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Who is Sean Cox? The Liverpool fan left in a coma after Champions League assault

16:15 BST 15/05/2019
Liverpool Sean Cox
Viral footage purporting to show abusive chanting drew condemnation online, but Manchester City refute the alleged meaning behind the parody's lyrics

The footballing world was left shocked on in April last year as news broke that a Liverpool supporter, Sean Cox, had been left in a critical condition following an attack from Roma fans prior to a Champions League clash between the clubs at Anfield.

Since that day, there has been an outpouring of sympathy for the fan, but ahead of Liverpool's trip to the Champions League final to face Tottenham he has been the subject of allegedly abusive chants from a section of the Manchester City support.

Footage that has since gone viral drew condemnation on social media and a robust denial by City, who were crowned Premier League champions ahead of Liverpool this month, that the lyrics reference Cox or the deaths of Reds fans at Hillsborough 30 years ago.

What happened to Sean Cox?

Cox is a Liverpool supporter who was the victim of a brutal assault prior to Liverpool's home semi-final tie against Roma at Anfield in last season's Champions League semi-final.

The 53-year-old was hospitalised with catastrophic head injuries and left in a coma, subsequently spending four and a half weeks in a specialist neurological unit at Liverpool's Walton Centre following the attack.

He subsequently was transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin and as recently as February was still recovering at Ireland's National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire.

That same month, Roma fan Simone Mastrelli was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for the attack, with fellow supporters Filippo Lombardi and Daniele Sciusco also jailed for violent disorder.

Why is Sean Cox back in the news?

Footage surfaced online earlier this week of members of the City playing squad and backroom team singing a parody version of 'Allez Allez Allez', a song adopted by Liverpool's supporters that has been frequently heard during the 2018-19 campaign.

The Man City version of the song, filmed on board a plane that was presumably transporting the club back from Brighton after their Premier League title triumph on Sunday, mocked Liverpool as "victims of it all" and that they're "battered on the streets".

With Liverpool having been City's main rivals for the trophy this season, the video has been inferred by some to be a dig at the Reds and to have referenced to both Cox's assault and the Hillsborough disaster.

What have Manchester City said?

The club have issued a statement advising that they are seeking legal counsel over the footage, alongside a rebuttal of claims that it relates to the assault.

Instead, they claim that the song relates to Real Madrid's victory in last season's Champions League final, with no additional connotations to either Cox or the deaths of 96 Reds fans in 1989.

"The song in question, which has been a regular chant during the 2018-19 season, refers to the 2018 UEFA Champions League final in Kiev," it reads.

"Any suggestion that the lyrics relate to Sean Cox or the Hillsborough tragedy is entirely without foundation."