Smith column: Vaughan demands test change as Sheffield Wednesday share Ron and Regis memories

'˜We're going to win 5-4', the barmy army song goes.

Monday, 22nd January 2018, 10:04 am
Updated Monday, 22nd January 2018, 10:05 am
England's captain Eoin Morgan, right, celebrates with Joe Root after their win over Australia in their one day international cricket match in Sydney, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

England’s miraculous rediscovery of form has seen us take a 3-0 one-dayers lead against Australia after losing the Ashes 4-0.

Different players, different game against an Australia cruising after an easy tests triumph?

Cyril Regis

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But isn’t a more likely explanation the impending Indian Premier League auction where players need to be in top form to get top money?

Michael Vaughan has spoken about reforms desperately needed to save English test cricket and things need to happen.

We are all motivated by money but if the four or five-day magic of test cricket is to survive it needs a kick in the googlies to make it competitive for players and watchable for fans.

Cyril Regis

And, as Vaughan says, it has to happen NOW before it’s too late.

n Fitting tributes to Cyrille Regis recognised his dignity in an era when black players suffered racist abuse every week.

Powerful and talented Regis terrorised defences over three decades, and it was a performance towards the end of his career that will be remembered by many Wednesdyites.

Hillsborough on the opening day of the season in 1991, Owls 2 Villa 3.

Regis, then 33, had been signed for Villa on a free from Coventry by Big Ron – or ‘Judas’ Atkinson as he was known to Wednesdayites after he walked out of Hillsborough to take the Villa job earlier that summer.

The Villa team bus needed a police escort to get through angry Owls fans lining the streets to let Big Ron know what they thought of him.

But the abiding memory on that sweltering August day, apart from David Hirst’s brilliance, was the way Regis and former Wednesday striker Dalian Atkinson, also no longer with us, brutalised the Wednesday defence.

They were everything centre forwards should be, hard-working, held the ball well, went for goal at every opportunity and hard as nails. It worked and they both scored.

Villa came from 2-0 down to win in Trevor Francis’ first game as Owls player-manager.

I remember actually feeling sorry for Owls centre-backs Nigel Pearson and Paul Warhurst as Atkinson and Regis piled into them time and again. You could almost feel the pain from the press box.

Cyrille Regis was a role model for black lads all over the world. He was a hell of a player too.