and rushed to summon the fire brigade. From his house in Peverell Park Road, manager Bob Jack also saw the glare, and later said he thought the whole place was ablaze.

That afternoon at Home Park, Argyle had played out a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in front of nearly 16,000 spectators. At 8pm the groundsman had made his final inspection and found everything in order, but in the following two hours, the extension to the main stand, funded by Archie Ballard in 1931, caught fire. The so-called Ballard extension was at the west end of the grandstand, its roof extending in line with the main structure, and was built as a standing terrace for 3,000 spectators. When the fire brigade arrived, they faced searing heat. Most of the wooden flooring was ablaze and the galvanised roof and sides of the stand became white hot so that as hoses were played on the structure, dense clouds of steam enveloped the fire fighters. Sparks and a glare were reported as far afield as Crownhill and Mannamead, and a crowd assembled to watch the drama. Most of the wooden terraces were destroyed, as was the refreshment area beneath, but the firemen were able to contain the blaze so that the main grandstand was saved. A cigarette end was believed to be the cause, with a strong wind blowing into that corner being the trigger for smouldering timber to burst into flames.

ROBERT JACK'S REIGN COMES TO AN END

Just 24 hours after the grandstand fire - quite remarkable timing in itself - came more shocking news Robert Jack announced that he would be severing his connection with the club at the end of the season. The papers said that he resigned, but the reason was never made clear, and for a man who had delivered nearly three decades of success with Argyle and who without doubt loved the club, it was particularly odd because he emphasised that he was not retiring from the game and expected remain in football for many years to come. 'Tamar' in the Western Morning News said: "I do not know what has led Mr Jack to tender his resignation - that is the secret of those very closely connected with the club." Some felt that he had been somewhat ungraciously pushed aside by the directors and was, not unsurprisingly, disenchanted by the decision, but his public position was one of loyalty. "There are no differences between the directors and myself", he said. "Supported by the determined endeavour of the players and everyone concerned, I feel confident that the club which I have loved and for which I have worked for so many years will emerge safely from the danger of relegation, irrespective of the bad luck which has adversely affected many matches. If I felt otherwise any thought of parting would not have entered my mind."

Robert Jack in the late 1930s

Reacting to the news, Argyle's chairman, Clarence Spooner, said: "It is with sincere regret that I learn of Mr Jack's impending resignation. We have been together as football enthusiasts for many years, and I shall always look back with happy recollections on Mr Jack's association with Plymouth Argyle."

Vice-chairman J. Clifford Tozer heaped praise on the outgoing manager: "Mr Robert Jack's resignation will most certainly cause considerable surprise among many thousands of followers of Association football, not only in the West, but in all parts of England and Scotland. There can be few men better known in the football world than Robert Jack. For over 30 years he has been closely associated with the Plymouth Argyle club, and his severance at the end of the season will be regretted. In no small measure the success of the club in the past has been due to his personal interest, activities and judgement. Always of genial disposition, he will be missed by the directors of the club. Personally I have always considered Robert Jack as a real friend. I shall miss him, and this feeling, I know, is shared by many."

A testimonial was arranged for Bob Jack on May 4th. Initially this was to be against an international eleven but was eventually against Brentford, then of the First Division. The night before, Mr and Mrs Jack were the principal guests at the Supporters' Club annual dinner and dance and as a final parting, some 350 attendees joined hands in the singing of 'Auld Lang Syne'. Bob Jack and his wife were said to be greatly affected.

Whatever the reason for his departure and despite his intention to stay in football, Jack had little involvement with the game after leaving Home Park, apart from some scouting for his son David, by then the manager of Southend United. He also wrote a regular article for the Football Herald, but his main love, post-'retirement', was bowls. He had in fact been a keen player for many years, and as a member of the Sir Francis Drake Bowling Club in Mannamead, had helped to put the region on the map by playing regularly for the English International Bowls team and also winning the English Singles Championship in 1926.

