David Cox is to make a shock return to football at Brechin City – after being talked out of early retirement by the Glebe Park side.
Cox is in line to face Dundee United on Saturday signing for City – three months after vowing to quit over a verbal abuse row with ex-Stenhousemuir star Jonathan Tiffoney.
He claimed Tiffoney told him ‘he should have done it right he first time’, a reference to the striker’s previous suicide attempt – during a clash between Albion Rovers and Stenny in April.
Cox a patron of mental health charity Back Onside recorded a Facebook live video from his car during half-time.
In it he, cited allegations of the suicide slur by Tiffoney.
"I'm no angel. I say shit to folk. But I would never mock somebody for trying to kill themselves and tell them they should have done it right the first time."
Albion Rovers player David Cox has retired aged 32 after an opposition player mocked his past mental health issues. pic.twitter.com/7WYjuqditc
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) April 30, 2021
“I promised myself the next time it happens I will walk off the park,” said Cox in the recording. “I wasn’t playing, I am done with football completely.”
Tiffoney was later charged by the SFA and released by Stenhousemuir, with Cox also re-iterating his decision to hang up his boots was final.
Cox convinced to make U-turn on quit plans by Craig Levein and Andy Kirk
However, after a meeting with Brechin director of football Craig Levein and manager Andy Kirk, Cox is back in the game.
“We all know why David gave up the game,” Kirk told Courier Sport. “But we wanted to give it one more go and talk him into playing again.
“We spoke to him on the phone and outlined our exciting plans and how we saw him fitting into our plans.
“He was excited by the project, as we all are and just wants to get out on the pitch playing football.
“I played against him and know he’s a powerful player who can play a number of positions.
“He can score goals and, ultimately, he loves the game so we’ll do our best to help him get back to where he wants to be.”
"It was hard to show your emotions."
— BBC Scotland (@BBCScotland) October 10, 2019
Former Kilmarnock youth star Cox has starred for ten clubs during a 16-year career. He is just one game short of making 400 senior appearances.
He has channeled his well-documented mental health struggles positively by urging others to speak out about their issues.
Brechin City’s ambitious plans
His arrival at Glebe Park is a further signal of intent by Brechin as they bid to battle back from relegation to the Highland League.
The appointment of Kevin Mackie as interim chairman in June has led to a series of high-profile moves by Brechin to ready the club for a return to the SPFL.
Former Dundee United, Hearts and Scotland manager Levein took on a director of football-style role last month.
He was instrumental in the appointment of ex-Hearts star Kirk.
Ex-Raith Rovers defender Iain Davidson has arrived at Brechin, with experienced former Ross County and Montrose striker Garry Wood.
Murray Mackintosh has also joined from Angus rivals Forfar as Brechin prepare for their Highland League campaign.