Socialist Worker

The Three Degrees - how three black players helped change British football

by Nick Grant
Issue No. 2417

Paul Rees’s new book does a fine job documenting the impact three black footballers had on 1970’s Britain playing for West Bromwich Albion. 

Three black people regularly playing in the same top division English football team was unprecedented.

Laurie Cunningham was a balletic winger born to Jamaican parents and grew up in Archway, north London.

Cyrille Regis, an electrician born in French Guyana, was spotted while an amateur player for Hayes.

Brendon Batson came to the “Baggies” in 1978. 

They faced horrific racist abuse from players, fans, referees and Nazis constantly. 

But Baggies fans like myself adored them. They silenced prejudice with sublime skills and success.The Baggies played thrilling attacking football. 

Their different fates are woven through excellent first-hand sources into a fascinating tale. It will delight any Socialist Worker reader. 

The Three Degrees: the men who changed British football forever by Paul Rees. Constable, 2014

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Tue 19 Aug 2014, 19:36 BST
Issue No. 2417
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