The Ballad of Jack Leslie (Plymouth Argyle Extended Version)

from The Ballad of Jack Leslie by Matt Tiller

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about

This is the song I wrote that lead to The Jack Leslie Campaign, which I co-founded. All proceeds towards a statue of the man who should have been England's first black footballer in 1925.

And please donate here too if you can: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/jack-leslie-campaign

This version has an additional verse about Plymouth Argyle's amazing tour of South America where they played (and on a couple of occasions, beat) Argentina and Uruguay.

lyrics

A football legend second to none
Jack Leslie came to Devon in 1921
From Barking, Essex, it was a different time
I bet he got stick from all sides

I’m sure It would’ve happened wherever he played
But he came to Plymouth Argyle and he stayed

A wizard n defence or attack
Called up for England but they sent him back
Cos they’d not seen a picture of young Jack
And he never got to play, because he was black
Imagine how it felt when his gaffer Bob Jack
Said son, it’s time to pack your boot bag
Your country is calling, young lion roar
They’ll see something they’ve never seen before

But when the national team sheet was displayed
No mention of Jack Leslie’s name
No fuss, he just went back to Argyle
Scored 137 goals then he retired

That wizard n defence or attack
Called up for England but they sent him back
Cos they’d not seen a picture of young Jack
And he never got to play, because he was black
But there’s one little twist to this tale
To South America Jack’s Argyle boys sailed
They never saw a hand of god
but they beat Argentina on their home sod
And to this day I’ve no idea why
We don’t drink to them smashing four past Uruguay
They were Olympic champs and beat Argentina
in the first world cup final a few years later
it’s nuts, Argyle were in the third division
Where Jack Leslie played

Like a wizard in defence or attack
Called up for England but they sent him back
Cos they’d not seen a picture of young Jack
And he never got to play, because he was black
No Jack Leslie never got his cap

So reflect on how far we have progressed
Since that young lad was denied his England vest
Fifty three years later before
Viv Anderson got the call

But think of what he and his peers endured
And do you wonder if Raheem Stirling deserves a bit more respect

credits

from The Ballad of Jack Leslie, released June 30, 2020

license

all rights reserved

tags

about

Matt Tiller UK

Hello. I am a comic songwriter described as ‘Hilarious’ by New Statesman and ’Sharp and astutely observed’ by British Comedy Guide. I write and performs personal, observational and political songs. My controversial tune, We’re In This Together, garnered some great reviews; Indie Band Guru wrote, ‘Looking away from the astounding melody and tune, the lyrics themselves are hysterical.’ ... more

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