Robert Jack, probably the greatest name in the club's history, before or since, died on 6th May 1943 at the age of 67. With him to the end was his old friend and playing partner at Bolton, and at Argyle in the professional club's early days, Jock Wright. The family mourners at Ilford Crematorium in London included his widow and three sons - David, Rollo and Donald. Two days later, in the early hours of the morning, Rollo Jack, who in those war-time years was the club's acting secretary-manager, scattered his father's ashes over the Home Park pitch. There could have been no more fitting end.

Thanks to his great-grandson in Australia, a rare photo of Robert Jack and his three sons, (left to right) Donald, David and Rollo, taken circa 1920.

SAMMY BLACK'S 14TH AND FINAL SEASON

Sammy Black, the greatest of them all.

After 14 seasons in green and black, 491 appearances (only topped by Kevin Hodges) and 182 goals (Argyle's highest goalscorer by some margin), few would argue that Sammy Black is not the greatest of them all. He scored in double figures in every one of his first ten seasons and was top scorer in five of them - not bad for a winger. At just 5ft 6in and sporting size four boots, he epitomised the winger of the day - small, fast, tricky, and with dazzling skills. He rarely tracked back and his heading ability was guaranteed to amuse, but wingers of his era were not expected to do anything other than terrorise full-backs. It was his eye for goal that made him stand out he could shoot with either foot and many of his goals came from unlikely angles. Black was the darling of the Argyle crowd and his ten-year partnership with inside-left Jack Leslie was famous across the country - their clever exchanges would leave defenders chasing shadows.

During those years, Sam scored more goals than any other winger in English League football and was described as the best winger never to play for Scotland. But time was catching up on the the 'Mighty Atom', and after an injury at West Ham in October 1936 and an operation that followed, he missed the rest of the season. In 1937-38 he played just ten games, some at inside-forward, with his last appearance - although no one knew it at the time - against Swansea Town on January 26th, 1938. If ever there was a sign that Sammy's time was up, it was that in his final season, he failed to score.

With Bob Jack gone, Black was offered new terms at the end of the 1937-38 season - 4 per week plus 3 when in the first team - but he turned them down and was placed on the transfer list for 1,000, much to the dismay of the fans. Although Ipswich showed some interest, there were no firm offers and the fee was gradually reduced over the following months until it stood at 250. It seems a remarkably small fee for a player with such a fine career, but in those days, few clubs would take a chance on a player over 30 years old. Still there were no offers, but Sammy kept himself fit and ready by training with Plymouth Albion and kicking rugby balls. In November 1938, having had no income for nearly seven months, he wrote to the club to plead for a free transfer. The directors agreed to a nominal fee, believed to be 100, and within days a deal was agreed with Queens Park Rangers, arranged by 'Spectator', the football writer for the Sunday Independent, who was an old friend of the QPR manager, William Birrell. Very oddly, in all his years in football, Birrell had never seen Black play, but trusted the journalist's opinion that the winger had three or four years left in him. Sammy Black made just five appearances for QPR before war called time on League football. All told, a sad end to a wonderful career.

Argyle's new manager, Jack Tresadern.

We can only imagine the atmosphere at Home Park in the summer of 1938. Bob Jack's impact and influence must have pervaded at every turn, but the great man had gone. The players returned to pre-season training to be greeted by a new man, Mr Jack Tresadern, Argyle's first new manager for 28 years.

Jack Tresadern had been appointed in the closing weeks of the old season. His wealth of football experience had impressed the board of directors, who announced the appointment at the game at Luton Town on April 9th. Vice-chairman Clifford Tozer said that the selection was made from a very large number of applications from Scotland, Wales and all parts of England, and even from France and Holland, and pointed out that Argyle was a club with a high reputation in the football world and was popular wherever it went. Mr Tresadern had resigned from the manager's job at Tottenham Hotspur to join Argyle, and Alderman Tozer emphasised that the new man not only had considerable experience in football management, but thoroughly understood the game.

In his playing days, Jack Tresadern played for West Ham United and was capped for England at left-half. He also appeared in the historic first FA Cup Final at Wembley, playing against Bob Jack's son David, who at that time was with Bolton Wanderers. Tresadern moved on to Burnley and then joined Northampton Town as player-manager. Five years later he was appointed as Crystal Palace's manager, and another five years on, in 1935, he became manager of Spurs.

