CYRILLE Regis’ image was projected onto the Coventry Transport Museum earlier this week as part of a campaign celebrating the 150th anniversary of the FA Cup.
The striker – a pioneer for players of black heritage – helped Coventry lift the trophy for the first and only time in their history back in 1987 when the Sky Blues beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 at Wembley in front of 96,000 spectators.
Regis’ image lit up the home of the open-top trophy tour bus which transported him and his Coventry teammates through the streets of the city after they won the competition 34-years ago.
The projection of Regis was shown in support of a specially-commissioned film produced by The FA and featured a line from the script that reads: ‘An Idea That Is Open To All’ in reference to Regis who was a role model and a trailblazer for black footballers.
Featuring former FA Cup winner Ian Wright, the 60-second film showcases the vision and values that then Secretary of the Association, Charles W. Alcock, envisaged when he proposed the original idea for the competition in 1871 – to bring hope, opportunity and equality to football.
And Regis’ daughter Michelle – who was present to mark the occasion – stressed just how important Coventry’s cup win was to her late father who died from a heart attack on January 14, 2018 aged 59.
Michelle said: “Winning the FA Cup was the biggest accomplishment of his career – the day was spectacular – my Mum said that the energy and electricity ran for weeks.
“I wish I could sit and talk to Dad about that because I’d love to know a real account but I know it was special for him.
“I know how important it was seeing the whole city come out and celebrate – he was proud to be a part of that.”
She also felt honoured to attend the celebrations at the Coventry Transport Museum and explained how her father’s legacy lives on.
Michelle added: “I just wish he was here to see it – I feel so honoured and blessed, it’s like I get to celebrate him all over again – it’s a real legacy.
“He’s definitely a trailblazer but I don’t think that was his goal – he just loved the game – it’s not until people said to him afterwards ‘you’re the reason I got into football’ that’s when you know what he achieved.
“In the moment – he was just playing the game he loved, that’s what makes it more special because he wasn’t aware and that’s what kept him really humble.
“I hope his legacy has been what it’s been – he’s been celebrated as a trailblazer which is what he was. I don’t think he realised how many lives he was inspiring and how many lives he was touching.
“He’s been celebrated as a human being with a big heart and that’s what Dad was – he was warm, he was kind, he had time for everybody and inspired so many people and so many hearts, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Regis was appointed an MBE in 2008 and – alongside fellow black players Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson – was part of the ‘Three Degrees’ during his time at West Bromwich Albion, with the trio subject to racist abuse from fans during the late 1970s.
He scored 62 goals in 274 appearances for Coventry and has since been inducted into both the Coventry City and English Football Hall of Fame.
Large-scale image projections – similar to that of Regis – have been displayed on landmarks up and down the country representing key figures and moments through the years that best depict the competition’s values alongside scripted lines from the film.
Other projection sites include: The Oval, Trulife Factory in Sheffield, LNER Stadium in Lincoln and the Marine Travel Arena in Merseyside.
The specially-commissioned film can be viewed on the FA Cup YouTube channel by clicking here.