Former England footballer Regis passes away

Cyrille Regis dead West Brom Coventry

English football is in mourning after news of the passing of West Brom and Coventry legend Cyrille Regis.

He subsequently moved to Coventry City where, as the highlight of a seven-year stint from 1984-91, he lifted the FA Cup in the thrilling 1987 final, won 3-2 against Tottenham Hotspur.

"Brendan (Batson), Cyrille and Laurie (Cunningham) did so much for black players in the game".

The trio faced frequent racist abuse from opposing fans throughout their careers. He was capped five times by England. Regis later played for Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wycombe Wanderers and Chester City.

Regis was spotted by West Brom's scouts and joined them in 1977, making an immediate impact and going on to score 81 goals in eight seasons before moving to Coventry.

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 came into football the hard way and never lost his passion for the game", widow Julia Regis said in a statement.

While working at talkSPORT, I produced a documentary on his career and had the chance to speak to him at length, you will not meet a more respectful and humble man.

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As a player, Regis stood out for his powerful performances at centre-forward and his former manager Atkinson believes he should have had more recognition by his country.

In 1975-76 and 1976-77, Regis played for non-league sides Molesley and Hayes respectively, with West Brom spotting him after he scored 24 goals in the Isthmian League.

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".

He wrote: "Devastated this morning my hero my pioneer the man behind the reason I wanted to play football has passed away my heart goes out to all his family RIP Cyrille Regis".

He was voted the PFA Young Player of the Year in 1978.

"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".

He was awarded an MBE in 2008 for services to the voluntary sector.

A statute of the trio called "The Celebration" was unveiled at West Brom four years ago.

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