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  1. ITV Report

Three Degrees: Statue honouring West Brom footballers unveiled

A 10ft statue created honouring three pioneering black footballers in the West Midlands has been unveiled in West Bromwich.

The Celebration Statue of Laurie Cunningham, Cyrille Regis and Brendon Batson represents the wider ground-breaking influence the players had in overcoming racist taunts and prejudice at football grounds throughout England.

The statue of the West Bromwich Albion players shows them celebrating a goal. It was unveiled by the PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor in New Square.

It was created by acclaimed sculptor Graham Ibbeson and represents 'art in action'.

Jim Cadman, led a long-running campaign for the sculpture.

The irony is that it is now going to be unveiled when racism is rearing its ugly head, and there is an investigation into racism against England at Montenegro.These three players were true pioneers of the game who made genuine football history in West Bromwich.

The Celebration Statue will convey passion, strength and achievement to a global football audience and support the fight to remove all aspects of racism from our beautiful game."

– Jim Cadman
The trio were nicknamed 'The Three Degrees' Credit: ITV Central

When Regis, Cunningham and Batson played together in 1978, it was the first time a top club had regularly fielded three black players.

Manager Ron Atkinson dubbed them the Three Degrees.

Cyrille Regis died in January last year, aged 59.

He won five England caps and made 297 appearance for the Baggies, scoring 112 goals, and also won the FA Cup with Coventry City in 1987.

Laurie Cunningham made his full England debut against Wales in 1979 and won a total of six caps. Also that year, he became the first British player to transfer to Real Madrid. An FA Cup winner with Wimbledon's Crazy Gang in 1988. He died in a car crash in 1989 at the age of 33.

Brendon Batson OBE, MBE made 345 appearances and scored seven goals during his career at Arsenal, Cambridge United and West Bromwich Albion. Brendon's playing career was cut short by a knee injury in 1982 and he went on to become a well-respected football administrator and football consultant.