October 1, 1904
It is with a feeling of real pleasure that we find ourselves still able to write after the name of John Cox – Liverpool F.C. To see this dashing left winger careering along the touch line at Anfield Road, and flashing the ball in front of the posts – as he alone can, when in his best humour – is one of those privileges connected with League football, of which we should be sorry to be deprived.
Some diversity of opinion may have been expressed when the Liverpool people signed him on for the present season, but there can be no such difference now, for Cox is playing better football this year than last, and is proving himself a willing and reliable worker to secure his club’s re-admission to that sphere of influence from which it ought never to have been dismissed.
Cox was born in Robson Street, Liverpool, about 26 years ago, but, when a youth, left this city and took up residence in Blackpool. Here he became connected with the South Shore club, which in those days held a prominent position in the Lancashire League. After a short stay with this organization he decided to throw in his lot with the Shore club’s keenest rivals – Blackpool – and remained there until he was nearly 20 years of age. At this time his abilities began to attract the attention of other and more influential clubs in the country, and the Liverpool club managed to secure his transfer. He came to this city in 1898, but for six months he had to be content with a place in the reserve eleven. His chance then came, and from the time he was drafted into the League team to the present he has never lost his position.
He developed wonderfully with his new comrades, and in three years secured his first international cap, this being against Ireland in 1901. The following season, 1902, he played for the English League against the Scots, and was also selected for the International, an honour which was conferred upon him also in 1903. In this latter match, which was decided at Sheffield, he had a feeble partner in Capes, late of Stoke, and after the interval he went in for playing on his own – so to speak.
The result was a brilliant display of individual football, and he was really the only forward on the side that could make any impression on the Scottish defence. Last season he was again chosen for the Inter-League match with Scotland, which was decided at Clayton, but his form throughout the year was considerably below that of previous campaigns, and no further honours were gained. In addition to the success already mentioned Cox has played for the North against the South, and has also assisted the English League against Ireland.
As we stated at the beginning of our history, Cox has settled down to serious football at Anfield, and despite the various rumours and insinuations emanating from certain districts as to what might have been, he is now at one with the directors of the club at Anfield, with whom he is likely to remain.
On his day there is no cleverer outside-left in the kingdom than Cox. We have had occasion to disagree with the methods he adopts at times, and particularly so, last season; but a continuance of the form shown in this year’s League games will cause him to be a strong candidate for International honours again.
Undoubtedly he is a difficult player to combine with, and Edgar Chadwick was one of the best inside men for him, that Liverpool have ever possessed. Variable in his moods, he becomes brilliant when acting in conjunction with a sympathetic comrade, and if the latter be a genius in organization, the Cox is seen at his best – being a better follower than a leader – and he can utilise an opportunity more effectively than the majority of left wingers.
His great weakness is a tendency to over elaboration when in possession of the ball, but when the mood is on him, there is no hesitation; no finessing to discover the way towards goal. This is Cox, in his International humour, and when such is the case, the opposing defence know about it. With a forceful partner, Cox will always be a difficult player to beat, but when it is a question of imitation on his part, matters do not always work out satisfactorily. Nevertheless, as a local production, we are delighted to set forth his excellencies, and the fact that he has gained, what we consider the highest honour in the football world – his Scotch Cap – is sufficient to neutralize his failings whatever they might be.
Standing 5ft. 9½in., he scales the beam at 12st., and is therefore eminently fitted for the position he occupies. We trust that his present season will prove equal to the best of previous years, and from what we have seen thus far, there is every likelihood of our anticipation being more than realized.
(Source: Joint Everton & Liverpool Match Programme: October 1, 1904)