Why the Anglocentric choice of Jack Leslie, who played for Plymouth Argyle from 1921 to 1935, when looking for pioneering British black professional footballers (Which black Britons should we be commemorating?, 12 June)? Forty years before Leslie, Andrew Watson carved out an amazing career as Britain’s first black professional footballer.
Not only did Watson play for one of Britain’s then biggest teams – Queen’s Park FC – but he was also the first black British international player, capped several times for Scotland. Perhaps your Anglocentric choice was down to two of his 1880s games including captaining Scotland to a 6-1 trouncing of England on his international debut in 1881, followed by a 5-1 win in 1882.
There is no record of any racism ever directed at Watson in Scotland – far greater interest came from his choice of brown boots rather than the usual black ones of the time.
• Your article stated that Jack Leslie “was the only professional black footballer in England”. What about poor old Walter Tull? He played for Spurs and Northampton Town between 1909 and 1914, and had a short but very distinguished career in the British army, having reached the rank of second lieutenant. He alas died in northern France in 1918.
Herne Bay, Kent
• David Olusoga, in his excellent piece (I shared my home with Edward Colston for more than 20 years. Good riddance, 11 June), writes that Marvin Rees is the first mayor in Europe to be descended from enslaved people. Allan Glaisyer Minns was born on Inagua in the Bahamas in 1858. His grandmother had been a slave and he became mayor of Thetford, Norfolk, in 1904. He was the first black mayor in Britain. In 1913 John Richard Archer, whose father was a black Barbadian, was elected mayor of Battersea in London. Shameful that there aren’t more for a hundred years after that.
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