Cyrille Regis died on January 14, 2018 following an eventful career that took him from non-league to the Premier League, and saw him play five times for England.
The forward scored 158 goals in over 600 league appearances for a variety of clubs, including West Bromwich Albion, Coventry City, and Aston Villa.
In 1982, he became the third black player to be capped by England, following Viv Anderson and Laurie Cunningham.
Where was Cyrille Regis born?
Regis was born on February 9, 1958 in the South American country French Guiana, to Robert and Mathile Regis. When he was just a child, he followed his father to London, where he impressed as an athlete at school.
He was offered a trial at Chelsea, but injury saw his early dream of becoming a footballer fail to materialise. After school, he earned a City and Guilds diploma as an electrician, but played Sunday league and non-league football while working full-time.
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.
Who did Cyrille Regis play for?
West Brom paid £5,000 to sign Regis in 1977. He had a dream debut against Rotherham United in the League Cup, scoring two goals to send the Baggies through. His league debut also saw him find the net, and he finished his maiden campaign in the First Division with 10 goals.
At West Brom, he teamed up with fellow black players Laurie Cunningham and Brendan Batson, with the trio nicknamed 'the Three Degrees' after the American soul group. His second season was even better than his first, finishing with 13 goals as well as being voted the PFA Player of the Year.
Regis finished his stint at West Brom with 112 goals in eight seasons at the club before moving to Coventry City in 1984 for £250,000. He went on to win his first silverware with Coventry, lifting the FA Cup in 1987. He scored in the third round and the quarter-final and had a goal ruled out for offside as City defeated Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.
Former West Brom manager Ron Atkinson took him to Aston Villa in 1991, and he played in the inaugural Premier League season the following year as Villa finished runners-up. Regis's later career saw him spend short stints at Wolves, Wycombe Wanderers and Chester City before retiring in October 1996.
In the 80s while at West Brom and Coventry, he played five times for England, but was eligible to play for France due to his place of birth. His first senior game came in the 1982 British Home Championship, coming off the bench in a 4-0 win over Northern Ireland. He played four more times, with his last appearance coming in 1987 during an 8-0 rout of Turkey.
What did Cyrille Regis do after football?
After initially trying his hand at coaching at West Brom, Regis became a sports agent, where he covered a variety of disciplines outside of football. This included representing his nephew Jason Roberts, a striker who played for Bristol Rovers, West Brom and Wigan Athletic in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was also the agent of sprinter John Regis, who set the UK 200 metres record in 1994, with a time of 19.87 seconds, which still stands as the national record today.
In 2004, he was named as one of West Brom's 16 best players ever in a poll to mark the club's 125th birthday, while he was also chosen as one of Coventry's 30-best post-war players in 2008. Regis was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2008. West Brom are due to unveil a 10-foot statue of Regis, Cunningham and Batson at the Hawthorns this season.
Work on the statue begun in 2013, with Regis remarking after seeing the designs: "We were part of that first generation of black players in this country and I'm sure that if you ask any second generation player they will tell you they were inspired by Laurie. That's why the statue will be so important."
Cyrille Regis MBE died in January 2018, aged 59.