Leeds to honour Albert Johanneson

Albert Johanneson (Pic Leeds)

Albert Johanneson (Pic Leeds)

The club has announced that they will be unveiling a Leeds Civic Trust Blue Plaque to honour the trailblazer.

Leeds United take on Derby in a Championship match at Elland Road today (Friday).

A statement on the Leeds website reads: “Ahead of kick-off at the Sky Bet Championship fixture on Friday 11 January, the granddaughter of Albert Johanneson, Samantha, will be joined in the West Stand Reception by former player Brian Deane, councillor Judith Blake, and councillor Jane Dowson along with representatives from Leeds United, Leeds Civic Trust, Leeds United Supporters’ Trust, and Kick It Out to unveil the special commemorative plaque.”

Johanneson made 200 appearances for the club from 1961 to 1969, scoring 67 goals and playing an integral role in helping the team to win promotion to the First Division in 1964.

In 1965 he became the first ever black African to play in an FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

Angus Kinnear, chief executive of Leeds United Football Club, has spoken about the event and said: “It will be fantastic to have Samantha, Albert Johanneson’s granddaughter, with us on Friday to unveil this special plaque in honour of the first black footballer to play in an FA Cup final.

“Albert is a massive part of the history of Leeds United Football Club; he was a trailblazer and paved the way for other black players to make their mark on the sport. This is a fantastic occasion for the club as we enter our centenary year.”

The leader of Leeds City Council, councillor Judith Blake, added: “We should feel extremely proud that Albert wore the famous jersey of Leeds United and for his part in the club’s rise under the great Don Revie.

“Not only did Albert play for Leeds at a time when there [were] very few black players playing professionally in the top flight of English football, he also holds the accolade of being the first black player in 1965 to play in an FA Cup final. The impact of both these feats and the inspiration it would have given to so many people should never be forgotten or underestimated.

“There is no doubt that Albert’s accomplishments also played an important role in helping to pave the way for future generations of black footballers from across the globe to come to play in England as he once did from South Africa, and this alone is a truly wonderful legacy. A blue plaque at Elland Road in recognition of Albert and all that he achieved is the least that he deserves.”

 

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