Former Leeds United star among mourners as football bids farewell to trailblazer Cyrille Regis

Chris Whyte during the memorial service for Cyrille Regis. PIC: PA
Chris Whyte during the memorial service for Cyrille Regis. PIC: PA
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A member of Leeds United’s title winning team bid farewell to Cyrille Regis at a service in honour of the former West Brom striker at The Hawthorns today.

Chris Whyte, a central defender who played more than 100 games for the Whites, was at today’s public memorial which took place after a private funeral on January 30.

Regis died suddenly on January 14, aged 59.

He was a trailblazer for black players in English football and made 297 appearances for the Baggies, scoring 112 goals.

Regis earned five caps for England and won the FA Cup with Coventry in 1987.


Tributes poured in earlier this month for a man, described by his wife Julia as “a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle”.

He is survived by his wife, who he married in 2006, his children from his first marriage, Robert and Michelle, and his grandchildren, Jayda, Renee and Riley.

Regis was described as one of the modern game’s “pioneers” and a “crusader against bigotry”.

Born in French Guiana, Regis moved to west London with his family as a five-year-old and came late to professional football after being spotted as a teenager by non-league Molesey.

West Brom put their faith in him when they paid £5,000 to take him to The Hawthorns in May 1977. He moved to Coventry in a £250,000 switch in 1984.

Regis played his football in an era when racism was rife, paving the way for future generations along with Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson at West Brom and becoming just the third black player to win a full England cap - the first of five - when he lined up against Northern Ireland in February 1982.

He did so having been sent a bullet through the post, a chilling indictment of the climate in which he built his career.

Regis, who became an MBE in 2008, had spells at Aston Villa, Wolves, Wycombe and Chester as his playing career drew to a close and after spending four years on the coaching staff at The Hawthorns, worked as a football agent until his death.

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