In the late 1970's, Britain was going through a traumatic time. Industrial disputes were frequent and racism was rife. I spent my time trying to find comfort in the terraces at Highfield Road, homeof
Coventry City. I was in my early teens. We had assembled a good attacking side by then, one that narrowly missed out on Europe. Our nemesis however were local rivals West Brom who we couldn't seemto
get the better of. Under Ron Akinson, Albion had assembled an attractive high flying side.
A lot of the media attention forcused on the so called three degrees, Brendan Bateson, Laurie Cunningham and Cyrille Regis. Three top notch black players in the same side was unheard of and the
trio had to endure and overcome predjuice from some sections of the crowd. The threesome let their football do the talking and the attacking prowess of Cunningham and Regis was awesome. With pace
and skill they ripped sides apart.
There's decent footage on YouTube of WBA tearing a decent Manchester United side to shreads at Old Trafford. Regis also scored a Match of the Day goal of the season against Norwich. My own
overbidding memory is going to West Brom and seeing us thumped 7-1. We were doing well at the time but Regis and Cunningham along with Tony Brown were unplayable. I felt like the colour of the
infamous chocolate brown away kit we wore that day.
By the mid eighties Cyrille despite being capped for England had lost his way a bit and eventually signed for Coventry. At first, he struggled with our management playing a long ball game rarther
to his ground power and silky first touch skills. It took the appointment of John Sillett as head coach before we saw the best of Cyrille. While not so prolific goal wise he was tremendous at
bringing others into play in dangerous positions. His resurgence culminated in a wonderful triumph over Spurs in the 1987 FA Cup Final. His smile at the end of the match will always live with me.
He enjoyed a few more good years at a City before leaving for Villa and later, Wolves. Perhaps the only player to be adored at four different West Midlands clubs. Following retirement he became a
football agent. To his credit, one of the few of that much maligned breed nobody had a bad word to say against. Taken far too early at 59, Cyrille leaves behind a rich legacy as trailblazer,
inspiration and swashbuckling centre forward. I'm thrilled to have some special memories of the man, from my favourite day in football to his pioneering work as a role model. Goodbye big
man. Rest well. It was a privilege.