Brendon Batson

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Brendon Batson
Personal information
Full name Brendon Martin Batson
Date of birth (1953-02-06) 6 February 1953 (age 64)
Place of birth St. George's, Grenada
Playing position Right back
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–74 Arsenal 10 (0)
1974–78 Cambridge United 163 (6)
1978–82 West Bromwich Albion 172 (1)
National team
England B 3 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Brendon Martin Batson, OBE (born 6 February 1953) is a British former association footballer.


Born in St. George's, Grenada, Batson moved with his family to England when he was nine. Until then he had never even seen a game of football and a teacher at his school, on watching his early efforts and reflecting on his birthplace opined, "Well, perhaps cricket is your game."[citation needed] However, he was signed as a schoolboy by Arsenal, and was the first black player to play for the Gunners' first team. In all, he made 10 appearances for Arsenal before moving to Cambridge United in 1974. He spent four years at Cambridge, captaining the side to the Fourth Division Championship under manager Ron Atkinson in 1976-77. When Atkinson moved to West Bromwich Albion in 1978, he attracted Batson to follow him and to team up with fellow black players Cyrille Regis and Laurie Cunningham. Although not by any means the first black footballers to play professionally in England, the Three Degrees (a reference to The Three Degrees contemporary vocal trio of the same name) were an integral part of their acceptance in the English leagues.

Whilst a West Bromwich Albion player he played in a benefit match for Len Cantello, that saw a team of white players play against a team of black players.[1]

A cultured defender, Batson's career was cut short by a serious playing injury in 1982, following which he developed into an able and active administrator at the Professional Footballers' Association. He was capped three times for the England B team.

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2001[2][3] and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours, both for services to football.[4][5]


  1. ^ Adrian Chiles (17 November 2016). "The match that pitted white players against black players". BBC. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56070. p. 14. 30 December 2000. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  3. ^ Batson awarded MBE
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 61092. p. N11. 31 December 2014.
  5. ^ 2015 New Year Honours List


  • Bowler, D., & J. Bains (2000), Samba in the Smethwick End: Regis, Cunningham, Batson and the Football Revolution, ISBN 1-84018-188-5
  • Paul Rees,(2014) "The Three Degrees The Men Who Changed British Football Forever" ISBN 978-1-4721-1926-1

External links[edit]