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'No-one should go to a football match and end up in this situation': McAteer lends support to Liverpool fan Seán Cox

Former Reds midfielder Jason McAteer was in Dublin to launch next month’s fundraiser at the Aviva Stadium.

Jason McAteer, Jack and Martina Cox, and Ian Rush.
Jason McAteer, Jack and Martina Cox, and Ian Rush.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

JASON MCATEER SAID there was no possibility he would turn down the chance to lend his support for next month’s game at the Aviva Stadium to raise funds for stricken Liverpool supporter Seán Cox.

A Liverpool Legends XI, featuring players like Jerzy Dudek, Vladimir Smicer and Djibril Cisse will take on an Ireland Legends XI which will include Kevin Kilbane, Kenny Cunningham, Lee Carsley, Ian Harte, Stephen Hunt, and Kevin Doyle.

McAteer will join the likes of Robbie Keane, Phil Babb and John Aldridge to play for both sides during the fundraiser on 12 April. The former midfielder explained that he has been following the father-of-three’s progress closely.

Mr Cox was attacked outside Anfield before Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final against AS Roma last April and is continuing his recovery at the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire.

“With Sean being Irish, I’ve been following it closely,” McAteer said speaking at the launch of the Seán Cox Fundraiser.

SOCCER - Manchester United v Liverpool McAteer made over 100 appearances for Liverpool between 1995 and 1999. Source: Laurence Griffiths

“I came over as a club ambassador for the Napoli game, where we met up with Martina and the family and got a behind-the-scenes take on the impact it had on the family and how difficult it has been for them.

It’s a relatively young family and what they have had to go through is just an absolute nightmare. When the opportunity to put the game on came along, it was going to be nothing else but a yes from me.”

McAteer made over 100 appearances for Liverpool, while also lining out 52 times for his country, scoring an infamous winner in a crucial 2002 World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands at the old Lansdowne Road.

He praised the strength of Seán Cox’s wife Martina on Monday, stating that no family should have to endure what they have gone through over the last number of months.

“It’s something that she should never have had to be involved in. No-one should go to a football match and sadly end up in this situation.

“Like Martina says, it is what it is and you’ve got to deal with it. You can sit around and wait for other people to do things, or you can be proactive and do it yourself.

Jack and Martina Cox with Jason McAteer, Ian Rush and Stephen Felle Jack and Martina Cox with Jason McAteer, Ian Rush and Stephen Felle, Trustee of Sean Cox Rehabilitation Trust. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“That’s what the football club has done. Behind the scenes, the team that have helped put it on, the club and the FAI have all done a phenomenal job, because I know first-hand just how difficult it is putting a charity event on. And they’ve done a phenomenal job.”

Mr Cox suffered serious brain injuries and was left in a coma following the attack, with his recovery ongoing in Dun Laoghaire.

Martina Cox said of her husband’s progress: “He can talk a little, he has more movement. We don’t know whether he will walk again, but we’re encouraging him every step of the way.”

Over €842,000 has been raised already for the Meath man up to this point, with Liverpool among those leading the charge in aid of his recovery.

As ex-players, our job is relatively easy — we just turn up and play,” McAteer said looking ahead to next month’s game in Dublin.

“But it’s all about raising as much money as we can for Seán’s rehabilitation and that means creating as much awareness as we can for the game. Hopefully we can fill the stadium and raise as much money as we can.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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