A statue of Canning Town-born footballer Jack Leslie, who was blocked from playing for England because of his skin colour, has been unveiled after a campaign.

Jack began his career at Barking FC before going on to play for Plymouth Argyle.

Crowds gathered outside Home Park, Plymouth's ground, to see the statue's reveal on Friday (October 7).

During Jack's time at Plymouth, where he scored 137 goals in 400 appearances, he was chosen to play for England in 1925.

Barking and Dagenham Post: Jack Leslie, pictured seated behind a trophy, with fellow Barking FC players from the 1921-22 season. Picture: Barking FCJack Leslie, pictured seated behind a trophy, with fellow Barking FC players from the 1921-22 season. Picture: Barking FC (Image: Barking FC)

He was the first black player to receive an England call-up but when the selection committee realised he was black, they deselected him.

The Football Association has awarded Jack an honorary cap to "right this historical wrong" and recognise his career and contribution to the sport and society.

Jack's three granddaughters Lyn Davies, Leslie Hiscott and Gill Carter were among those in attendance at the unveiling ceremony.

Leslie said: "I am immensely proud and very emotional to be here. This occasion means so much for us that, at long last, our grandad is getting the recognition he deserves.

"The fact he has been awarded a posthumous cap is the icing on the cake."

He was the only black professional footballer in the country for much of his career.

After retiring from the game in 1934, Jack later worked in the West Ham United bootroom for 15 years.

A campaign to honour Jack with the statue, backed by the likes of Barking FC, Hammers legend Sir Trevor Brooking and Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge, launched in 2020.

The scheme was co-founded by Plymouth Argyle fans Matt Tiller and Greg Foxsmith.

Greg said: "This statue doesn't just recognise his significant prowess as an Argyle player but, more importantly, remembers what happened to Jack Leslie in 1925 when he was denied his chance to play because of the colour of his skin."

FA chair Debbie Hewitt described Jack as "a true football legend".

She added: "We have made progress in recent years to ensure that English football is more diverse and inclusive and a game for all.

"We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jack and to his family for comprehensively and consistently driving positive change through football.

"We are pleased to support this campaign and to recognise Jack’s career."