Ron Atkinson referred to Laurie Cunningham, Cyrille Regis and Brendan Batson as “The Three Degrees”. He was just warming up too. Image via tumblr.
Brendan Batson has reiterated the importance of “fighting racism with a united front” in his plea to black footballers not to form a breakaway union. The former Arsenal and West Brom defender was speaking after several players, including Rio Ferdinand and Jason Roberts, refused to wear anti-racism t-shirts during warm-ups at the weekend, apparently as a protest against a perceived lack of consistency from the FA in a number of high profile incidents.
Batson has previously spoken of the abuse he suffered as the first black player to be selected for the Arsenal first team, and says that while he understands the players’ frustration, he believes they would be stronger in the current system than fighting alone. He said:
The battle accelerated in ’93 with Kick it Out, while current players may not think it has been accelerated enough in the last few years and because of the incidents over the past 12 months.
I think they should use the PFA and the other partners to help that change to support anti-racism campaigns to help that change.
Whether FIFA, UEFA and the FA will bother to join him on the frontline remains to be seen.