Midlands football great Cyrille Regis admits the racist taunts he received from fans spurred him on to become a better player.
Regis enjoyed an illustrious playing career that included winning the FA Cup with Coventry as well as spells with Albion, Villa and Wolves.
But his early years in the game were tainted by abuse from the terraces towards black players, including his Baggies team-mates Brendon Batson and Laurie Cunningham. Regis said:
“There were hardly any black players then. Viv Anderson was at Forest, he was one.
“We all suffered a lot of racist abuse, but we just used it as motivation.
“We just thought: ‘OK, if you’re trying to stop us playing football by shouting abuse, we’ll show you how good we are’. It spurred us on. ‘Thanks, that’s another few points in the league, we’ve moved above you in the table’.
“But you know, we were just a component in a really good side. None of our team-mates saw us as black.”
Read the full interview with Cyrille Regis in your Weekend Express & Star