Albert Johanneson


A teacher recommended Albert Johanneson to Leeds United after seeing him play for Germiston Coloured School and Germiston Colliers in his native South Africa.

Signed on a three-month trial during 1961, Johanneson soon made his debut in the Leeds first team. He played one game with fellow Black South African winger Gerry Francis for the Elland Road side.

His bewitching skills at outside-left caused havoc in Second Division defences. Joint top scorer as Leeds won the Second Division Championship in 1964, he continued to mesmerise his defensive opponents in the First Division.

In 1965, he made history as the first black man to play in the FA Cup final as Leeds lost 2-1 to Liverpool at Wembley.

A target for racial abuse, Albert Johanneson's confidence was sometimes undermined by the jibes of his opponents.

After exactly 200 appearances, Johanneson joined York City in 1970.

Despite his achievements on the pitch, some thirty years later Albert Johanneson died a forgotten man in his Leeds high-rise flat in September 1995.

In 2015, FURD's Howard Holmes and Cape Town based illustrator Archie Birch produced a comic book based on his life: 'Albert Johanneson: the first Black Superstar' which can be bought from FURD for £2 per copy. See the link to the news story below for further details.

"Albert was quite a brave man to actually go on the pitch in the first place, wasn't he? And he went out and did it. He had a lot of skill. A nice man as well - which is, I suppose, the more important thing, isn't it? More important than anything." (George Best).