Who is Cyrille Regis? A look at the West Brom & Coventry City football icon ahead of clash at The Hawthorns

Cyrille Regis played a huge role in combating racist abuse during his time at both West Brom and Coventry City.

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Tonight’s Championship match between West Brom and Coventry City (Friday, February 3) will be used to pay tribute to Cyrille Regis who died in January of 2018 after suffering a heart attack aged 59. The striker spent his most prolific years with both Midlands clubs, making more than 500 appearances.

The game provides an opportunity for both sets of supporters to recognise the achievements and celebrate the life of Regis in just the fourth competitive meeting between the two sides since his death. The fixture will also serve as Albion’s annual Kick it Out game.

Why was Regis so significant to both clubs?

Regis scored a combined 128 league goals for the two West Midlands sides, leaving an unmatched legacy behind following his departure from them. The striker played a huge part in helping to combat racism and discrimination nationally both in football and society itself.

He bagged a goal in Albion’s 5-3 victory over Manchester United which became known as the game of the century for many, with Regis and his fellow black teammates being subject to booing from the stands throughout.

Regis also became one of the first black players to receive an England cap when he came on as a substitute for Trevor Francis in the 1982 Home International Championship game between the Three Lions and Northern Ireland where England ran out 4-0 victors.

In 2004, he was voted as one of the Baggies’ all-time 16 greatest players to celebrate the club’s 125th anniversary. Regis also has his photo displayed in the Coventry City Hall of Fame gallery at the CBS Arena. The two sides played a friendly game back in 2018 which was dubbed the Regis Shield which Albion won 5-2.

Regis was also awarded an MBE in 2008 in the birthday honours for his tireless charity work and contributions to the modern game. He also has a charity named after him called the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust, of which his daughter Julia is the chair.

Cyrille Regis, the former West Brom and England forward, has died aged 59. Picture: SWNSCyrille Regis, the former West Brom and England forward, has died aged 59. Picture: SWNS
Cyrille Regis, the former West Brom and England forward, has died aged 59. Picture: SWNS

What tributes will be made?

The fixture will be West Brom’s annual Kick it Out fixture, with players due to wear the anti-discrimination campaign’s t-shirts when they warm up ahead of the second tier clash. Supporters are also encouraged to wear green and yellow away replica shirts, similar to the type Regis wore during his time with the Baggies.

Albion’s chosen charity partner for the 2022/23 campaign, the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust will be in attendance. Carlos Corberan’s players will also continue ‘taking the knee’ with photos of Regis along with former teammates Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson, who are known as the ‘Three Degrees’ supporting them on the big screens.

Hawthorns legend Cyrille Regis (photo: PA)Hawthorns legend Cyrille Regis (photo: PA)
Hawthorns legend Cyrille Regis (photo: PA)

Corberan ‘proud’ to pay tributes

Albion’s boss has helped his side undergo an unbelievable transformation since taking over at the end of October when they were bottom of the second tier. And the Spaniard is pleased to be able to remember the Baggies hero tonight.

"It’s very important and it makes me very proud to be part of a club with a past and history which details how much players fought any kind of difference between the colour of the people.

"I know the work he was doing on and off the pitch to help this cause. For me, to have this game dedicated to him is very important to always keep in our minds the work he was doing.”