Sheffield United: Blades legend Brian Deane leads tributes to late football legend Cyrille Regis
Brian Deane, the former Sheffield United striker, has led the tributes to former West Brom star Cyrille Regis after he passed away on Sunday night.
Regis, who played 297 times for the Baggies in the 1970s and 80s, was the third black player to be capped by England and was described by West Brom as "one of the great symbols of the fight against racism" and "a pioneer for black footballers" across the world.
The former Baggies player died aged 59 after falling ill on Sunday night and Deane, one of United's all-time greatest strikers, broke down in tears as he paid tribute to Regis.
"Cyrille was the main reason why a lot of young black kids looked at football and thought there was a genuine opportunity to play. He embodied the spirit of the inner cities of the time, it's just a tragedy," he said.
"In those days, the abuse was part and parcel of the game unfortunately. You couldn't stop and complain because people would say 'he's got a chip on his shoulder, he hasn't got any bottle' and really, when you look back at the abuse, what happens nowadays pales into insignificance.
"Cyrille was different, he was an inspiration to a lot of black kids because he was the first one to break through. It was his presence when you were with him, he was a fantastic human being and it's a great loss."