'We hope Sean will make it back to Anfield' - Wife of fan in horror attack
The wife of Liverpool fan Sean Cox who sustained a serious brain injury in an attack by an Italian hooligan has expressed the hope he will one day return to Anfield.
The 54-year-old suffered major head trauma when he was struck in a random assault by a masked AS Roma supporter outside Liverpool's stadium last April.
The former director of an electrical company, from Dunboyne, Co Meath, will mark a milestone on his slow road to recovery when his family accompany him to see a charity match held in his honour in Dublin tomorrow night.
A Liverpool Legends team, managed by Kenny Dalglish and captained by Ian Rush, will play an Irish Republic Legends side, managed by international boss Mick McCarthy and skippered by Robbie Keane, with proceeds going to Mr Cox's rehabilitation fund.
The father-of-three is being cared for at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire.
His wife Martina said the game at the Aviva Stadium would be the first time her husband had been out in public since the attack.
"He's going to be there, which is great. I didn't think it would happen a couple of months ago," she said.
"It's a big milestone for us. He has been out of hospital for a couple of hours before, but this is him out in the public arena for the first time.
"It will be quite overwhelming for Sean. He's been home but literally only in our house, and he's been with family.
"At the beginning we didn't know how things were going to pan out, so to have him at the match is really significant.
"Particularly so for his brother Martin, because he travelled with him that day and they never got to see the match. It's great for all of the family."
Ms Cox (53) said she would love to see her husband one day well enough to return to his beloved Anfield.
"He regularly went to Anfield. For him it would have been a very safe place because there had never been any incidents before. But unfortunately that day there was," she said.
"Down the line, when he's well enough, I would say Martin would definitely love to get him there. I would too.
"I'm sure Liverpool Football Club would love to have him there."
Mr Cox, who turned 54 on Tuesday, will leave the facility in Dun Laoghaire in June. After that he is being transferred to a rehabilitation centre in the UK, with his family moving with him.
Ms Cox, who lives with the couple's three children, Jack, Shauna and Emma, in Dunboyne, said they had been overwhelmed by the generosity of people who have supported them.
She is juggling a job as a buyer for the Dunnes supermarket chain with visiting her husband and fundraising for his treatment costs.
"Our lives literally have been turned upside down," she said.
Around 25,000 fans are expected to attend tomorrow's match at the Aviva Stadium.
"It's heart-warming to see that so many people have reached out," said Ms Cox.
"I think they can really resonate with the story because the incident that happened, it could have been anybody.
"Sean was just plucked out of a crowd and they did this to him, but it literally could have been anyone else there.
"His care costs don't end at the end of this year or next year - what happened to Sean is going to affect him for the rest of his life. He is going to need lifelong care," she added.
Tickets for the Legends for Sean Cox match, which kicks off at 7.45pm, are available from Ticketmaster.
To find out more about Mr Cox's journey, or to make a donation to the cause, visit supportsean.com.