It is with huge sadness that we hear today of the death of our former striker, Cyrille Regis.
Not many footballers can claim to have represented four major West Midlands clubs, but Cyrille Regis holds that distinction.
And while his best days were undoubtedly with West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City, he did an excellent job for us following the appointment of Ron Atkinson, who had also been one of his bosses at The Hawthorns.
Although he was born in French Guiana, Regis was brought up in London from the age of four and initially played non-league football before being spotted by former Albion star Ronnie Allen, who was scouting for the Baggies at the time.
He was a prolific scorer for the successful Albion team of the late 1970s and early 1980s, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 1978, before joining Coventry in 1984 and helping them to FA Cup glory three years later.
In the summer of 1991 he became Atkinson’s first signing for Villa, arriving from Highfield Road on a free transfer.
His impact was immediate. One of six players making his debut at Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day of the season, he was also one of the three new boys – along with Dalian Atkinson and Steve Staunton – to score in a 3-2 victory.
He played more than 40 games that season, helping Villa to seventh place in the final table and the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
He was also the club’s joint leading scorer in league games, he and Dwight Yorke both contributing 11.
His second season saw his appearances restricted following the arrival of £2.3m club record signing Dean Saunders, and he was also laid low in the middle of the season after undergoing achilles tendon surgery.
Following an amicable departure from Villa Park – after 12 goals in 63 appearances - he spent the 1993/94 season with Wolves.
Capped five times by England, he was awarded the MBE in 2008.
RIP Big Cyrille – a true icon of football, you will be desperately missed.
Condolences to family and friends at this very sad time.