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West Brom hero to be immortalised on the silver screen

The tragic tale of a West Bromwich Albion hero who was the first black player to pull on an England shirt is being brought to the big screen, reports the Birmingham Mail. Laurie Cunningham, who dazzled Hawthorns regulars in the late 1970s with his wizardry on the left wing, is the subject of a film by award-winning playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah.

The film, Black Flash, tells the colourful and tragic story of Cunningham, who played for the Baggies 86 times between 1977 and 1979, scoring 21 goals, before a £950,000 move to Real Madrid.

He was the first British player to make the move.

Laurie had already made history two years earlier by playing for England under 21s, and becoming the first black man to wear the Three Lions on his chest.

In summer 1979 he became the first black man to play competitively for England at senior level, with Viv Anderson having won his cap months earlier in a friendly.

But, after a glittering career that took in heart-breaking injury, late night parties and the constant battle against racism, he died in a car crash in 1989 at the age of just 33.

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