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Cowdenbeath players ready to walk off pitch after fans abuse player who tried to kill himself

Gary Bollan.
Gary Bollan.

Cowdenbeath have put the Scottish football authorities on notice that they have plans in place to leave the field during a game should their player David Cox continue to be abused over mental health issues.

Cox tried to take his own life in 2014 and shortly afterwards went public over the abuse he was receiving from fans and players which included shouts of “Are you going to do it right this time?” and “It must be difficult for you to travel over the Forth Road Bridge to get here.”

The abuse dissipated but this season it has returned and the League 2 club have advised that they will act if it continues and that action could include leaving the pitch.

Central Park manager Gary Bollan said: “Mental health issues should be treated the same as racism.

“Abuse is not something that David or anyone else should have to tolerate.

“He is dealing with issues in his life and he should not have to work in an environment where there is abuse from fans off the pitch and from players on it.”

Cowdenbeath are no longer going to stay silent on 30-year-old Cox’s treatment.

Bollan explained: “It is an abysmal way for players to behave.

“I thought that there would be more respect between fellow professionals but sadly that is not the case.

“We have not named names yet, but we will be going forward.

“We are not just looking to make a stand for our player but looking to make a stand for any player with mental health issues.”

Bollan explained what his Blue Brazil players will do if Cox is abused.

He said: “I expect our players to follow the same protocol as they would for a racism incident.

“If it happens the players will call it out to make sure that the referee records it.

“It will then be up to the referee to deal with it on the pitch or advise others to deal with it off the pitch. If it continues to happen, or a referee does not accept that it happened, they will consider leaving the field.”

If the players walk off, they will be supported by the club.

Bollan added: “Our chairman, Donald Findlay, and I have spoken about it and he knows it is an option that our players will look at. If they walk off, they will have his full backing as he does not believe that any player should be subject to abuse of that nature.

“The football pitch is a footballer’s workplace.

“Fans believe that they pay their money so they can shout what they want but you cannot do that at any other workplace so why can you do it at football.

“Of course, David can be criticised for what he does, whether that is missing a chance, giving the ball away or mis-timing a tackle.

“However, you cannot criticise him for what he is and that is someone who is working hard to overcome challenges.”

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