May 28 (Reuters) - English football paid tribute on Thursday to South African Albert Johanneson, who became the first black player to appear in an FA Cup final 50 years ago, but died in poverty in 1995.
His daughter and two granddaughters flew from the United States to attend a ceremony at the National Football Museum in Manchester supported by the Football Association, the Professional Footballers Association and the anti-racism organisation Football Unites, Racism Divides.
On Saturday they will sit in the Royal Box at Wembley for this year’s Cup final between Arsenal and Aston Villa.
Johanneson was acknowledged as a pioneer from the time he arrived at Leeds United in 1961. He played in the team beaten 2-1 by Liverpool in the Cup final four years later and made almost 200 appearances in all.
“He found prejudice based on skin colour was almost as big a problem in England as it was in South Africa,” his daughter Yvonne told The Times.
After retiring, Johanneson had drink problems and died of meningitis and heart failure aged 55. (Reporting by Steve Tongue; editing by Justin Palmer)