The United Mates Keitel and Joe are joined by Simon Cox, a professional footballer who’s played in England’s top 3 leagues, as well as down under in Australia and for Ireland at international level, to discuss his footballing journey so far and where the beautiful game might lead him next.
Simon, along with a group of former Bristol City teammates, otherwise known as “The Boss Dogs”, enjoy a lads holiday. The group flip that vibe on its head and each name footballers they wouldn’t want to go on vacation with.
On Football in Simon’s Childhood:
Simon remembers focusing primarily on football from a young age; he says that it felt like he would spend more time with a ball at his feet than in the classroom during his schooldays. He began to develop as a footballer and was playing club football at a higher age level when he was scouted to join Reading’s academy aged 9.
On Developing at Reading and On Loan:
Despite spending over 10 years with his local club Simon was never given much opportunity in the first team. Stacked up against Simon was the fact that at the time he was breaking through, Reading had other strikers like Kevin Doyle, Dave Kitson, Shane Long and Leroy Lita.
An initial loan move to Brentford was cut short after Simon suffered a broken leg but he was then loaned back to Brentford and then to Northampton to finish the season. Simon’s first professional goals came at Northampton and he was loaned out again for the first half of the following season to Swindon where he continued to score at a rate of nearly a goal every 2 games.
On Swindon Town:
Simon joined Swindon permanently in the January transfer window and ended the season with double figures for goals scored, another first in his rapidly rising career.
The next season would prove to be Simon’s last with the club after finishing it as joined top scorer in England’s top 4 divisions and attracting the interest of clubs like Celtic, Leicester and Newcastle.
On West Brom:
After a previous snub from Tony Mowbray (ironically, while he was West Brom manager) put pay to a move to Celtic in Simon’s mind and the call from Alan Shearer could never come as he’d left Newcastle, Simon would join West Bromwich Albion in the Championship where they would be promoted after his first season.
Simon would spend the next 2 seasons in the Premier League, during which time his solitary goal infamously came against Tottenham, a beautifully curled effort into the top corner of the net.
Simon made his debut for the Republic of Ireland national team in a bitter rivalry game against Northern Ireland and managed to score to round off the occasion. Playing with Ireland, Simon got to partner Robbie Keane up front and describes Ireland’s record goal scorer as the best footballer he’s played with.
On his Return to Reading:
Simon would rejoin Reading after a couple of seasons playing for Nottingham Forest and he describes this second stint with the Royals as finally feeling like his first real opportunity to showcase his talent at the Madjeski. During his second season he was loaned to Bristol City.
Of Simon’s clubs, Southend is the one that he’s played for the longest and it’s where his goal scoring record is best besides his time at Swindon. Aside from the many positives however, Simon was suffering from injuries and needed surgery and therefore time to recover. At the time time his manager Sol Campbell didn’t want to allow Simon to have the surgery.
On Western Sydney Wanderers:
The opportunity to play in Australia arose and Simon took it with Western Sydney Wanderers. While with the Wanderers Simon was able to have the surgery he needed.
On Simon’s Next Steps:
Simon is currently without a club but he’s recently earned a UEFA coaching license and a master’s degree in football business and management. The question is, will his next move see him scoring goals inside the penalty area or helping to strategize them from the technical area?