Former England and West Brom striker Cyrille Regis dies, aged 59

Lynette Rowe
January 16, 2018

"No one can underestimate the influence he had on the game or British black culture".

Ex-West Bromwich Albion striker Cyrille Regis dies at the age of 59.

The French Guyana-born forward also won five caps for England between 1977-1984.

The Professional Footballers' Association, which honored Regis with its Young Player of the Year award in 1978, said Regis was a "great pioneer for equality".

West Brom chairman John Williams said: "This is terribly shocking and upsetting news and our thoughts and condolences are with Cyrille's family".

Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole today described Regis as "my hero, my pioneer, the man behind the reason I wanted to play football".

Regis was sent a bullet by racists before he made one of his six appearances for England, but it did not put the player off his game.

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"But for me, I will never forget Cyrille the footballer - a wonderful, wonderful player who had everything and who defenders of the time would have hated facing".

Making sure to secure his ticket to work as a full-time "spark", Regis promptly abandoned his trade to embark on a far more exciting one as a full-time professional footballer with Hayes, West Brom, Coventry, Aston Villa, Wolves, Wycombe and Chester City.

Atkinson gave a start to many aspiring black footballers in the 1970s and 80s but was accused of racism later in his career after making derogatory comments, for which he subsequently apologized, about former France worldwide Marcel Desailly.

"He was just a really nice guy", said Mr Watts. "Everybody seemed to admire the way he went about his business and the way he played".

Tributes poured in from football's finest. He was part of Coventry's FA Cup-winning side in 1987.

The ex-striker passed away after suffering a suspected heart attack.

Regis is survived by two children Robert and Michelle and three grandchildren Jayda, Renée and Riley.

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