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Cyrille Regis inducted into National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame

The trailblazing career of Cyrille Regis has received a further honour after the Midlands football legend was inducted into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame.

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Regis, who together with Brendon Batson and Laurie Cunningham helped break down racial barriers in the late 1970s as part of Albion’s famed Three Degrees, has become the first inductee of a rebranded Hall of Fame which aims to recognise a wider diversity in the sport.

An award was presented to his widow Julia and brother Dave by former England and Liverpool winger John Barnes, during a ceremony at Villa Park on Saturday.

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Regis also played for Villa and Wolves in a career which saw him score more than 200 goals in just under 750 appearances.

The presentation took part during a Strike A Change event, the first project run by the Cyrille Regis Trust, which was set up in the striker’s memory following his death in January, 2018, at the age of 59.

Julia Regis said: “Cyrille would be so humbled. When the museum approached us they did so off the back of the charity and the work we were doing.

“They wanted to engage with the project to make the presentation. It is fabulous. We all feel honoured, emotional and excited at the same time.”

The presentation was made during a Strike A Change event

Strike A Change, which launched at The Hawthorns in July, is run by the Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust in conjunction with the charitable arms of Albion, Villa, Wolves, Blues, Walsall and Coventry City.

Aimed at 14 to 15-year-olds with a passion for football but are considered to be disengaged within their school and community, Saturday was the second time the group have met.

The youngsters were given a motivational talk by Barnes on the theme of character, before playing a mini-tournament in the Villa Park academy building.

“Mentoring was the part of Cyrille’s job he loved the most,” explained Julia. “It felt fitting to launch the charity with a mentoring project and just a few weeks in I feel very encouraged.

John Barnes with Lauren Holden from West Bromwich Albion, Alex Harvey from Walsall FC and Corey Clutterbuck from Wolves

“One youngster said to me: ‘Miss are you coming down to watch us, because I am going to score a goal for Cyrille today.’

“I thought how lovely is that? They have connected with someone who retired from football before they were born.”

Barnes roomed with Regis when they were England under-21 team-mates and also played alongside him in the senior international set-up.

John Barnes roomed with Regis when they were both playing for England under-21s
John Barnes with 14-year-old Mustafa Hussain from Joseph Leckie Academy in Walsall

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be presenting 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.”

The Hall-Of-Fame Awards, supported by the Professional Footballers’ Association, celebrate the achievements of those who have made an outstanding contribution to the game, either on or off the pitch.

Past inductees include Cyrille’s former Albion team-mate Bryan Robson.

Tim Desmond, chief executive 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.

Tim Desmond, the chief executive of the National Football Museum

“Cyrille was a pioneer and role model and it is fitting he is our first new inductee.

“We’re delighted Julia and Dave have 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.”