Published: Tue, January 16, 2018
Medical | By Alyssa Little

Cyrille Regis had 'massive' impact in England - ex-Spurs boss David Pleat

Cyrille Regis had 'massive' impact in England - ex-Spurs boss David Pleat

Mark Bright added: "Heavy heart this morning, just heard that Cyrille Regis has passed away age 59".

The club said in statement on their official website, "Coventry City Football Club is deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the death of former striker and FA Cup winning hero Cyrille Regis".

West Brom put their faith in him when they paid £5,000 to take him to the Hawthorns in May 1977, and it was richly rewarded as he scored 112 goals in 297 appearances for the club before moving to Coventry in a £250,000 switch in 1984.

Along with Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson, Regis was part of a trio of black players at West Brom nicknamed by manager Ron Atkinson as "The Three Degrees" - after an American singing group of three black women - at a time when English soccer was blighted by racism.

"Our deepest condolences go out to Julia and all of Cyrille's family and close friends". I remember looking up to him for being one of the first black players to really make it!

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He told Sky News from Tenerife: "He was a great footballer, terrific footballer and if anything, an even better bloke".

In 2008, Regis was appointed an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

"They did so much for the game and so much for the cause of black footballers", British broadcaster and West Brom fan Adrian Chiles recalled on BBC radio.

Regis was born in French Guiana but moved to London with his family at the age of five. Regis later played for Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wycombe Wanderers and Chester City.

The forward scored 158 goals in over 600 league appearances for a variety of clubs, including West Bromwich Albion, Coventry City, and Aston Villa.

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Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands region that is home to West Brom, said Regis did "so much to blaze a trail for racial equality in football and will be missed". He made a spectacular debut a few month later, scoring twice in a League Cup match against Rotherham.

He was named the Professional Footballers' Association's Young Player of the Year for 1978.

Regis was the third black player to be capped by England, following in the footsteps of Viv Anderson and Cunningham.

"Ian Wright, a later generation of black players, said "we were like Malcolm X ... but Cyrille was like Martin Luther King", Cyrille was always turning the other cheek".

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