Getting the Third Degree

An opportunity to wallow in sentimentality as I recall the huge impact of the first 3 black players to play together for West Bromwich Albion in the seventies.
I had learnt again of Laurie Cunningham’s story from an ITV documentary (“First Among Equals – The Laurie Cunningham Story (2013)”) and I’m trying to get proof that I saw Cunningham play at the “game of the decade” (that never was) when Liverpool beat WBA at Anfield on 3rd February 1979, and when WBA beat Man U at The Hawthorns on 10th October 1979.
All dramatic portrayals of football suffer with trying to re-create the action, and from commentary to describe the action in superlatives. A shame that the play doesn’t use more of what the player said, or may have said, when describing goals and achievements.
And of course, a football fan spots things like Orient being referred to as Leyton Orient in the ’70s, when they weren’t.
Also some of the political points being made were not clear enough – was Roy Jenkins moving the 1976 Race Relations Act being celebrated, or ridiculed? What was the final scene trying to say? And perhaps the current point to be made is the lack of black managers in the top flights of football – and I remember Cyrille Regis complaining some years back when he couldn’t make a breakthrough.
But for those who don’t know the stories, this play is worth seeing.

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