Tag Archive | "Black Footballers"

Jack Leslie

Jack F. Leslie was a former black football player in Britain. He signed for Plymouth Argyle from Barking Town in 1921.Jack F. Leslie is a former football player. He signed for Plymouth Argyle from Barking Town in 1921. Leslie scored over 400 goals in his career, 134 of those for Plymouth in 400 appearances. He retired in 1935. A call-up to the national team was cancelled when officials realized he was a “a man of colour.

Jack Leslie

Jack Leslie


Despite an impressive 15-year run which saw him playing to crowds of over 40,000 people and notching up an impressive 400 match appearances with over 130 goals, Leslie suff ered catcalls from the crowd, who discriminated against him because he was black.

“I used to get a lot of abuse in matches. ‘Here darkie, I’m gonna break your leg,’ they’d shout.

“There was nothing wicked about it – they were just trying to get under my skin.”

Argyle co-ordinator Peter Hall reminisces about the times he saw Leslie play.


“On August 26, 1933 – I was six years old – we played Manchester Utd and won 4-1. “I always remember that Jack Leslie played a huge part in that win – it was a real treat to watch him play. He was everywhere, his passing was first class, and his shooting power was enormous. If there ever was an Argyle legend, it was Jack Leslie.”

No Black Footballers for England

Leslie proved himself as a top goal-scorer, holding the record for the most league goals scored (35) between 1927 and 1929, but this still wasn’t enough for officials who believed he wasn’t fit to join the esteemed national side.

“They found out I was a darkie and I suppose that was like finding out I was foreign.”

This shattered Leslie’s dreams of an international career.

He famously commented to Pilgrims teammate and later journalist Brian Woolnough,

“They must have forgotten I was a coloured boy.”


Jack Leslie retired in 1934, later he went to work for his local club West Ham United as part of their back room team.

Related Links

BBC – Footballer Jack Leslie
Wikipedia – Jack Leslie




Posted in Black History Month UK, Black Sports StarsComments (0)

Walter Tull Petition.

Walter Tull was one of the 1st Black Officers in British Army in WW1. He died leading his men in the Somme. Campaigners are trying to ensure that Walter gets his Posthumous Military Cross that he was recommended for in Dispatches.

Walter Tull

Walter Tull

Sign the Walter Tull Petition

More Articles about Walter Tull

Posted in Black History, Black SoldiersComments (0)

Ian Wright – Footballer

Ian Wright - Footballer

Ian Wright - Footballer

Ian Wright was one of the best known footballers in the British game, he started off as a low paid plasterer and ended up being one of the most recognised footballers of our time.
He was recognised as an extremely talented young striker which his managers soon noticed. He was getting paid very little and was sent to Chelmsford Prison for not paying motoring fines,. Ian said he had learned a very valuable lesson and he said he never wanted to go to prison again because he saw what it was doing to people.

He imagined God saying “Is this where you want to go? cause other wise you better change”.

At 17 scouts from Crystal Palace saw him and recognised a very hard working and very talented striker. He was signed up as soon as possible. He was only offered one hundred pounds a week. His first game came in 1985 when he came on as a substitute against Oldham F.C. He came on and with in minutes he set up Palaces equalizer. He spent six years at palace.

He joined Arsenal for 2.5 million pounds, which at the time was a record. Wright won the Golden boot award in his first season and went on to be Arsenal’s top scorer for the next six seasons.? When he joined arsenal he never guessed how famous he would be when he finally left. After only one year at the club he had picked up several medals. He won the F.A cup in 1993 and the Coca Cola up in the same year.
In the 1993-94 season he was starting to head for the big time. Arsenal won the European Cup  Winners Cup. The next year was almost as successful, a big almost.  He managed to score in every conceivable debut game for Arsenal which was a great achievement. On the 13th September 1997 Wright scored a hat-trick against Bolton the first goal of which equaled with Cliff Bastins record as the top all time Arsenal goal scorer on 178 goals.
Ian joined West Ham United where he spent 15 months. ? He had subsequent short spells at Nottingham Forest, Celtic, and Burnley (whom he helped to promotion to Division One) before retiring in 2000. He finished his club career with 323 goals in all competitions.

