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Cyrille Regis: Leaving a lasting legacy

REMEMBERED: Cyrille Regis (Photo credit: PA)

FOLLOWING THE very sad news of Cyrille Regis’ passing yesterday morning (Jan 15), The Voice spoke with those who knew him well to discuss his impact and legacy.

Diahanne Rhiney

“He was just one of those people who had such amazing light, and I am still in shock” said Diahanne Rhiney. “He absolutely loved football - we spoke only a couple of days ago and we were talking about football and my nephew, who's a promising footballer - and I just can’t believe it. He just was the nicest person.

Rhiney discussed Regis’s passion for the sport and the effect this could have on young footballers coming up today.

“He was very passionate about the youth and football and where its going. I think the effect this has is that the young people who would have someone to look up to and have that dialogue with that I was privileged to have, won’t be able to have that with Regis and the many greats who paved the way,” she added.

“And that to me, is a major loss. What made Cyrille so amazing was his personality and the way he spoke and the advice he gave. So I think that’s the biggest loss that the up and coming won't be able to share that - they won’t be able to sit in a room and hear him speak and feel that energy, passion and dedication.

“As somebody who was one of the biggest changemakers for black footballers it's such a loss. Gone way to soon.

DJ Spoony

“As a young black boy growing up in Hackney without much access to professional footballers, seeing the likes of Laurie Cunningham, Brendon Batson and Cyrille Regis in my sticker book gave me hope that there was another life,” said British DJ and former BBC Radio 1 presenter DJ Spoony.

“They say never meet your heroes, but I did have the pleasure of meeting Cyrille on many occasions and he was a constant gentleman. I had the pleasure of playing with him in a charity football match which was quite a surreal moment and i’ve met a lot of people who’ve probably achieved great things in their lives, but I can’t say I’ve met one who was more humble and respectful then Cyrille Regis.

“The world is definitely a poorer place without him, but we’re just lucky that we had him.”

Ambrose Mendy

British boxing manager and sports agent Ambrose Mendy spoke on his earliest memories of Cyrille Regis and the deep relationship they fostered over the years, He said: “I knew Cyrille before most people did. I first met him when he was 18-years-old and he was an outstanding footballer.

“Cyrille Regis exemplified ‘grace under pressure’. Every manager will tell you he was never one banging on the door for more money - even though his talent was excellent - and he was a very proud and astute black man.

Speaking on Regis’s legacy, Mendy added: “One of his primary goals was to be a coach in this country. This guy was supremely qualified, a member of the British Empire and you would never hear one negative comment about him.

“I want his legacy to be for us to see more black managers and coaches. That for me is a living testimony and that's what he wanted and what he was striving for until his very last breath.”

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