DARREN Moore has been talking about his close bond with Cyrille Regis’s family following his rise to Head Coach at The Hawthorns.
Darren’s promotion, from caretaker to permanent first-team boss, came at the end of a season which saw the Club mourn the passing of one of our all-time greats and an inspirational figure across the wider sporting world.
Cyrille and Darren were close friends and we were reminded of that bond over the weekend when Julia Regis tweeted: “Cyrille would be so very proud of you.”
Asked about their relationship during his first media tour of duty as the new Head Coach, Darren said: “Myself and the Regis family have a close bond. I’ve had messages from all the family since the role was announced.
“I’ve had love and support, I’ve sent messages back and I’m truly grateful. They all know the relationship myself and Cyrille had.
“I know if Cyrille was here, I’d be sharing the day to day runnings with him. I can say that to you.
“When you talk about Cyrille it goes way back to when I first saw him.
“It goes way back to when I first played against him when I was at Doncaster Rovers, then I played against him when he was Chester City under Kevin Ratcliffe, I was in my 20s and he was probably in his late 30s, finishing the game.
“When I walked off the pitch, I remember thinking what he must’ve been like in his prime.
“They’d won 1-0 and I thought he must’ve been an absolute handful.
“He came up to me and put his arm around me having just beaten us.
“He’s always had that affection for me, he’s always had that support for me.
“I was speaking to him right up until the night before (he died), up until 8pm and the next morning I learned of his passing.
“We had a conversation and he said, ‘let’s speak in the morning’.
“We went right up to that point, that’s why I can share openly with you now.
“And in this role I have now, I’m almost sure he would’ve played some part.”
Darren revealed that it was the sight of watching peak-form Cyrille playing for Albion on TV which inspired him to become a footballer.
He explained: “I was playing cricket outside my house and my dad called me in - I was about nine or 10.
“He said ‘I want to show you something here son’, I said ‘What is it?’.There was a game on the TV and it was West Bromwich Albion, and they had three black players at the time.
“My dad wanted to show me that because we were in the West Indian community and he was really proud.
“I thought the pitch was a stage, and there were 22 players on it who were being worshipped by the supporters - and I said to my dad ‘I want to do that’.
“I was playing cricket outside and I put the bat down. And that was it.
“Near my school, Holyhead School, West Brom trained on the Astroturf. And that was the only time I never used to go to lunch.
“I used to stay for the hour watching them. At that time it was players like Don Goodman, Paul Raven, Colin West.
“Then when I played for Bradford and Portsmouth, I thought I want to come back here and play for a club like this.
“And it was West Brom as they were in the same division. I came back here as a player and the affinity still remains.
“Here I am now, after being 18s coach, 23s coach, first-team coach - and now head coach.
“When I look back at my journey and connection with the club, it’s been there from an early age.
“So when you talk about Cyrille it goes way back to when I first saw him."