Albion legend honoured
BRENDON Batson has been awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours list for his services to football.
The Albion legend, who was awarded an MBE back in 2001, played for the Baggies between 1978 and '84, being Ron Atkinson's first signing following his arrival.
Batson remains heavily involved with Albion - he will be joining Blind Dave Heeley and Great Britain's Blind Football Paralympian Darren Harris in the Albion Foundation's Tri-Albion Challenge in late February.
Speaking about his New Year gong, he said: "I came back from holiday to find a letter which I assumed would be something from the tax man or such-like, only to find it was informing me about the OBE.
"I am absolutely humbled and honoured to receive this.
"Football has been my life and I feel very fortunate to have been involved in the game for so many years.
"I came to England as a nine-year-old from Trinidad and, earlier, Grenada, having never played football properly.
"My playing career was everything - it seems anything after that would come second - but I also had some exciting and fulfilling times with the PFA, Kick It Out and the FA."
Former team-mate Cyrille Regis, who is an MBE himself, paid tribute to his friend.
"It's wonderful - very richly deserved," he said.
"Not only was he a great team-mate but he has had massive influence in the corridors of power.
"He experienced racism at its very worst in the 1970s and he did something about it as a football administrator.
"Football owes a lot to his work."