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GALLERY: Cyrille Regis tram unveiled in the Black Country

By Jordan Reynolds | Sandwell | News | Published:

The family of football legend Cyrille Regis have spoken of their pride as the latest tribute to him was unveiled in the Black Country.

A West Midlands Metro tram bearing his name and an iconic image will now run regularly between West Bromwich, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

Albion hero Cyrille, who also played for Villa, Wolves and Coventry, died of a heart attack a year ago this week aged just 59.

He blazed a trail for black players in the '70s and '80s inspiring a generation of youngsters to take up the game.

He also played a key role in the ‘Kick It Out’ campaign to tackle racism in football.

West Midlands tram named after footballer Cyrille Regis

Unveiling

His family and friends were joined by former Albion players and team-mates, including Brendon Batson and Ally Robertson, at at the unveiling of the tram at The Metro Centre, in Potters Lane, Wednesbury.

Cyrille’s son Robert said: “I can imagine his cheeky face if he’d have seen the tram, he wouldn’t be able to believe it, but would definitely be joking about it further down the line, like if we’d have asked for a lift he’d say to go on his tram.

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“It’s a huge deal to our family and our friends and the people of Sandwell.”

Daughter Michelle added: “It’s been a busy year, it’s been a heartbreaking year, but all the celebrations have been beautiful.

“We keep hearing new stories about him from others.”

'Stunning'

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Cyrille’s widow Julia added: “The tram is stunning, absolutely stunning, I love the image used. What has helped is seeing just how loved he was by the wider community.

“I don’t think I’ll ever quite get used to seeing it driving around here.”

Former team-mate and fellow member of the so-called Three Degrees, Brendon Batson, was at the event and said Cyrille’s name will live on.

“Seeing the image of him on the side is very fitting,” he said.

“For this who didn’t know anything about Cyrille, they will learn about him and his name will live on.

"I can't quite comprehend he's no longer with us. He made such a mark nationally, it's a great legacy.

"Us as teammates loved Cyrille and we didn't know how much he was loved by the general public as he left such a mark."

Laura Shoaf, managing director of Transport for West Midlands, revealed that the tram will run from Birmingham to West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.

Only two other trams in the 21-strong West Midlands Metro fleet have been named. In 2016 Birmingham rock star Ozzy Osbourne returned to his home city to have a tram named in his honour and in 2015 the Queen opened the Birmingham city centre extension by naming a tram after Councillor Angus Adams, the late chairman of the region’s transport authority who had been instrumental in getting the project built.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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