Page last updated at 04:05 GMT, Saturday, 14 June 2008 05:05 UK

Cyrille Regis honoured by Queen

Cyrille Regis
Cyrille Regis helped blaze a trail for black footballers

Midlands football legend Cyrille Regis has been appointed an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

The 50-year-old was one of the first black footballers to break through into the English game in the late 1970s and also won five caps for his country.

The striker starred in the West Bromwich Albion side of the late 1970s before joining Coventry City, where he won the FA Cup in 1987.

He also played for Aston Villa and Wolves in a 19-year career.

He said: "I'm thrilled, it's absolutely fantastic.

"I'd like to say thank you to a lot of people who have helped me, coaches, managers, friends, mentors and the fans, obviously.

"You go as far back as being born in French Guyana in a little town called Maripasoula and coming over to England.

"It just shows you that dreams can be fulfilled if you have the drive and support of people around you."

FULL HONOURS LISTS


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Regis moved to the UK in his youth and was playing for non-league Hayes Town when he was signed by First Division West Bromwich Albion in 1977.

Strong, fast, well-built and blessed with a thunderous shot, he quickly became a fan's favourite in an exciting, attacking team.

Along with team-mates Laurie Cunningham and Brendan Batson he helped blaze a trail for black footballers at a time when terrace racism was widespread and blatant.

They were frequently booed by opposing fans and even had bananas thrown at them at some away grounds.

In 1984 he moved across the West Midlands to Coventry City, where he went on to play a key role in their famous cup victory.

He became a Christian after the death of his close friend Cunningham in a car crash in 1989 and retired from football in October 1996.

He now works as a sports agent and has been honoured for his services to the voluntary sector and football.




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Interview: Cyrille Regis on MBE



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