Darren Moore was a young boy with little knowledge of the sport itself when former West Bromwich Albion striker Cyrille Regis appeared on the television before him. From that moment on, the current Sheffield Wednesday boss was sold.
Regis, who played for the Baggies between 1977 and 1984, paved the way for Moore, who went on to follow in his footsteps, both playing for and managing his hometown team.
“I was sitting at home with my dad in the living room and him calling me from outside because I was playing cricket, and he showed me a football match on the TV,” Moore reminisced. “West Bromwich Albion were playing on the TV and I asked my dad what was going on and he explained the football match.
“Of course, Cyrille was playing with Brendon Batson and Laurie Cunningham. I just saw the three of them on the pitch and the pitch being a stage and all of the fans around them. That was the first time for me where it was birthed in me in terms of becoming a professional footballer and it was seeing Cyrille Regis.
“West Bromwich Albion were playing top-flight football and he was scoring all the goals and everybody eulogising in the local area about Cyrille Regis as this number nine scoring all types of goals. That made me look up to him and think of somebody that I wanted to become.”
Regis was prolific in the face of goal but one particular strike stands out for Moore.
The former England international found the back of the net in West Brom’s famous 5-3 away victory over Manchester United in December 1978.
“My greatest memory of Cyrille was him scoring at Old Trafford and that iconic moment which is still remembered today,” he said.
“He just said that at the time, he was a striker full of confidence and in any situation, he’d go in and maximise it and that’s what him and the West Brom team did to come out with a memorable victory that we all talk about today.”
Although Moore went on to find his craft in the back-line, he came up against his idol not long after the now-48-year-old made the switch to South Yorkshire in the late 1990s as his career began to take off.
But he was brought back down to earth by Regis.
“I was playing for Doncaster Rovers and Cyrille was playing for Chester, and I actually played against him,” he continued. “He was playing under a manager called Kevin Ratcliffe. Cyrille was coming to the end of his career and I was very much starting in mine.
“I went up against him and what a performance by the experienced veteran that he was at the time. Goodness me, did he teach me a thing or two about centre-forward play, hold-up play and getting into spaces, bring me into false spaces on the pitch and just exposing me. He gave me a lesson that I still remember today.”
Regis became idol turned mentor for Moore, passing on some of his wisdom to the Owls manager who has taken his advice on board in his present role.
“Cyrille had a huge impact on my career because I personally got to know him, and what a joy it was to know Cyrille,” he explained. “Not only did I get to know him but in terms of my own professional footballing career and coaching career, he had a huge impact on it.
“The level of advice and the insight he had was absolutely valuable. I had a lot of contact with Cyrille and I’m grateful to this day for that.”