Cyrille Regis photos of Cyrille

Footballer

Cyrille Regis is fondly remembered as a true football legend.

An exciting, prolific and whole-hearted centre-forward who thrilled crowds with his pace, strength and power, Cyrille had a penchant for scoring spectacular goals and provided inspiration to subsequent generations of black British players.

Cyrille’s career reads like a film script.

Born in French Guiana, but moving to and growing up in West London from the age of five, he had seemingly missed out on a football career having failed to gain a trial at a professional club as a schoolboy. However, he was spotted as a 17-year-old playing Sunday morning football on Regents Park by John Sullivan, chairman of Surrey-based non-League club, Molesey.

After impressive successive seasons at Molesey and fellow non-Leaguers Hayes, Cyrille was snapped up by First Division West Bromwich Albion for just £5,000 in May 1977.

Albion scout and soon-to-be manager Ronnie Allen, a former England and Albion centre-forward, was so convinced of Cyrille’s potential that he offered to buy him with his own money.

A Roy of the Rovers style debut in a League Cup tie against Rotherham in September 1977 in which Cyrille scored twice and left the pitch with the crowd chanting his name was followed by a wonder goal on his league debut against Middlesbrough three days later.

Significantly Cyrille had joined a club with another (rare at the time) notable black player – Laurie Cunningham. When full back Brendon Batson joined West Brom in 1978, the trio were given the uncomfortable moniker, the Three Degrees, and were targeted for racist abuse at games.

As an integral part of an attacking and exciting team, Cyrille won PFA Young Player of the Year in 1978, and went on to play for the England Under-21 and senior national teams.

In total, he scored 112 goals in 297 appearances for West Brom before joining Coventry City for £250,000 in 1984.

Although he was less prolific (62 goals in 274 appearances) for the Sky Blues, Cyrille won the only trophy of his career at Coventry – the FA Cup – in 1987.
A smattering of goals for Aston Villa, Wolves, Wycombe Wanderers and Chester City brought a gradual closure to Cyrille’s distinguished 19 year professional career in 1996.

He returned to The Hawthorns as a coach for four seasons before becoming a football agent.

Cyrille received an MBE from the Queen in 2008, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Wolverhampton in 2001 and published his autobiography, Cyrille Regis – My Story in 2010.

In 2012, plans for a statue to commemorate the Three Degrees, scheduled to be unveiled in West Bromwich town centre in 2014, were announced to confirm Cyrille’s legendary status both in the game and in the West Midlands.