My dad: ‘Darvel’s own Sammy Cox’
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