LONDON, Jan 19 — Former West Bromwich Albion and England forward Cyrille Regis, a trailblazer for black players, who died on Sunday aged 59 will be honoured at all Premier League matches this weekend.
The Premier League announced today there would be a minute’s applause and all the players would wear black armbands as a tribute to the swashbuckling striker, who scored 112 goals in 297 appearances for West Bromwich Albion before moving on to Coventry and winning the FA Cup in 1987.
“The Premier League recognises the important career of Cyrille Regis, and his special role as a trailblazer for black players in modern English football,” the Premier League said in a statement.
“Clubs will mark his contribution with a minute of applause and the wearing of black armbands at this weekend’s matches.
“The League embraces requests from clubs and stakeholders to celebrate the lives of people who have made a unique contribution to the sport.”
Regis played five times for England between 1982 and 1987 and was one of the stars of the West Brom team between 1977 and 1984 alongside two other back players, Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson.
The trio faced frequent racist abuse from opposing fans throughout their careers.
Regis was born in French Guiana in February 1958 but moved to London with his family at the age of five. He was spotted playing Sunday morning football in Regent’s Park in London by the chairman of a non-league club.
He trained as an electrician and was playing for Hayes in non-league football when he attracted the attention of top clubs and was bought by West Brom for £5,000 in 1977.
At a time when the only other black player appearing regularly in the English top flight was Viv Anderson at Nottingham Forest, Regis, thrilling winger Cunningham, and Batson, an elegant defender, were a novelty in English football.
They were nicknamed the “Three Degrees” by manager Ron Atkinson and embraced the joke, posing with the popular American singing trio, with the women wearing West Brom shirts and the players matching fur coats. — AFP