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Maidstone United assistant manager Craig Fagan tells how Coventry City legend Cyrille Regis was his mentor growing up in the West Midlands

Maidstone assistant manager Craig Fagan has spoken of the role Coventry legend Cyrille Regis played in his career.

As a youngster growing up in the West Midlands, Fagan was able to draw on Regis - an FA Cup winner with the Sky Blues in 1987 - for support.

Maidstone United assistant manager Craig Fagan with the FA Cup. Picture: Helen Cooper
Maidstone United assistant manager Craig Fagan with the FA Cup. Picture: Helen Cooper

The former striker, who also played for West Brom and Aston Villa, died in 2018 aged 59.

It would have been his birthday earlier this month.

Regis, working as an agent following his retirement, couldn’t do enough for Fagan, who nearly joined Coventry after Birmingham’s academy dissolved before quickly reforming.

He wasn’t on Regis’ books but that was never an issue.

“Cyrille Regis was a big mentor to myself as a young player,” said Fagan, who visits the CBS Arena with Maidstone in the FA Cup fifth round tonight.

“He used to speak to me quite a bit in terms of being a centre-forward.

“I didn’t realise this month was going to be as emotional as this in terms of we’re going to Coventry, his old club.

“At the time he was an agent and he was interested in signing me. Back then he was a hero of mine.

“I knew the amount of goals he scored for West Brom and Coventry, so I used to look up to him.

“He was always someone I could pick the phone up to.

“When I got older I played golf with him a couple of times at charity events. He was such a nice man. He would always help in any way he could.

“Picking his brains on playing up front or playing wide at times and what he would need as a frontman, he was always there to speak to.

“I still speak to his wife who set up the charity for him (The Cyrille Regis Legacy Trust).

“He wasn’t an agent that was out there trying to create money for himself, he cared about players.

“I wasn’t signed to him, so he didn’t have to take the time to speak to me, but he saw something he liked.

“I never did sign for him but he was always there if I wanted to pick up the phone for advice about playing, or off the field.

“He was respected everywhere he went. What a player. What a man.

“I just hope the occasion befits me being there, being at Coventry, for me to go back to somewhere he played.

“I know it’s a new stadium but for us to go there and win would be fitting in the month of his birthday.”

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