One of the first black players to represent England at senior international level, former West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City forward Cyrille Regis has died at the age of 59.
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English football is mourning the former international striker Cyrille Regis, who has died at the age of 59.
Born in French Guiana but raised in London, Regis was a pioneer for black footballers in the UK as part of the exciting West Bromwich Albion side of the late 1970s that he, as centre-forward, spearheaded alongside fellow black team-mates Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson.
Regis later rejoined West Brom as a coach before becoming a football agent, and was granted the prestigious UK civilian award of MBE in 2008 for services to charity and football.
Following the news he had passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest, his widow Julia said: "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."
Initially a non-league player, Regis was given his opportunity by West Brom in 1977 and immediately flourished, being voted Professional Footballers' Association Young Player of the Year for 1978. His 112 goals in 302 appearances helped Albion to third and fourth-placed finishes in the English top flight, also bringing Regis international recognition in the shape of five caps earned between 1982 and 1987.
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. Regis later played for Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wycombe Wanderers and Chester City.
Gordon Taylor pays tribute to Cyrille Regis: “A true legend and great pioneer for equality. A former PFA Young Player of The Year and real gentleman who will be sadly missed by all who knew him! Our thoughts are with his family and many friends at this sad time.” pic.twitter.com/NpvuegTgPa— PFA (@PFA) 15 January 2018
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 pic.twitter.com/145idFZopb— Andrew Cole (@vancole9) January 15, 2018
What a man. What a centre-forward! 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. RIP big man 😢— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) January 15, 2018
Devastated,Sad,Gutted and totally Shocked by the news that Cyrille Regis has died.— Dion Dublin (@DionDublinsDube) January 15, 2018
He was my ALL TIME footballing hero and idol...... and the main reason why I wanted to be a Centre Forward,just like him! #LEGEND
I’m gonna miss you my FRIEND!
RIP Big C pic.twitter.com/9VBJ9EcDGs