blog | 30.01.18
We thank God for the life of former England footballer and Christians in Sport Trustee Cyrille Regis, who has died at the age of 59. Cyrille was a legend of West Midlands football and best known as a centre forward for West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City.
Christians in Sport General Director Graham Daniels said:
“Cyrille was an outstanding footballer but much more importantly an outstanding man. His courage as one of the first famous high profile black footballers meant that he became a role model which has changed the canvass of professional football. His faith in Jesus Christ, which he arrived at after the death of his close friend Laurie Cunningham, became a fantastic encouragement to many elite sportspeople to consider their relationship with the God who gave them their talents. The man was a giant in his generation.”
Just the third black player to be capped by England, Cyrille was a pioneer in the fight against racism in football. He played 614 matches and scored 158 goals in a 19-year professional career, which also saw him make five appearances for England. Cyrille’s career highlights included winning the FA Cup with Coventry City in 1987 and scoring the goal of the season, while playing for West Brom in 1981-2. He also had spells with Aston Villa and Wolves, which cemented his popularity in the region.
It was the death in a car crash of his best friend and former teammate Laurie Cunningham in 1989 that prompted Cyrille to ask questions about faith. His search for answers ultimately led to him becoming a Christian after what he described as “a real encounter with Jesus”.
After Laurie’s death, Cyrille started attending church and soon a local baptist minister sent him a book called A New Dimension by Michael Green,
Cyrille said: “As I’m reading this book, the penny drops. It really sinks in that Christ loves me. He died for me and He rose again from the dead and this awesome sense of peace comes over me.”
Cyrille soon became involved with and supported by Christians in Sport as he looked to live out his faith as a professional footballer. Following his retirement in 1996, he became a sports agent and remained passionate about sharing his story of faith.
He said: “I meet people all the time, some famous, some not who are all looking for hope and peace. I have learned that money cannot buy peace of mind so I simply tell people how I found hope and peace in God. The great thing about it is that anyone can have the peace that I have, you just need to know God.”
A member of Renewal Christian Centre in Solihull, Cyrille was a keen advocate of Christians in Sport and joined our Board of Trustees in 2011. Cyrille was also the first interviewee when we launched the Christians in Sport podcast in 2016. On it he shared his story of faith and football with General Director Graham Daniels.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Cyrille’s wife Julia and his family at this time.
Christians in Sport is a UK based charity that aims to reach the world of sport for Christ. We mainly work with sportspeople in competitive and elite sport.
Registered Charity England and Wales 1086570.
Registered Charity Scotland SCO45299.
Company number: 4146081
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