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tnb 12:04 Wed Jan 3
Any West Ham historians about?
Evening all,

A long shot perhaps, but there's a wide range of people on here and some who seem to have a pretty good knowledge of the history of the club.

A friend of mine from Plymouth is looking to do some research into Jack (born John) Leslie, an ex Plymouth player who ended his career as out our kit man under Lyall before retiring in 1980.

I've spoken to this chap about Leslie in the past and his is certainly an interesting story (a Canning Town lad, he should have been the first non white player capped for England back in the 1930s before his call up was cancelled after the FA realised he was 'black', although I think he'd be classed as 'mixed race' these days) and there's a nice video of his last day with us out there.

Anyway, my friend has asked whether I know anyone who can help him to dig into Leslie's time with us. Any takers?

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Colchester Sid 10:15 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
The story about being called up by England and then ignored may have an element of truth.

In the 1920s there was an annual trial match - the games were either The North v The South or England v The Rest. Many of the players in these games never progressed to the full England side and the composition of the England side itself was erratic - players were rewarded with a cap for good service, because it was their club's "turn" to have the honour of a player being selected or simply because they were the right sort of "chap". The concept of picking the best eleven players or the best side was only really reserved for the annual Scotland feature(and not always for that).

Additionally the Football League played two representative games every season against Scotland and Ireland - these were big fixtures with big crowds but now mostly forgotten - again their status was close (but not equal) to a full England game

So it may have been that Jack was actually considered for one of these other games which regularly featured players from lower division clubs - on that basis a Plymouth Argyle player who had only played Third Division football being selected would not have been unusual

kips 12:32 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
AJC123 is right. If you can get hold of Brian Belton as he is the font of all knowledge re West Ham History.

Leslie Finished playing for Plymouth by 1936 and I don't think he was at the club before the war so he may have done his stint in the services 1939/45.

If so and for any life story of anybody around then, your mate could check the Forces Records for some additional info.

If he moved back into the area before the war then there is a site that gives details of a special population census that was carried out in late 1939 which gives details of households at the time of the outbreak of war.

Otherwise ask your mate to try contacting the Club to see if they can check their personnel records for the dates for him etc. May be helpful but not sure if they would help.

Coffee 12:10 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/southwest/series6/jack_leslie.shtml

Coffee 12:07 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
An all too brief video of Jack Leslie with John Lyall and Ray Stewart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X0GUb_WlAU

tnb 12:03 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
Thanks everybody - some very helpful tips. I agree the England story has a whiff of 'too good a story for anyone to have questioned it too much' but then again, FA incompetence isn't a surprise these days so wouldn't necessarily be too much of a surprise if they were even worse 90 or so years ago.

I have no idea what my friend is planning to do with this research but I'd assume he's going to publish it somewhere so as and when he does I will try to post it or a link up here.

LeroysBoots 11:28 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
If you type in Jack Leslie on Google and select mages there is a great pic of a very young Alvin Martin and John Lyall talking to some old guy that must be Leslie

Takashi Miike 11:19 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
try Tim Crane on twitter

ajc123 10:47 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
Try contacting Brian Belton

cholo 10:02 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
Mashed

That could be right of course. It'd be interesting to see if there was any collaborating evidence to the claim.

mashed in maryland 9:47 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
cholo 12:16 Wed Jan 3

Different world back then, Black/mixed race people weren't as common (could easily go your whole life without seeing a non white person or even someone from outside your town/village) and people were nowhere near as well travelled or knowledgeable about the world. Maybe thought he was half Spanish or something at first.

Although Hermit Road makes a good point....

Would be an interesting story either way; bookmarking this thread.

Coffee 8:30 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
GreenStreetPlayer 12:30 Wed Jan 3

Superb site!

Son of Sam 6:57 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
On a serious note , nice clip here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifmhoo9cwdc

Son of Sam 6:52 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
Plymouth Argyle? Ron Benson is the only name associated from there I can remember getting a England call up . It was around the time Tony Hedges from York City got the nod. HTH

HairyHammer 12:34 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
There are loads of West ham Historians, they just don't like to mention it.

GreenStreetPlayer 12:30 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
May or may not be mentioned but there is so much information on this growing fantastic site which as we go forward is our history, our online museum.
Ask the people who run the site and they may be able to help or suggest.
A treasure.

http://theyflysohigh.co.uk/tributes/4557353533

http://theyflysohigh.co.uk/home/4545790170

gph 12:28 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
Scotland had a black player about 90 years before England did.

Gavros 12:27 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
however I know fuck all about this.


still the best though.

Gavros 12:26 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
ive been told by many notable west ham historians that im definitely the best west ham historian out there.

Northern Sold 12:20 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
Wasn't there his son or grandson that used to post on here?? 5-10 years ago... Pretty sure he lived in Rochford??

cholo 12:16 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
It does seem unlikely, they'd seen how good he was yet didnt realise he was black? Interesting story anyway.

Hermit Road 12:14 Wed Jan 3
Re: Any West Ham historians about?
Never heard of him. Glad I have though. Cheers. Read his wiki and wonder if the England call up is true. He played most of his career in the third division so it’s unlikely especially how the same article says he was known throughout England for his complexion.

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