Director's Message: Continuing Cyrille's legacy

Date posted: 27/03/18

Director's Message: Continuing Cyrille's legacy

In the past couple of months, I have often had the privilege of speaking about the life of former England footballer and Christians in Sport Trustee Cyrille Regis.

His death in January, at the age of 59, was a major shock and came just two days after he had joined us at our Birmingham Partner Evening.

Cyrille was a giant of this work and is sorely missed, but what a legacy of faithful service he leaves behind. We give great thanks to our Heavenly Father for how He used Cyrille for His glory.

Cyrille had been a Trustee since 2011 and was a committed supporter of Christians in Sport. He defied the racism that regularly followed black players of his generation to carve out a successful career at the top level as a centre forward with West Bromwich Albion, Coventry City, Aston Villa, Wolves and England.

He was a real pioneer. A man who played in front of 40,000 people and was bombarded with racist abuse, but refused to give in. What character he showed. Significant footballers cried their eyes out at his death because he had done so much to make their lives better.

Back Pages magazine spring 2018

This article appears in the Spring 2018 issue of Back Pages. To read the rest of the magazine, click here.

It was the death of his best friend and former West Brom teammate Laurie Cunningham in a car crash in 1989 that prompted Cyrille to ask questions about faith. His search ultimately led to him becoming a Christian after what he said was “a real encounter with Jesus”.

The former West Indies cricketer Ron Headley, Bryan Hewett, whose story you can also read in this issue, and local Baptist minister Colin Day all played their part in Cyrille’s journey of faith.

For the next 28 years, we watched Cyrille influencing hundreds of young leaders with his generosity, kindness and unashamed standing for Christ.

We may not all have Cyrille’s sporting gifts, but we are all called to follow Jesus’ Great Commission of Matthew 28 and make disciples of all nations.

People come to know Christ because Christians like Cyrille, like us, live for Him and speak of Him in their world of sport. What better way to continue Cyrille’s legacy than by doing just that!