A statue in honour of the sporting legends – the Three Degrees – was unveiled today in the heart of West Bromwich.
Scores of fans and family members gathered at New Square Shopping Centre to pay homage to WBA and England players Laurie Cunningham, Cyrille Regis and Brendon Batson.
The Celebration Statue depicts the pioneering trio as they celebrate a goal being scored.
Representing the everlasting footprint on the history of football left by Laurie, Cyrille and Brendon, it also highlights the ground-breaking influence the players had on black athletes across the UK.
Known as the Three Degrees, the trio endured racist taunts and prejudice at football grounds throughout England in the 70’s.
Rather than giving up, the trailblazers responded with style and dignity to create an enduring legacy for subsequent generations of black footballers.
Standing 10ft in height, the bronze monument was created by Graham Ibbeson, one of the UK’s best loved sculptor. Jim Cadman led the campaign to have the tribute to the Black Country icons immortalised in the heart of West Bromwich.
Brendon Batson OBE, the surviving member of the Three Degrees, was in attendance at today’s event and spoke of his mixed emotions.
He said he was “honoured and humbled” for the support but it was bittersweet as his comrades Laurie and Cyrille have passed away.
Brendan went on to describe how the statue represents the journey of black football players and their resilience which continues to inspire players today such as Raheem Stirling and Danny Rose.
Laurie Cunningham made his England debut against wales in 1979 and won a total of six caps. He died in a car crash in 1989 at the age of 33.
The death of Cyrille Regis is still a fresh wound in the hearts of family and friends at the player passed away from a heart attack, in January 2018.
Earlier this year, Transport for West Midlands named a tram after Cyrille to honour his legacy.