Brendon Batson inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame

2 March 2024


West Bromwich Albion legend and part of the famous "Three Degrees", Brendon Batson, has been inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame.

The National Football Museum Hall of Fame aims to celebrate and highlight the achievements of those who have made an outstanding contribution to English football. The Hall of Fame also acknowledges and champions the careers of those that go beyond just impact on the pitch.

Brendon was inducted not only for his work on the pitch, but his trailblazing achievements, social impact, and service to football post retirement.

Upon his induction, Brendon said: "It means everything for me really. Especially as we’re beating one of our main rivals right now.  I’m very flattered. It was a big surprise and I’m very proud. It feels great to be recognised for my career in football and work in and around the game. Especially here at my home in front of these fans, it feels special.”

Born in Grenada, Batson and his family moved to the West Indies at the age of six, before migrating to England aged nine in 1962. Brendon started his professional career at Arsenal but made his mark at Cambridge United under manager Ron Atkinson. The defender amassed over 160 caps for the U’s, winning the Fourth Division league title in 1976 and being named in the PFA team of the year in the process.

When Ron Atkinson moved to West Bromwich Albion in1978, he brought Brendon with him. He’d go on to play 172 times for the Albion, combining with fellow Baggies stars Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis to form the famous ‘Three Degrees’, a term coined by their manager.

A maquette of Brendon Batson, Cyrille Regis and Laurie Cunningham, previously on display at the museum.

Although not the first black players to play in England, the trio captured the imagination of fans not only at West Brom but across the country in a time where racist abuse in football was still a regular occurrence. Brendon and his teammates braved the abuse and helped pave the path for black players in the English game.

The legacy Brendon, Laurie and Cyrille left behind was so great in the West Bromwich area that a commemorative statue of the three legends was erected in the town’s New Square in 2019.

After retirement, Brendon was appointed as the Deputy Chief Executive of the Player’s Football Association (PFA) in 1984. He spent almost two decades in that role, and is currently a Trustee (and Chairman) of The Players Foundation.

In 2023 Brendon released an autobiography, titled ‘The Third Degree’, in which he speaks candidly about his life in football, dealing with grief, and his life-long battles with racism.

Deputy Chair, Jane Bateman, as well as National Football Museum CEO Tim Desmond were on hand to present Brendon with the award in front of a packed crowd at the Hawthorns as the Baggies took on midlands rivals Coventry City. Brendon was accompanied by his close family and was met with a warm welcome from fans, home and away.

Tim Desmond, Chief Executive of the National Football Museum, said: “Brendon’s unwavering commitment and influence on English football, as a player, PFA executive and anti-racism campaigner, is truly remarkable.

"His resilience and courage to speak up and challenge the abominable abuse endured by so many is outstanding, which is why we are delighted to induct Brendon into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame and showcase his inspirational story to fans around the world.”

Brendon joins familiar and famous company, fellow member of the Three Degrees, the late Cyrille Regis, as well as Vincent Kompany and Jill Scott. You can find the full list on the National Football Museum website here:

https://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/explore-the-museum/hall-of-fame/