Monday, 15 January 2018

West Brom and England striker Cyrille Regis has died at the age of 59

Cyrille Regis played for West Brom from 1977-1984

-England and West Brom player Cyrille Regis played an integral role in dealing with racism in  football.

-The forward, alongside Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson, formed a trio nicknamed the  Three Degrees and played an integral role in the acceptance of black footballers in the English  leagues.
Cyrille Regis playing for West Brom in the FA Cup semi final against QPR in 1982


-He made 614 league appearances and scored 158 league goals during his 19 year professional  playing career.

After retiring in 1996, Regis worked as an agent for the Stellar Group.

Chief executive Jonathan Barnett said: "Cyrille was a wonderful person to work with and his death has left everyone in the company and the players he represented with a great sense of sadness.

"Our deepest condolences go out to Julia and all of Cyrille's family and close friends.

"Cyrille was a pioneer in British football and hugely respected by everyone in the game."

Mr Barnett also praised Regis for his "passion, determination and integrity".
Cyrille Regis (l) was pictured in November last year at in London.

Ron Atkinson, Regis' manager at West Brom and Aston Villa who gave him and his teammates the nickname, the Three Degrees, said his death was "a complete shock".

He told Sky News from Tenerife: "He was a great footballer, terrific footballer and if anything, an even better bloke. I saw him recently and he still looked capable of playing, fit as a fiddle."

Mr Atkinson resigned as an ITV football pundit in 2004 after he allegedly used racist remarks about Chelsea player Marcel Desailly.

Broadcaster and West Brom fan Adrian Chiles had been due to meet Regis and former team-mate Batson on Tuesday, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Praising the role played by Regis in dealing with racism in British football, he said: "In later years I was privileged to get to know him as a friend and he just didn't carry anger with him from that time.

"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.

"They did so much for the game and so much for the cause of black footballers."

Regis was born in French Guiana but moved to London with his family at the age of five.

He was spotted playing Sunday morning football by the chairman of Surrey non-league club Molesey.

The trained electrician joined West Brom in 1977 after chief scout, Ronnie Allen, offered to pay part of his signing fee from his own pocket because he was so certain the then 20-year-old would make it to the top tier of English football.

Regis earned five caps for England after making his debut for the senior team in 1982.

The forward scored 112 goals in 301 appearances for West Brom, before joining Coventry where he won the FA Cup in 1987.

He also played for Aston Villa, where he was reunited with former West Brom manager Ron Atkinson, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Wycombe Wanderers before retiring from the game at the age of 38 in 1996.

Regis was awarded an MBE in 2008.

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