United mourn 1936 FA Cup star Albert Cox

THE last but one of Sheffield United's 1936 FA Cup campaigners was being mourned this week.

The funeral for Albert Cox will be tomorrow at Whiston, leaving only Jock Dodds of the Blades' men who went to pre war Wembley.

United lost the '36 final to Arsenal 1-0 but it was a game lost to Cox before a ball was kicked.

United's Hall of Fame curator John Garrett explains: "United opted for the age and experience of Charlie Wilkinson."

Treeton-born Cox had been drafted into the side for the semi-final at Wolves' Molineux home with Fulham. United won it 2-1, it was Cox's fifth game for the Blades. In front of a 51,500 crowd the 18-year-old defender was no weak link as Sheffield Independent correspondent F C Walters reported: "Fulham winger Worsley, feeling he could round this inexperienced youngster, found the United full back ready to edge him out of the way and let the ball go out for a goalkick in their first attack.

"That one passage of play must have eased the minds of the United people and Cox went on to play his part really well.

"Then came a determined Fulham rally which soon brought to light the cool men of the United defence and in these must be included Cox."

Walters' headline writer caught the mood of the report and optimistically previewed the cup final: "No Foregone Conclusion It Will Be London's Day."

Cox, a naturally two footed player, having understudied for injured right back Harry Hooper, was the cover man again when left back Wilkinson was unfit in the semi final. Wilkinson recovered for the final, leaving Cox 12th man at Wembley. In those days of no subs he could only look on in defeat.

The defender who United signed from city amateurs Woodhouse Mill went on to make over 200 appearances for the club in a career cut short by the war.

While serving in the Signals Corps, he played in the same armed services side as legendary striker Tom Finney and when the Football League resumed he played against wing king Stanley Matthews.

Towards the close of his playing career came another FA Cup disappointment with the Blades, a 1-0 sixth round defeat by Chelsea.

Cox briefly played at Halifax but was always United at heart and for years he coached youngsters at the club before finally retiring from the game.