My dad: ‘Darvel’s own Sammy Cox’

The Guardian - Family - - Family | Life Family - Jayne Muir

I have good mem­o­ries of fam­ily hol­i­days. In the 60s and early 70s, our an­nual sum­mer trip was to Scot­land to stay with my grand­par­ents and catch up with aunts, un­cles and cousins. We trav­elled by train from Huck­nall in Not­ting­hamshire to Kil­marnock and on­wards by taxi to the small Ayr­shire town of Darvel (the birth­place of Alexan­der Flem­ing, as the town sign in­di­cates). Hats off to my par­ents for man­ag­ing such a trip, par­tic­u­larly in the early days, with a baby, a tod­dler and the as­so­ci­ated para­pher­na­lia and lug­gage.

Of course, as chil­dren, my brother and I were obliv­i­ous to the lo­gis­tics. We were just ex­cited about get­ting on the train. I dis­tinctly re­mem­ber on one oc­ca­sion Dad telling us: “We’re go­ing on a diesel train this year!” My dad, An­drew Muir, was born and grew up in Darvel, as did the foot­baller Sammy Cox, which brings us to the pho­to­graph.

Be­tween 1948 and 1954, Sammy Cox was capped 25 times for Scot­land. In the 1948/49 sea­son he was part of the so called “Iron Cur­tain” de­fence that helped Glas­gow Rangers to win the do­mes­tic tre­ble: League Cham­pi­ons, Scot­tish Cup win­ners and League Cup win­ners. In Darvel, he was a le­gend. He was also down to earth, ap­proach­able and gen­er­ous. If boys were prac­tis­ing their foot­ball skills in the park, he would join them for a kick­about and coach them along.

In the late 40s, my dad was a reg­u­lar player with Darvel Ju­niors. When one of the an­nual car­ni­vals was be­ing or­gan­ised and floats were be­ing put to­gether, Sammy ar­ranged for the loan of the Scot­land kit and the boys of Darvel Ju­niors were the proud re­cip­i­ents. The float was pulled around the streets of the town and this pho­to­graph was taken.

Who got to wear Sammy’s jersey? My dad, as he and Sammy hap­pened to play in the same po­si­tion. There’s Dad, to the right of the post in the mid­dle of the float. Just be­low him the poster pro­claims “Darvel’s own Sammy Cox”.

In the 50s, my dad and Sammy went their sep­a­rate ways. Sammy left Rangers and played for East Fife for a short time. My dad was called up to do na­tional ser­vice and spent time in the Mid­dle East. By 1959, Sammy had em­i­grated to Canada and my dad had moved to Eng­land, mar­ried my mum and was set­tled in Huck­nall, where he and Mum still live. I took Dad back to Darvel in 2012 and heard a few sto­ries of his youth­ful an­tics. This pho­to­graph gives me a glimpse into that world and will al­ways be trea­sured.

Snap­shot ... Jayne Muir’s dad (to the right of the cen­tral post) wear­ing the foot­baller Sammy Cox’s jersey in the late 40s

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