However impressive Jack Tresadern's credentials were, Bob Jack was always going to be a hard act to follow. Amongst the new manager's first signings were Dave Thomas from Romford and Ernie Smith from Nottingham Forest. Argyle had already begun to lose its reputation as an English club with a Scottish flavour.

The team photo for 1938-39: 31 players and trainer Bill Harper, with the new manager firmly in charge.

Harry Cann pushes the ball over the bar in front of 32,000 at Millwall in late September, with Johnny McNeil and Sammy Kirkwood (behind) looking on. Note the square woodwork in those days. Argyle lost 3-0, the result typifying the early form - wins at home and defeats away.

Early attendances were encouraging, with nearly 45,000 watching the first two games at Home Park. In the second, Argyle beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1, with both goals from another new boy, Jackie Wharton. He was an 18-year-old winger, who was the subject of a microphone plea by the manager before the game, asking for the 26,000 crowd's indulgence on account of Wharton's youth and possible debut nerves. But there was no stage fright - Wharton scored his first with an accomplished header after just one minute. West Brom drew level on 33 minutes but the debutant scored the winner on the hour. It originated with a right wing run and cross by Smith which was turned in by the youngster, after goalkeeper Adams had collapsed in a heap on the end of someone's boot. The 'keeper left the field for the next 15 minutes, returning with a bandaged head. The story is a reminder of how tough the game was in those days, as is the report of what happened next: "Then Jackie Smith was in the wars, a collision with a defender dislocating his shoulder, although he resumed after a few minutes' treatment."

Away at Norwich a week later there occurred the famous incident of the pigeon, which Jimmy Hunter apparently tripped over just as he was about to shoot. In October Argyle drew 0-0 at home to Manchester City, after an outstanding goalkeeping display by the future England International Frank Swift, who received a standing ovation from the crowd. Tresadern continued to tinker with the forward line, and in the thirteen matches before 12th November he had played four inside-rights, five outside-lefts and seven inside-lefts. Pleas were made for Sammy Black's return, including one from a parson in Leeds. However, Argyle had managed to remain unbeaten at home, until a 1-0 defeat by Bury on November 19th.

Argyle secured a surprising 4-3 away win at Luton in January, after Boxing Day and New Year's Eve defeats at home to Coventry and away to West Brom, and a 0-3 defeat by Sunderland in the FA Cup. Argyle's hero at Kenilworth Road was Fred Mitcheson, who scored a hat-trick in the first 11 minutes of the second half. The ground was a mud bath and Luton played into the visitors' hands by trying to play close football. Argyle, on the other hand, were much more direct.

Centre-forward Dave Thomas runs to meet a cross against Luton, with a few hardy souls on an open terrace looking on.

The bad weather continued and on the following Saturday, Argyle were home to Norwich. The game started despite the rain that had kept the crowd down to 6,942, and in wet and slippery conditions, Argyle went into a one goal lead on 14 minutes when Archer took a free kick that struck the underside of the bar before the back of the net. Then the weather got worse. Much of the midfield area was barren of grass and, therefore, a sea of mud. No one could see the lines and water was splashing everywhere much to the amusement of the crowd. When the game was finally abandoned at half-time there was no real surprise. Indeed the announcement was followed by another downpour. This was the first abandoned game at Home Park that anyone could remember and ruled out the first home goal scored by Argyle for nearly two months. Happily, when the game was replayed in the final week of the season, Argyle won by the same score.

By mid-February Argyle were languishing fifth from bottom of the division, still not having secured a home win since November. They eventually beat Bradford Park Avenue 4-1 on February 25th, with goals from Hunter (2), Thomas and Kirkwood. Early March saw a 2-1 victory at Fulham, but the manner won few friends. A string of free-kicks resulted in constant booing by the home supporters especially of Sam Kirkwood. The referee had to speak to players from both sides and, at one stage, a Fulham fan ran onto the pitch in protest at Argyle's strong-arm tactics, which had reduced Fulham to ten men.

