Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has joined the long list of people paying tribute to footballing great Cyrille Regis, who passed away at the age of just 59 at the weekend.
The former England, West Bromwich Albion, Coventry City, Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers striker reportedly died from a heart attack on Sunday, with the news being met with shock and sadness throughout the footballing world and beyond.
Hasselbaink knew Regis, and tweeted on Monday: “Absolutely devastated by the news of the untimely death of Cyrille Regis. I had only been talking to Cyrille a few days ago so I’m in complete shock. Sometimes words are simply not enough to do someone justice. This is such an occasion.”
On Tuesday, Hasselbaink spoke to the media and expanded on what Regis actually meant to him.
“It is very sad, and I was very shocked because I spoke to Cyrille only 10 days or so ago about a few players, because he was an agent,” said Hasselbaink.
“He sounded great and good, and to see a legend like that pass away, who has opened a lot of paths for a lot of black players, is so sad.
“We do wish his family all the best and we are thinking about them.”
Hasselbaink said he didn’t get to see the rampaging centre forward in his prime, but he said he was well aware of the way Regis, along with Baggies team-mates Brendon Batson and Laurie Cunningham, as well as others, paved the way for black players to break into the professional game in England.
“I didn’t see a lot of him as a player because I was back in Holland, but I know a lot of him,” said Hasselbaink.
“Having worked last year with Les Ferdinand (at Queens Park Rangers), he told me a lot about Cyrille and the history in England, how it was then.
“I know how he has been seen, and how he has conducted himself around the football industry.
“He has always been a gentleman, always been a role model for a lot of people, so it is sad to see him go.”
In his career, Regis made 614 senior appearances for West Brom, Coventry, Aston Villa, Wolves, Wycombe Wanderers and Chester City, scoring 158 career goals.
He also won five caps for England, and was awarded an MBE in 2008.