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von xiaolan • 79 Beiträge | 158 Punkte
Dear Cyrille Regis, I’m writing to you now because your untimely death means that there are things I didn’t get the chance to say to you and because I want you to know the extent of how positive your influence has been on my life and that of my family.
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We would then make the hour-long drive across London together as a family and as his sons we had the luxury of not only watching our dad play against the biggest teams in the country, we also had the opportunity to be in the dressing room warming up with household names such as Liam Brady, Paul Ince and Julian Dicks 20 minutes before kick-off.
Those are memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life and they inspired me to become a professional footballer, but without your poise, class, bravery, skill and desire to break down barriers and play the game you love under immense pressure and scrutiny I doubt I would ever have had these precious times.
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Your immense presence and ability also forced our society to look in the mirror and challenge itself to be better and this is why I am compelled to write this letter to you out of respect, gratitude and honour for the true icon and pioneer of our game. Your goals gave millions of football supporters joy, but your kind-hearted, strong and courageous character gave the generation beneath you (including me) the belief to push forward and follow their dreams without the overt, sickening racism that you and other players had to contend with during your playing career.
The best way that we as the younger generation can honour your legacy is to use the benefits that your struggle has afforded us and move this game and our society further forward. We have a duty to you to uphold your example of skill, humility, passion and respect for future generations to learn that no matter your race, gender, faith or creed, we all have a positive role to play in our society.
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