He left football to concentrate on his own T.V show,? “The Ian Wright Show”.? He was awarded the RIMA award of Television personality of the year in 2003.

Since then Wright has presented a whole host of Television shows such as Gladiators and Live from Studio 5

Ian sons are all involved in football playing for a variety of clubs.? Wright is also the patron of the African-Caribbean Leukaemia Trust. Shortly after his retirement from playing in 2000, he was awarded the MBEfor his services to charity.

Posted in Black Britain, Black Sports Stars, Caribbean HistoryComments (5)

John Barnes – Footballer

John Barnes

John Barnes

John Barnes was an exciting Black footballer playing for Liverpool in the 1980’s and 90’s.

Three years after his spectacular solo goal for England against Brazil at Rio’s Maracana Stadium the exciting Jamaican-born winger was signed from Watford for 900,000 pounds by Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish in 1987 as part of his team reshaping following the departure of Ian Rush to Juventus.

Barnes linked up with other new recruits Peter Beardsley, Ray Houghton and John Aldridge in a swashbuckling lineup that swept to the Championship in style, with Barnes scoring 15 times in 38 outings.

John Barnes will always be remembered as a brave man though as he shrugged off racist abuse in 1987, bananas were hurled at him during a match.Liverpool also equaled the record of 29 League games unbeaten from the start of the season and reached the FA Cup Final, losing to Wimbledon.

The impact of Barnes earned him the votes of both the football writers and his fellow professionals of the PFA as the 1988 double Footballer of the year. The following season he won a FA Cup medal and in 1989-90 his 22 goals earned him a second title medal.

During Graeme Souness’s period as manager Barnes was appointed club captain and switched from the wing to a central midfield role.
After Roy Evans had taken over as manager, Barnes won a Coca-Cola Cup medal in 1994-95.

He joined Newcastle United in 1997, received an MBE a year later and after a loan spell with Charlton became Celtic coach in 1999, though he was to part company with them early in 2000.

In 2008 Barnes took over as manager of the Jamaica National team, and had some success, guiding the team to the 2008 Caribbean Championships, qualifying as the top Caribbean side for the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

However Barnes was hankering to be back in club football and after an unsuccessful bid to manage Port Vale, he was appointed Tranmere Rovers manager in June 2009.

Tranmere had a terrible run of form resulting in Barnes being sacked after just 12 games.

Barnes is also involved with the creation of TEAM48 motorsport, a team aiming to promote young racing drivers of Caribbean background.

Posted in African History, Black Sports Stars, Caribbean HistoryComments (2)

Cyrille Regis – Footballer



Cyrille Regis, Is a famous black British footballer, he was one of the earliest black players in the modern leagues. The striker, whose trademark was scoring highly spectacular goals, began his playing career at West Brom with star players like Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Batson, Derek Statham, Len Cantello and Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown.

Regis broke into the first team at West Bromwhich Albion within a few months of signing for West Brom in May 1977 and remembers some of the racial abuse that he endured initially from some of the Hawthorns crowd;

“I think they were rebelling against me ’cause I’d taken a white guy’s place in the team.” (Quoted in Cashmore, 1981, p154).

However, the West Brom fans, impressed by his early scoring exploits were quick to warm to the former electrician who had joined Albion from non-league Hayes. Regis believed that it was this early recognition and acceptance of his talents by both the club and fans alike, which allowed his career at West Brom to develop.

Large black communities in nearby Handsworth also provided support for Regis and his colleagues at a time when black fans were reluctant to attend matches for fear of their own safety. Regis would later reach the pinnacle of his career in 1987, when he was a key figure in Coventry City’s F.A. Cup winning triumph.
He stayed at Coventry City where another seven years winning the only major medal of his career. He then played two years for Aston Villa and ended his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wycombe Wanderers and Chester

Posted in Black Britain, Black Sports Stars, Caribbean HistoryComments (1)

Viv Anderson – Footballer

Viv Anderson

Viv Anderson

Born in Nottingham Viv Signed as an Apprentice, Tall and rangy, he was universally known as “Spider” because of his long legs, which enabled him to win the ball cleanly in ever more unlikely situations. He was also quick, good in the air and no slouch when going forward.

