Cyrille Regis MBE
Cyrille Regis is without doubt, both a football legend and role model to many. Spotted playing Sunday League football on Regent’s Park, London, in 1975 by amateur side, Moseley where he scored 25 goals in just one season before moving to Hayes FC in 1976.
It was during his time at Hayes that he came to attention of former West Bromwich Albion centre-forward, Ronnie Allen, who was a scout but about to become West Brom manager. When Allen took over at the Hawthornes, he paid the £5,000 transfer fee for Cyrille Regis out of his own pocket and his faith in Cyrille was soon repaid.
By 1977, Cyrille had made the amazing leap from non-league football to the English First Division and scored a number of great goals during his first season in the top flight. He was voted PFA Young Player of the Year in 1978 and when Ron Atkinson replaced Allen as West Brom boss, Cyrille – alongside team mates, Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson, were clumsily nicknamed ‘The Three Degrees’ – as they were the first three black British footballers playing in England’s top division.
Great on the pitch but abused by racist cowards in the crowds, they made a huge positive impact on British football and fast became role models for young black footballers.
After retiring from the game as a player, Cyrille coached at West Brom before becoming an agent and continues to do a great deal of charity work. He received an MBE in 2008.
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