Cyrille Regis dies aged 59

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10 February 1990 Former electrician Regis joined West Bromwich Albion in 1977 for £5,000 from non-League Hayes, scoring twice on his debut• Regis, pioneering black footballer, dies aged 59There have been few more explosive starts to a career than the one made by Cyrille Regis.

His most prolific time as a striker was with West Brom, for whom he scored 112 goals in 297 appearances.

In a stellar career, Regis also played for Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wycombe Wanderers and Chester City.

In 2008, Regis was appointed an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Together with Brendon Batson and the late Laurie Cunningham, Regis formed part of a West Brom trio nicknamed "The Three Degrees" by manager Ron Atkinson after the American female singers visited The Hawthorns.

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His spectacular strike against Norwich City in the FA Cup won Match of the Day's Goal of the Season award for 1981-82.

An early day motion describes Regis as "one of the most talented, dynamic and prolific footballers" of his generation and salutes his efforts to combat racism through his status as a role model.

"But in England I think we've come a long, long way from where we were in the seventies", he added.

In a statement on Monday, Regis' wife Julia said: "Cyrille and I were soulmates".

"But for me, I will never forget Cyrille the footballer - a wonderful, wonderful player who had everything and who defenders of the time would have hated facing. What a legacy. Rest In Peace".

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"No one can underestimate the influence he had on the game or British black culture".

The news of Regis's death broke on this morning through the WBA Former Players Twitter account.

"He got five worldwide caps but today he would get 60 or 70 at least", Atkinson told BBC West Midlands radio.

"Ian Wright, a later generation of black players, said "we were like Malcolm X. but Cyrille was like Martin Luther King", Cyrille was always turning the other cheek".

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