Leeds United unveil partnership with Jay-Z's Roc Nation with club legends mural in city centre

The Leeds United mural underway in Leeds city centreThe Leeds United mural underway in Leeds city centre
The Leeds United mural underway in Leeds city centre
Leeds United has unveiled a partnership with rapper Jay-Z's entertainment agency Roc Nation with a special mural in the city centre

The 'unique piece of art' in the centre of Leeds is called ‘Paving the Way’.

Situated on The Calls, in the heart of Leeds, a mural has been painted by famed street artist Akse P19 in celebration of the new partnership, featuring club legends Albert Johanneson and Lucas Radebe, as well as homegrown midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

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The mural design proudly honours the diverse heritage of the club, and the foundation of minority-owned Roc Nation, whose home is depicted in the mural via the New York City skyline.

Albert Johanneson has been added to the murlaAlbert Johanneson has been added to the murla
Albert Johanneson has been added to the murla

A spokesman for the club said: "Albert Johanneson was the first high profile Black player to represent Leeds United as well as the first player of African heritage to play in an FA Cup final in 1965. The South African winger made nearly 200 appearances for the club between 1961 and 1970.

"Joining Johanneson on the mural is Lucas Radebe, better known as ‘The Chief’. Also hailing from South Africa, The Chief joined the club alongside countryman Phil Masinga in 1994 and became a cult hero at Elland Road, making over 200 appearances during an 11-year stay and retiring in 2005. Radebe proudly wore the captain’s armband for both Leeds United and the South African national team, including during the 2002 World Cup when Nelson Mandela referred to Radebe as ‘my hero’.

"Both of these players paved the way for many young athletes from an array of backgrounds to play for Leeds United – none more so than Kalvin Phillips. The Yorkshire Pirlo is Leeds born-and-raised, as well as being immensely proud of his Jamaican ancestry. Kalvin, depicted at the heart of the mural, is a fan favourite and has made a flying start to his first Premier League season, recently making his debut for the England national team."

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"I'm so honoured and humbled to be muralised on a wall in the city I love alongside Kalvin and a fellow South African, the legendary, Albert Johanneson who paved the way for black footballers." Lucas Radebe

The finished mural in Leeds city centreThe finished mural in Leeds city centre
The finished mural in Leeds city centre

"On behalf of the Johanneson family, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Leeds United Football Club and Roc Nation for its decision to include my father, Albert Johanneson, as a face in its efforts to openly acknowledge and celebrate the indelible mark that people of color have made toward the club’s successes, both historically and in the present.

As an aspiring 21-year-old football player, Albert left the poverty of apartheid South Africa in the 1960s for a trial position with Leeds United, eventually becoming a part of the first team under the helm of legendary coach, Don Revie, and excelling enough in his craft to become the first African to play in the esteemed F.A. Cup Final. We continually see his accomplishments with LUFC, and its wider significance to the game of football as a whole, as a source of great pride." Yvonne, Albert's eldest daughter

This special piece of art marks a new partnership between Leeds United and Roc Nation that has been announced today, and will see the world’s leading music and sports agency support the growth of the Leeds United brand in key markets of the USA and Asia as it continues to broaden its footprint in the realm of global football.

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