The pair were in the same West Brom side for two years in the early 80s and became good friends during that time, so there was plenty of banter when they met at Spurs Lodge this week as part of an FA Cup preview promotion run by Carlsberg, one of the competitions’ sponsors.
Martin joined the Baggies in 1981 and remembers well the first time he came across Cyrille.
“It was in my first training session and I can remember Cyrille gave me a bit of an elbow and I thought ‘Welcome to England,’” he laughed. “But we became great friends and there was a tremendous atmosphere at the club, I really liked the place and the people.”
“We had so many good players — Steve MacKenzie, John Wile, Derek Statham — but Cyrille was the main man, he had a fantastic shot, was a great header of the ball, he did the business in that team.”
Cyrille’s best-ever season for Albion, when he scored 25 times, coincided with Martin’s arrival and he was still full of praise for the impact our head coach had on that side.
“I couldn’t have done that without midfielders like Martin. He was a tough-tackling midfielder, he had the stature and the size and mixed in really well with the lads,” he says. “We were very successful for those two years and the banter between us all was excellent.
“Martin was always a deep thinker of the game and I’m not surprised he has ended up as a manager. He’s doing a fantastic job at Spurs, they are playing attractive football and will feel they have a good chance against West Brom tomorrow.”
Despite coming face to face with his former club, Martin admits all that has to be put to one side as he attempts to plot our progress into round five.
“Of course, I have a special feeling for West Brom, they were my first club in England,” he says. “But getting Tottenham into the next round is the most important thing on my mind now. The FA Cup is a fantastic chance for us to win a trophy this season and it will be a dream if we can. We’ve had a couple of disappointing results, but I’m confident we will bounce back because we have great spirit.”
* As part of the Carlsberg promotion, Spurs fans Chris and Simon Saunders won a competition to meet Martin Jol at Spurs Lodge and they enjoyed a visit to the training ground on Thursday. The pair sat in on interviews with both Martin and Cyrille, had a tour of our Chigwell base and got the chance to discuss all things Spurs with our Head Coach.
Head Coach Martin Jol was reunited with his good friend and old West Bromwich Albion team-mate Cyrille Regis this week — but they will be in opposite camps tomorrow when we take on Albion in the fourth round of the FA Cup.