PNE join in tributes to '˜role model' Cyrille Regis
Cyrille Regis' widow Julia has described her late husband as a 'role model' and 'a very precious treasure' after his death at the age of 59.
The death of the former West Bromwich Albion and Coventry striker has sparked glowing tributes to a man who blazed a trail for black footballers in Britain.
His wife Julia said in a statement: “Cyrille and I were soulmates. He was the perfect man for me and we had a wonderful life together.
“He was a beautiful man and a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle. Losing him has turned my whole world upside down, it is a void that will never be filled.
“I have been moved by the many messages of support and condolences I have received and the kind things people have said about Cyrille as a person and a professional.
“He came into football the hard way and never lost his passion for the game. He was a role model for so many because he always treated everyone he met with kindness and respect.
“The world has lost a very precious treasure.”
Preston North End tweeted their condolences: “@pnefc is extremely sad to hear of the passing of Cyrille Regis.
“As a player he was an inspiration to many and we had the pleasure of dealing with him as an intermediary, representing a number of the club’s players.
“Our condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.”
Regis’ death was announced by the Professional Footballers’ Association, which said in a post on its official Twitter account: “A true gentleman and legend, he will be deeply missed. Our sympathies to his family and friends.”
Born in French Guiana, he moved to West London with his family at the age of five and got his big break in when he was spotted by non-league Molesey as a teenager playing in Regents Park before being picked up by West Bromwich in May 1977 for £5,000.
Regis made a swift impact, scoring twice on his debut in a League Cup tie against Rotherham to launch a Baggies career which encompassed 297 appearances and 112 goals.
Perhaps more importantly, along with team-mates Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson, he helped pave the way for other black players in an era when overt racism was rife.