You'll never walk alone: Fans flock to Sean Cox tribute match

Sean Cox before the match at the Aviva. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Tens of thousands of fans descended on the Aviva Stadium last night to raise money for a fellow football fan.

Liverpool supporter Sean Cox suffered a serious brain injury in an attack by an Italian hooligan last year.

The Legends For Sean Cox match, organised by his beloved Anfield side, saw Liverpool FC Legends take on a Republic of Ireland XI Legends team to raise money for The Sean Cox Rehabilitation Trust.

Kenny Dalglish led a star-studded Liverpool team against Ireland stars of yesteryear, managed by current international boss Mick McCarthy, and featuring Robbie Keane, Sean St Ledger, Ray Houghton, and a host of other big names.

Sean’s wife Martina Cox prior to the match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Sean’s wife Martina Cox prior to the match between the Republic of Ireland XI and Liverpool FC Legends at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

President Michael D Higgins attended the game and met Mr Cox’s wife and children Jack, Shauna, and Emma on the pitch, as thousands of fans sang Liverpool anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

A statement from Mr Cox’s wife Martina read: “The last 12 months have not been easy for us, but what has helped us get through this difficult journey has been the outpouring of support and genuine concern for Sean.

“For this, we will always be thankful. We are filled with gratitude and feel truly blessed.

“A heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in this special day, it will stay with us for a very long time.”

Before kick-off, a minute’s silence was held for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster, marking 30 years since the tragedy on Monday, April 15.

Mr Cox, 54, from Co Meath, who continues his rehabilitation in the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire is a former company director from Dunboyne.

He suffered major head trauma when he was struck in an unprovoked assault by a masked AS Roma supporter outside Anfield last April.

In February, Simone Mastrelli, 30, was jailed for three-and-a-half years after pleading guilty at Preston Crown Court to unlawfully and maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm.

Last night’s match was Mr Cox’s first appearance in public since the attack. He watched the game from a private viewing box.

When an image of him was projected on to a screen, the crowds erupted in applause.

Mr Cox will leave the Dun Laoghaire facility in June, and will spend a number of months in a rehabilitation centre in the UK, with his family moving with him.

Funds raised by the game will go towards the care he will need for the rest of his life.

To find out more about his journey, or make a donation, visit www.supportsean.com.

More on this topic

Fake tickets blamed for increase of Liverpool fans arrested during European run

Van Dijk says Liverpool are hungry for more success after Champions League win

Manchester United and Liverpool Under-21 sides to compete in EFL Trophy

Liverpool not planning fresh move for Fekir

More in this Section

70% of people in UK believe gay couples should be able to marry in NI

Major flaw in laws prohibiting resale of NAMA properties to developers revealed

Technical group established to look at Brexit backstop alternatives

GRA: Armed units not a long term solution in Longford


Lifestyle

Life in a vacuum: Your guide to choosing vacuum cleaners

Bright ideas: How to wear the summer tailoring trend

Tracing the roots of folk and fairy lore behind everyday plants

More From The Irish Examiner