West Bromwich Albion: Statue of legends Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham and Brendan Batson due to be unveiled

Last updated at 05:26
Clay model of statue of Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Batson and Cyrille RegisSandwell Council
A clay model of the statue was first unveiled in 2013

A statue of three black footballers who were famous in the 1970s is being unveiled in West Bromwich, the city where they played.

The statue honours Brendon Batson, Cyrille Regis and Laurie Cunningham who were three of the best players in the country at the time.

The fact that the players were also black, meant that they had to take a stand against racism, which was really bad in English football at the time.

When football teams in the 1970s started to have players from different races and backgrounds in their teams, many of these footballers faced abuse from fans and even other players.

Players like Baston, Regis and Cunningham defied the racists by playing fantastic football and in turn, inspired more black players to be confident that they could play football at the top level of English football too.

When the trio played together in 1978, it was the first time a top club had regularly fielded three black players. Their manager called them 'The Three Degrees' after a famous US signing group.

Cyrille Regis, scored 112 goals in 297 appearances for West Bromwich Albion

Cyrille RegisPA
Cyrille Regis won five caps for the England team

Laurie Cunningham, was one of the first black footballers to play for England and the first British footballer to play for Real Madrid.

Laurie CunninghamGetty Images
Laurie Cunningham started in schoolboy football but was turned down by Arsenal before going to Leyton Orient, then West Brom.

Brendon Batson was the first black player to play for Arsenal and was a respected defender who made 160 appearances for West Brom. He has campaigned against racism in football ever since he played.

Brendan Batson
Brendon Batson moved to the UK from the West Indies when he was nine years old.

The three players opened the gates to allow black players into football at a time when they were locked out.

Jim Cadman,, helped organise the Celebration Statue

The statue will be displayed in West Bromwich town centre, but has faced several delays in recent years. Organisers said it has now been finished after receiving £38,000 from the Professional Footballers' Association.

The statue is 10ft high, the three players are all made out of bronze and it was created by sculptor Graham Ibbeson.

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