Friday, 7 December 2007

Player Profile : Cyrille Regis

Chants of "Big Cyrille, oooh ah, Big Cyrille" echoed around the stadium as the former England and Coventry star strutted his stuff on the hallowed Deva turf. Hailed a hero by the North terrace regulars, Regis played a commanding role during Kevin Ratcliffe's first full season in charge of the Blues.

Cyrille Regis will always be remembered as one of Coventry City's most illustrious sons. The ex-striker expressed his surprise, but was clearly pleased by the belated show of support. The french born striker, whose trademark was scoring highly spectacular goals, began his playing career in the midlands with West Bromwich Albion alongside other star players like Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Batson, Derek Statham, Len Cantello and Tony 'Bomber' Brown.

Regis broke into the first team at West Bromwhich Albion within a few months of signing for West Brom in May 1977 and remembers some of the racial abuse that he endured initially from some of the Hawthorns crowd, "I think they were rebelling against me 'cause I'd taken a white guy's place in the team," he said. However, the West Brom fans were quickly impressed by his early scoring exploits and were quick to warm to the former electrician who had joined Albion from the non-league obscurity of Hayes.

Regis believed that it was this early recognition and acceptance of his talents by both the club and fans alike, which allowed his career at the Baggies to develop. Large black communities in nearby Handsworth also provided support for Regis and his colleagues at a time when coloured supporters were reluctant to attend matches for fear of their own safety. Regis would later reach the pinnacle of his career in 1987, when he was a key figure in Coventry City's F.A. Cup winning triumph.

He stayed at Coventry City for another seven years, winning the only major medal of his career. He then played two years for Aston Villa and ended his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wycombe Wanderers and finally with the Blues. Regis played twenty seven times for Chester helping contribute to a relatively successful season by scoring seven goals that term. His outstanding performances made him a joy to watch as his strong commanding figure became clearly too much for many opposing sides in Division Three that year.

No comments: