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  • Andrew Andrew Apr 16, 2012 18:00 Flag

    Fall From Grace

    Jez, the player that comes to mind is the brilliant Albert Johanneson, the first black player to play for Leeds United who ended his career, and life, in despair and alcoholism, showing his skills on Sunday League pitches.
    We never really know what goes on in other people’s lives and minds to lay them low but I suspect that the racist abuse he had to put up with was a contributing factor.
    IMO, Albert Johanneson deserves a memorial statue at Elland Road, not just because he was one of the first black players in the English leagues but for his consummate skill.
    It also concerns me, slightly, that Leeds has so few black players in its squad today.

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    • Quite right Andy!
      Albert was a great guy and one of the best players of his time. Used to see him and his best pal Elliot many a time on a Sunday.Leeds U owed a lot to him and as you say he was never really recognised for the great job he did.
      I only really remember him having one really bad match, and that was in the Liverpool cup final when he got stage fright!
      Great guy who went through a lot of pain to play the game he loved.

      • 1 Reply to BRYAN
      • Albert was probably one of the fastest wingers we have ever had, like a greyhound out of the traps. I seem to remember that when the Italians did for Bobby C Revie moved Giles inside and played Albert on the wing.Towards the end of his career Albert got the nickname of "the Black Flash". However Bryan as you say he never totally got the support he should have had from the club and indeed Don Revie over the racial abuse he got from the mindless few at ER that persistently targeted him. I got the feeling that Albert was treated more as a curiosity by many including Revie and certainly was not part of his "so called family" I seem to remember that just after Albert arrived another coloured player from SA had trials with LU but only had one game a lad called Gerry Francis? I shall always remember Albert not because he was the first coloured player to play in our top divisions but for his strength of character coming from a country that treated coloured people like second class citizens. Albert was a true ambassador the hero to his own who opened the door for many more to follow.

    • I think if Warnock wants a black/coloured or whatever race player he will get them, yes in the 80's we had the you know who's selling the you know what and those chants from the Kop yes I was there and heard them all, we all know what the chants were, but then again I heard them from every club I went to watch footy and they all had certain things to say, thankfully we have moved on and we could all name a few who have worn the shirt with pride so it does not concern me as I know we would welcome any colour race or whatever to Elland Road, you will always have the minority shouting abuse whether that is Race/sexuality/Or where they derive from, so whatever we all March On Together ;)

      • 1 Reply to Lottolee
      • My ‘slight’ concern about Leeds having few (indeed, no) black players is tenuous. But it stems from a curious fact in Ken Bates’ past. In 1965, when Bates was chairman of Oldham Athletic, he defied anti-apartheid policies and took Oldham to play in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), lending support to Ian Smith’s racist regime.
        Since 1965, world view attitudes towards racism have changed but, I suspect, some people from the pre-60s era still hold to their old beliefs and prejudices.
        In this context, Warnock’s comment on his discussions with our Chairman about player recruitment, that “Ken Bates has his own ideas,” is maybe open to interpretation.