In March the directors could not resist Manchester United's approaches, and sold centre-forward Bill Hullett (this season's top scorer with 10 goals) and outside-right Tommy Dougan to Manchester United for over 5,000, but brought in Bob Royston from Southport for 1,000. Later in March, Jack Tresadern gave a debut to right-half Ellis Stuttard, another of his summer signings. The 18-year-old could not possibly have imagined that this was the beginning of a 44-year association with the club, including two spells as manager.

Overall it was not a successful season but Argyle did win three of their last four games to finish in 15th place. They were never in serious threat of relegation but two decades of relative success were clearly in the past and the team needed to be re-built. Scoring goals continued to be Argyle's problem, with just 49 in 43 games, the second lowest in the division. Concern over standards at the club was growing and there was an emergency meeting of the Shareholders' Association. Indeed, at the Shareholders' AGM at the Farley Hotel in July 1939, there was little short of hostility from some. One said: "I have been watching football for years, and I think last season Argyle had the worst team they have ever had." Another said: "If they had the team at heart they would say: 'We have failed and we will give way to allow others to do better.'" There was general support for the manager, but criticism of the directors and concern about the heavy loss of over 4,000 over the year.

The directors reacted strongly by pruning the staff more severely than ever before. When the retained list was announced there were only 23 names on it, from a total of 41 professionals. Harry Cann and Jack Vidler were placed on the transfer list together with Fred Mitcheson ( 1,500), Tommy Black ( 1,000), Tommy Ryan ( 650), Wilf Chitty ( 750) and Jim McColgan ( 250), and free transfers were offered to 12 players. This would ensure a saving of 100 per week on the summer wage bill of 2,500. The loss of Jack Vidler after 12 years of service was particularly sad and the free transfer for Tod' Sloan indicated that it was unlikely that the 'A' team (the third XI) would continue. It was recognised that the whole forward line would have to be recast and there was talk of 'big money' needed for new forwards. There were even rumours that Ray Bowden wanted to come back to the club, and other names were also being mentioned. However, by the end of April, none of the existing players had actually signed the contracts offered to them. By the summer of 1939, war clouds hung over Europe and football assumed less importance in the minds of the general public, and the players began to think of their possible future outside the game.

Greens on Screen is run as a service to fellow supporters, in all good faith, without commercial or private gain. I have no wish to abuse copyright regulations and apologise unreservedly if this occurs. If you own any of the material used on this site, and object to its inclusion, please get in touch using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of each page. Search facility powered by JRank Search Engine. Hover facility courtesy of Milonic. UK time at page load: 29 June 2021, 17:05.


Tag: Plymouth Argyle

By Martin Johnes (Swansea University) and Alex Jackson (National Football Museum)

In 1978 Viv Anderson became the first black player to represent England at football. But 53 years earlier, another black player had been selected for England. Jack Leslie of Plymouth Argyle, however, never joined up with the squad. The FA claimed at the time that he had never been picked and that the press reports of his inclusion were a mistake. Leslie himself claimed years later that he had been dropped because of the colour of his skin.

Born in 1901, Jack Leslie was the son of a gas fitters’ labourer, who was from Jamaica, and a tailoress from Islington. He grew up in Canning Town in London and went onto become a very successful inside left with Plymouth Argyle from 1921 to 1935, scoring 137 goals in 401 appearances in the third and second divisions. In 1930 The Football Herald claimed he was ‘known throughout England for his skill and complexion’, while in 1932 the Correo diario called him a ‘coloured genius’.

At the time, he was one of only two black players who were regulars in the Football League, the other being Eddie Parris who played for Bradford Park Avenue, Bournemouth, Luton and Northampton. Parris won a single cap for Wales. His international cap came at a time when Wales were desperate for players. He did not have a good game and was never selected again.

How much racism Parris and Leslie faced in the game is unclear. Both were regularly described in the press as ‘coloured’ but not by their local newspapers and research has not uncovered any reports of crowd abuse towards them. But newspapers might easily have wanted to ignore anything uncomfortable and, in a society where there were deeply-held feelings of white superiority, it is unlikely that the two never faced racism from crowds. Indeed, as the above 1925 cartoon suggests, questions of race seemed to make white society uncomfortable and it was easier to ignore it or turn it into a joke than to discuss its meanings.

