The Midlands mourns the loss of Cyrille Regis - The Solihull Observer

The Midlands mourns the loss of Cyrille Regis

Solihull Editorial 18th Jan, 2018   0

THE WORLD of football is in mourning following the sudden death of pioneering legend Cyrille Regis.

Cyrille passed away aged 59 after suffering a suspected heart attack on Sunday evening. Just hours before his death he attended the Renewal Christian Centre in Solihull.

The striker, who lived in Edgbaston, made his name in the 1970s in the West Bromwich Albion side which became the first to field three black players – Brendon Batson, Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille.

The trailblazing trio were dubbed the ‘Three Degrees’ – after the popular singing group – and they answered the terrace racists of the time by helping establish West Brom as one of the best teams in the country, and opening up the professional game to young black players.

Wife Julia released an emotional statement released through West Brom.

“Cyrille and I were soulmates, he was the perfect man for me and we had a wonderful life together.

“He was a beautiful man and a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle.

“Losing him has turned my whole world upside down. It is a void that will never be filled.

“I have been moved by the many messages of support and condolences I have received and the kind things people have said about Cyrille as a person and a professional.

“He came into football the hard way and never lost his passion for the game. He was a role model for so many because he always treated everyone he met with kindness and respect.”

Cyrille scored 112 goals in 297 appearances for West Brom before joining Coventry for £250,000 in 1984. He pulled on a Sky Blues shirt 238 times scoring 47 goals, and was a member of the 1987 FA Cup winning side.

He won five England caps, and later also played for Aston Villa, Wolves, Wycombe and Chester.

Former Sky Blues captain Dion Dublin said: “I would never have been a footballer if it wasn’t for Cyrille.

“He was my friend, He was an inspiration. He was a giant, and he wasn’t a bad centre forward either.

“He was a leader. We stood on his shoulders as black players. He opened doors as a black person. Between the age of eight and 15 I was a West Brom fan because of the ‘Three Degrees’.

“He was a trailblazer for black footballers – but not just for us. Any player of my age would have looked at Cyrille Regis and said wow, he was a player. Look at what he’s done for the game.

“Forget the black, forget the white, the guy was an absolute hero, and a gentleman.”

Tributes poured in from the football world.

Ex Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted: “A great man. Helped set the foundations for others. Always remembered.”

Ferdinand’s former United teammate Andrew Cole tweeted: “Devastated my hero my pioneer the man behind the reason I wanted to play football has passed away.”

Gary Lineker said Cyrille’s legacy went beyond the game and he had helped pave the way for black footballers in Britain.

Premier League record goalscorer Alan Shearer said: “One of my earliest football memories was walking into WBA for a trial as a 13-year-old kid, seeing Cyrille Regis and being in awe of him.”

Cyrille’s services to the game saw him awarded an MBE in 2008.

Following his retirement from football, Cyrille and his wife Julia supported the work of charity WaterAid – which looks to provide safe drinking water around the world – and the pair visited projects in Ethiopia.

WaterAid director of communications Marcus Missen said: “Cyrille spoke of water as the foundation of life and championed our work to bring clean water and sanitation to the world’s poorest people.

“He will be sorely missed by everyone at WaterAid, and we send our thoughts and condolences to his family at this sad time.”

Cyrille is survived by wife Julia, two children, Robert and Michelle, and three grandchildren.


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