Viv signed professional forms and made his debut in 1974, when he was 18. By 1976 he had cemented his place in the promotion team, and 2 years later his consistent excellence for Forest’s Championship winning side meant that he fully deserved the honour of being the first black player to win a full England cap.

After well over 400 games for Forest and a part in all of the great triumphs of his era, he left Forest for Arsenal in 1984. Eventually he became Alex Ferguson’s first signing at Manchester United, before a series of injuries led to a free transfer to Sheffield Wednesday, where he finished his playing career.

Viv briefly managed Barnsley, but his managerial career has mostly been as Bryan Robson’s no 2 at Boro. Given the fact that he is still only 5 years older than Forest’s current first choice goalkeeper, time would appear to be on his side if he ever wishes to branch out on his own again. Truly one of the all-time great Forest players.

He was awarded an MBE in January 2000.

Anderson was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004 in recognition of his impact on the English league.

Related Links:

Posted in Black Britain, Caribbean HistoryComments (2)

Clyde Best MBE-Footballer

Clyde Best

Clyde Best

Clyde Best was one of the first black footballers to succeed in the English Football League and paved the way for a whole generation to make their way into the professional game. Clyde Best made 186 appearances for West Ham United in a six year spell at Upton Park and bagged a respectable 47 goals. Clyde moved to the United States in the 1980’s and started up a cleaning business in California.

However, he gave it all up in 1997 when he returned to his native Bermuda and answered their call to take control of the national football team.’ Clyde was a big, bustling centre-forward who scored goals for fun. Clyde Best took a lot of stick as one of the pioneering black footballers ( racism was rife in until the early 90’s at football grounds, and still is to a degree in the lower leagues), but he was a firm favourite of most of the Hammers fans. Clyde played alongside the greats of Upton Park such as Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Trevor Brooking.

Best was inducted into the Bermuda National Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He was awarded an MBE in the January 2006 New Year’s Honours list for services to football and the community in Bermuda.

Related Links

Clyde Best – football Unites Racism Divides
Clyde Best – Southend Echo

Posted in Black Britain, Black People in Europe, Black Sports Stars, Caribbean HistoryComments (3)

Black Footballers in Britain – Cess Pod

Ces Podd

Ces Podd

Ces Podd Arrived in Britain from the Caribbean when he was just nine years old. When he was 16 years old he had managed to get himself into a Leeds pub team, as well as playing for the church,school and his local youth club.

Ces had the idea that the more games he played the better his chances of being spotted by a talent scout. His first trial was with Wolverhampton Wanderers, but he didn’t even get to play. Disillusioned He set off for Art College in Bradford. The father of a friend, who he met there, suggested that he might get a trial for Bradford City. He went for the trial and impressed the manager enough to be asked to start training with the team. He made his debut in 1971 against Chesterfield, and won the ‘Man of the Match’ from one Newspaper. However, Ces was not ready for the amount of racial abuse that he received of fans. Name calling spitting and having Banana’s thrown at him were part of his experience.

In 1980 he was the first black footballer ever to be granted a testimonial by the F.A (Football Association).

His Testimonial attracted a then record attendance, and after writing to a number of managers in the league he put together an all black team for the match.

The team included Garth Crooks (Spurs), Luther Blisset t(Watford), Alex Williams (Man City),Vince Hilaire (Luton), Terry Connor (Leeds) and Mark Chamberlain (Stoke).

Today Ces is a coach with St.Kitts and Nevis. Although he’s back in the Caribbean black British players owe him a debt, because he and his team mates helped to break down stereotypes that black players could not compete at the top level.

Posted in African History, Black Britain, Black Sports StarsComments (3)

Who was your favourite footballer and why?


We all have our favourites for one reason or another, maybe your favourite player was the first black player to play for your local team, or perhaps he was a prolific goalscorer with amazing skills.  Who was your Favourite footballer and why?

Posted in African History, Black Britain, Black People in Europe, Black Sports Stars, Caribbean HistoryComments (0)