Football remembers Albert Johanneson

Thursday 28 May 2015
Albert Johanneson played for Leeds United in the 1965 FA Cup Final at Wembley

The FA has joined forces with the PFA and the Football Unites, Racism Divides project to commemorate Albert Johanneson, the first black player to appear in an FA Cup Final.

50 years ago this month, Johanneson played for Leeds United against Liverpool in the 1965 Final at Wembley and Albert’s daughter Yvonne, and granddaughters Samantha and Stephanie, will present the National Football Museum in Manchester with his runners’ up medal on Thursday.

The family, flown in specially by The FA from Atlanta, Georgia in the USA, will then travel to Wembley on Friday before attending The FA Cup Final as special guests on Saturday when Arsenal take on Aston Villa in this year's showpiece.

Paul Elliott and Brendan Batson remember the first black player to feature in an FA Cup Final


Thursday's event will see representation from professional clubs and campaign groups alike, many who have followed Albert’s story, as well as the launch of a specially commissioned comic, ‘Hurry Hurry Albert’, which charts his younger days growing up in Apartheid South Africa.

Another former Leeds United star, Brian Deane, has welcomed the acknowledgement that Albert is now receiving.

"As young, football-crazy lads growing up in Chapeltown, Leeds, in the early 1970s, Albert Johanneson was a name that we were all familiar with," said Deane.

"Although his career was over, we knew he had been a great player for Leeds United and an inspiration for the next generation of black footballing talent in the city.

"He was a true pioneer, and one can only imagine how hard it must have been for Albert as the only black person in the stadium, never mind just on the pitch, in an age when there was open hostility against people purely because of the colour of their skin.

“I know he received some terrible stick from opposing fans, but he persevered and became a hero both to the Leeds supporters and the black community in the city and beyond.

"It is brilliant that his achievements are now being recognised, 50 years after being the first black footballer to appear in a Wembley Cup Final."

Other items on show include a tankard, which was used in celebration after winning the First Division during the 1968-69 season, an FA Cup Final celebration banquet menu as well as fan mail sent to Albert by a Swindon Town fan after he impressed during a performance for Leeds against Swindon.

You can read more about Albert here.

By FA Staff