Thu, Aug

Ex-Bournemouth Captain Ian Cox keen to give something back

Selfless former AFC Bournemouth captain Ian Cox gave the club sterling service as a player between 1996 and 2000.

And Cox is continuing to do good work in his capacity as National Citizen Service programme coordinator with the Cherries’ Community Sports Trust.

The NCS is a voluntary personal and social development project for 16 and 17-year-olds in England and Northern Ireland of which AFC Bournemouth is a partner organisation.

Cox, who pre-pandemic visited schools, colleges and youth clubs to raise awareness of the NCS, has been busy preparing for what he hopes will be a hectic summer.

He told “The NCS is a government-backed initiative which engages young people once they have finished their GCSEs.

“It gives them some core skills to help bridge the gap between adolescence and adulthood. Depending on government guidelines, we are hoping to run it in the summer.

“It’s based over two or three weeks and there are four phases. Phase one can be residential or non-residential at an activity centre.

“Participants will meet new people, take on new challenges and learn skills to build on independence to help reach future goals.

“They do things like team-building and problem solving and the activities range from paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking, coasteering and high rope.

“They will also learn about life skills, budgeting and tailoring their CVs to an employer and getting them to write a personal statement for a CV or a UCAS application.

“It’s almost a crash course into adulthood and people are upskilled through a series of workshops enabling them to develop personally.”

Giving an insight into how he had found his way into this line of work, Cox said: “When I finished playing football, I took a bit of time out to decide what I was going to do. I started a different career pathway and wanted to work with children and young people.

“I was working with nine to 17-years-old who had got themselves in trouble. I was a mentor, a confidante and tried to help them get back on the straight and narrow.

“That was in a secured environment and I tried to be a role model for them to help them cope and give them some guidance. It was a case of wanting to give something back to young people.

“I spent two years there and then worked in a residential home for four years. Again, it was assessing young peoples’ needs and trying to give them the right pathway plan to better themselves and give themselves a chance.

“From there, I went to the Community Trust at Gillingham and worked on a series of projects, some together with the DWP.

“In October 2017, Steve Lovell asked me to work with the first team and I became first-team coach under him and Mark Patterson.

“It was a no-brainer. I got to see football from the other side of fence and out of my comfort zone. I was ready for a new challenge.

“I did that for about 18 months and then got the opportunity to come to AFC Bournemouth. I haven’t looked back and have loved every minute of it.”

Cox made 207 appearances for the Cherries after being spotted by former manager Mel Machin playing for Crystal Palace reserves.

He signed for the Cherries just days after his 25th birthday in March 1996 and was crowned supporters’ player of the year during his first full season.

Cox captained the club at Wembley in the final of the Auto Windscreens Shield against Grimsby in 1998 before leaving for Burnley in February 2000.

He went on to represent Trinidad & Tobago at the 2006 World Cup finals during his time with Gillingham and was coaching at Priestfield before returning to Vitality Stadium in September 2019.

Click here for further information on the National Citizen Service.