The Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust photos of Cyrille

Cyrille’s legacy continues to inspire the ‘Regis Boyz’

The late, great Cyrille Regis inspired a generation of football fans after bursting on the scene at The Hawthorns in 1977, and the global impact of his trailblazing fight against racism remains a relevant reference point for the youngsters of today – both in the United Kingdom and around the world. 

In 2005, a Hong Kong after-school football club named their informal organisation after the Albion legend and with it, The Regis Boyz were born. 

Correspondence followed in the form of handcrafted letters, birthday cards and gifts, regularly delivered to Regis, who would always take the time to write back, including copies of his autobiography and autographed photographs, thus building an unbreakable bond with the children which, after Cyrille’s untimely passing in 2018, continues to thrive through his wife Julia and the Trust established in his name. 

The Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust strives to develop and support football-based projects which lie at the heart of their communities, and the Regis Boyz certainly fit the bill – providing a safe and secure setting away from the streets and public parks of Hong Kong. 

Founded by football consultant and community leader Nene Leung, the group is going strong almost two decades on, with Cyrille’s legacy forming a base for on and off-the-pitch learning. 

Leung explains: “Students in Hong Kong don’t have the luxury of playing football on the school campuses, which are mostly equipped with basketball courts. Public parks and playgrounds become alternative venues not just for sports but as a hangout after school. This is not a safe and secure setting, which is why I volunteered as a mentor. 

“In the mid-2000s, I’d had enough of hearing cliché arguments about which current player was the best and asked the children to look beyond the game itself, at the social issues intertwined with football and particularly racism. 

“A school project required the boys to complete a piece of work on an icon, and unprompted by me, and following their own research, they settled on Cyrille Regis as their subject. Their project identified Regis as a special player, both on and off the pitch, and his work as a trailblazer in breaking down barriers became its focus. The rest is history.” 

Last month, Leung completed a “pilgrimage” on behalf of the group, visiting The Hawthorns to meet Julia Regis and the club’s Director of Communications, Ian Skidmore. 

Leung continues: “I was deeply moved following my recent visit to The Hawthorns. To see Regis’ legacy around the stadium was special. He may be gone, but he will clearly never be forgotten. For me, it was a pilgrimage I embarked upon on behalf of all the Regis Boyz. 

“I was fortunate to also witness the work the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust conduct in the community through the Strike A Change programme.” 

The Regis Boyz continue to flourish, with new generations of young participants joining annually to learn about Cyrille, the player and, more importantly, his ground-breaking work as a pioneer for black footballers.