Pioneering footballer Cyrille Regis MBE has been inducted into the National Football Museum's Hall of Fame.
The prestigious Hall of Fame Award took place at one of Regis’ former clubs Aston Villa and was presented to Cyrille’s widow Julia and his brother Dave by former England and Liverpool winger John Barnes.
The presentation fittingly took place during a ‘Strike A Change’ event, the leading mentoring programme of the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust. The charity was officially launched in July at West Bromwich Albion, the club where Cyrille, alongside Brendon Batson and Laurie Cunningham, became a pioneer for black footballers in the 1970s.
Regis, who died last year aged 59, was seen as a trailblazer for black footballers and given an MBE in 2008.
He made just under 750 appearances, scoring more than 200 goals during a professional career that spanned two decades, before retiring from football in 1996.
Tim Desmond, CEO of the National Football Museum, said: “Cyrille is the first inductee for our refreshed Hall of Fame which aims to recognise a wider diversity of those special football people who have made an outstanding contribution to the game of our lives. Cyrille was a pioneer and role model and it is fitting he is our first new inductee. We’re delighted Julia and Dave accepted the Hall-of-Fame Award on Cyrille’s behalf as members of the Regis family ensure Cyrille’s memory, and the community work that was close to his heart, lives on through the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust.”
Cyrille’s induction poignantly took place during the nationwide Black History Month celebration.
Former England team mate John Barnes said: “It was an honour and a privilege to present this award to Julia and Dave in memory of such an iconic footballer who was an inspiration to so many black players,” he said. “Cyrille was a superstar on so many levels but remained grounded and humble.”
Julia Regis, chair of the Trust, said: “Cyrille being inducted into the Hall of Fame is a lovely gesture by the National Football Museum. As a family, we remain immensely proud of the impact he made on the game both on and off the field. Cyrille’s legacy lives on and it was great that many of the young people he continues to inspire were present at the induction.”
Dave Regis, a Trust ambassador and former Stoke City and Birmingham City forward, said: “Cyrille’s induction into the Hall of a Fame is a great honour and well deserved for the person he was and how he inspired young black players who never thought they could break into professional football.
“My brother was a humble man. Even when players like John Barnes and Les Ferdinand told him he was their role model, he just took it in his stride. Cyrille always had time for people. The tributes over the past 18 months have been so overwhelming and just go to show how much people thought about him.”