Custom Search 1

Statue honouring black footballers to be unveiled in 2019

ICONS: Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham alongside Brendan Batson to be honoured with statue

GENEROUS FUNDING provided by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has ensured that sculptor Graham Ibbeson is now working on the final phase of the £220,000 Celebration Statue.

Plans are now being put in place to unveil the ten foot high bronze statue in the heart of the regenerated West Bromwich town centre in early March 2019.

The unveiling ceremony will coincide with the 41st anniversary of ‘The Three Degrees’ - Laurie Cunningham, Cyrille Regis and Brendon Batson - playing together for West Bromwich Albion for the first time in the 2-2 draw at Ipswich Town in March 1978.

Representing ‘art in action’ as Cunningham, Regis and Batson celebrate a goal being scored, the statue symbolises more than just one goal – it is about the ground-breaking influence the trio had in overcoming racist taunts and prejudice at football grounds throughout England. They responded to this prejudice in style by playing attractive football, scoring spectacular goals and winning matches.

The late 1970s and early 1980s was one of the proudest chapters in West Bromwich Albion’s history. It catapulted the West Midlands club onto the world stage and saw the doors opening for young black footballers to get an opportunity in the professional game for the first time.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor OBE said: “The PFA has been determined to get this important tribute to “The Three Degrees” over the line and mark their great contribution to football and equality for time immemorial.”

Jim Cadman, who has led the campaign for the Celebration Statue, added: “The Three Degrees 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.

“I would like to thank Gordon Taylor and the PFA for their support over the past six years and also record our thanks and appreciation for the contributions made to this project by Sandwell Council, The Football Association,

The League Managers Association, Kick It Out, the 1979 Club, the West Bromwich Albion Supporters Club, WBA Former Players Association, businesses throughout the Black Country and dedicated fans of West Bromwich Albion who follow the team in good times and bad,” Mr Cadman added.

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.

Facebook Comments