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The Three Degrees by Paul Rees

Release date: 05th July, 2014
Publisher: Constable

List Price: £20.00
Our Price: £13.00
You Save: £7 (35%)
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REWIND the clock to the end of the 1970s and savour this love letter to the Baggies.
A time when the initials WBA stood for style and excitement rather than the Why Bother Anyway of too many recent seasons.
A trio of black players rose above the bitter hatred of banana-throwing terrace morons to flourish under West Bromwich Albion’s flamboyant manager Ron Atkinson.
And when he spied an opportunity for Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson to meet Sheila Ferguson, Valerie Holiday and Helen Scott, Big Ron proudly announced that he had his own Three Degrees – and set up a match made in heaven for the tabloid photographers.
The Hawthorns’ Three Degrees swapped their blue and white striped shirts with the fur coats of the Three Degrees from Philadelphia for an iconic photograph.
Strangely, you will search in vain for that image in Paul Rees’s otherwise excellent book. Readers must be content with a modest picture of the soul girls with Regis and the ill-fated Cunningham in a local nightclub.
This is a richly entertaining snapshot of an era almost frozen in time, with a sense of overriding sadness at Cunningham’s demise and death in a car crash in Spain.
England’s leading club at the dawn of 1979, Albion were cursed by a cruel cold spell while Liverpool took advantage of Anfield’s undersoil heating to overtake them.
The sides met on February 3 in a contest billed as a title decider. Cunningham had a late chance to equalise and failed.
The author wonders if the gifted winger ever really recovered.
He writes: “In those few fateful seconds at Anfield was he able to determine the cold, hard truth that would haunt him to his ruin?
“That he had got as far as the line making out true greatness, but had been unable to cross it?”


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