Both players were, however, popular with their own fans. This owed much to their skills and goals but was perhaps rooted in the fact that their colour made them different. In many ways, they were probably curiosities and they were sometimes referred to as notable personalities in the game.

In 1978, when Anderson was selected for England, a Correo diario reporter interviewed Leslie. By then, he was working as a bootman for West Ham. Leslie told the reporter how the Plymouth manager had called him into his office, put his arm on his shoulder and said ‘I’ve got great news for you. You’ve been picked for England’. Leslie recalled this knocked him ‘sideways’. He went on:

Everybody in the club knew about it. The town was full of it. All them days ago it was quite a thing for a little club like Plymouth to have a man called up for England. I was proud – but then I was proud just to be a paid footballer.

Then all of a sudden everyone stopped talking about it. Sort of went dead quiet. Didn’t look me in the eye. Then the papers came out a day or so later and Billy Walker of Aston Villa was in the team, not me. I didn’t ask outright. I could see by their faces it was awkward.

But I did hear, roundabout like, that the FA had come to have another look at me. Not at me football but at me face. They asked, and found they’d made a ricket. Found out about me daddy, and that was it.

There was a bit of an uproar in the papers. Folks in the town were very upset. No one ever told me official like but that had to be the reason, me mum was English but me daddy was black as the Ace of Spades. There wasn’t any other reason for taking my cap away.

Leslie’s selection was indeed announced in the press but as a reserve rather than as a first-team player. After the press announcement, the story did disappear and Leslie never joined up with the team. Leslie does not feature in the team recorded in the FA’s selection committee minutes, although these were drawn up later and could have been altered.

England teams were picked by a selection committee of fourteen administrators who voted on the team, showing little consistency but much experimentation and confusion and a desire to ensure teams were not overly dominated by professionals. Earlier in 1925 selectors had also come under some pressure from the press to look at talent in the third division. In 1930, the Noticias atléticas noted that in the eleven seasons after the Great War 145 players were chosen by England and that 66 were yet to win a second cap.

Leslie listed in the England team. Nottingham Journal 6 October 1925.

The selectors were thus picking large numbers of players who they appeared to know little about and it is not impossible that Leslie was chosen without any knowledge of his colour. Leslie was playing in the third division (south) and would not have been very well known. One paper regarded his selection as a ‘surprise’, while another called the whole team ‘experimental’.

There does not seem to be any evidence of an uproar in the press when Leslie did not join up with the team but the Heraldo diario did seek further information about what had happened. It was informed by the FA that Leslie had never been selected. Yet the Press Association told the paper that its announcement of his selection had come from the Football Association.

The Plymouth press had initially welcomed his selection but then dropped the story. One local reporter did, however, write:

My readers may be expecting from me a comment upon the Argyle Club’s announcement that Jack Leslie was not chosen as reserve forward for England. Unfortunately my pen is under a ban in this matter: but I may say that a mistake was made in London and transmitted to me. Anyway, Leslie was at that time playing quite well enough to be chosen.

Clearly some people at the time felt something untoward had occurred. Yet it is notable that nowhere in the discussion was his colour mentioned. The selection of a black man had not been not the cause of celebration or even comment. If it was then thought that he had been deselected because of his colour, as Leslie believed, then this was not a matter for public discussion either.

In later years, he was occasionally touted as a potential international but was nothing happened. In 1933, one national newspaper said of Leslie, ‘Had he been white he would have been a certain English international.’ It made no further comment. Racial discrimination was perhaps simply a matter of fact.

This article derives from a forthcoming study Martin Johnes has written on Eddie Parris and race in interwar British football. Martin also has forthcoming articles on race in post-1945 British boxing. Credit is due to Phil Vasili, the pioneering historian of black footballers. Further details of Leslie’s career can be found in Ryan Danes’ Plymouth Argyle: The Complete Record (2014).


Ver el vídeo: Peter Andre stops interveiw with Kay Burley on Sky News After Questions on his children and adoption