"HE was a leader of men and people, but also a warm man who everybody could connect to in their own special, unique way…”
Darren Moore has been speaking about his great friend and mentor Cyrille Regis following the Albion legend’s death over the weekend.
Cyrille’s passing at the age of 59 has submerged the Club in a mixture of sadness and celebration, as his great deeds on the pitch and off it have dominated all our thoughts.
For Darren, currently working as first team coach in Alan Pardew’s management team, the loss was keenly felt having always found the great man available for advice and guidance.
"It was devastating to hear the news," says ‘Mooro’.
"I’m picturing memories, his face, what he meant to me and what he will always mean to me.
"He was a dear friend and my mentor. Me and Cyrille spoke often about the game. I looked up to him and leant on him quite a lot right up to this present day.
"I valued speaking to him every single time because he always left me with something to consider and to move forward with. That is unique.
"My heart goes out to his wife Julia, who is another dear friend of mine, and his immediate family. He was a leader of men and people, but also a warm man who everybody could connect to in their own special, unique way.
"If you asked him something you would come out of the conversation with a clearer picture because he was very good at expressing himself.
"He knew how to treat people. He was a wonderful gentleman. I don’t have any words in front of me, I’m just speaking from the heart."
Darren remembers well his first image of Regis as the ‘Three Degrees’ team made its barnstorming impact on British life as he was growing up.
"I was out on the streets playing cricket with my friends and my dad called me in," he recalled.
"There was a game on the television and West Bromwich Albion were playing.
"The Three Degrees were massive for the black community.
"My dad showed me the game and as a youngster I thought the pitch was a stage, with the fans in the stands worshipping the 22 players.
"I turned to my dad having seen Laurie, Brendon and Cyrille on the pitch and said I am going to do that. That’s what inspired me to become a footballer.
"When I was at Doncaster I played against a 37 or 38-year-old Cyrille Regis. He played for an hour and they won the game 1-0.
"I was really looking forward to the game because I was going to get the chance to pit myself against one of the iconic legends in the game.
"As a 38-year-old man, he taught me a lesson in the game. I walked off the pitch at Chester and said when he was in his prime he must have been absolute havoc to play against.
"He had everything then as a 38-year-old."