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Darren Cole Speaks Of Losing His Cousin In Miami Tragedy


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DARREN COLE still hasn’t cried. He doesn’t know why. Because every time he thinks about his cousin Shaun it feels like his heart is being ripped out.

Even at the funeral – the first he’d attended – the tears didn’t come while those around him wept in sadness.

It just doesn’t seem real. That he’ll never again see the guy he thought of as a brother.

When he was told of Shaun’s death at 1am on April 2 – he thought he was dreaming.

The reality still hasn’t sunk in.

Hearts fan Shaun Cole was the victim of a hit-and-run in Miami where he was attending a music festival. He was a soldier, a hero to his family including his footballer cousin.

Darren still thinks about him every day. In fact, his renewed desire to succeed and squeeze every last ounce out of his career is down to Shaun.

But still, the Livingston defender finds it difficult to get emotional.

Sitting in a small press room at Almondvale, Cole spoke for the first time about losing Shaun and the impact it has had on him.

The 23-year-old relived the moment he found out, while sleeping over at his gran’s house.

He told MailSport: “She got the call around 1am and came through to tell me. I thought I was dreaming.

“It’s strange but, still, I haven’t got myself physically upset about it once. It’s so raw and surreal.

“I’m still a young guy and before Shaun, I’d never suffered loss in my life. I had never been to a funeral before. His was my first ever.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I watched so many people crying but I just couldn’t. I don’t know why.

“Since it happened, it’s been clear that so many people loved Shaun.

His death was completely out of the blue. He wasn’t just my cousin – he was like a brother to me.

“Before he flew to Miami, he came to see me. I remember him shaking my hand. Knowing that he’s gone now is a weird feeling.

“We’re the same age and we spent a lot of time together as kids.”

A product of the Ibrox youth system, he was suspended by the club after failing to turn up for a reserve fixture before being freed.

He spent time out of the game altogether – but says Shaun’s death has made him refocus and realise what a privileged position he’s in.

Cole said: “I’ll always think about him. My attitude has changed now and it’s mainly down to Shaun.

“He wanted me to be a footballer so much. He was always on my case - messaging me from a tour in

Afghanistan or Sierra Leone.

“He’d tell me to do it for myself. He knew it can be a short career and he wanted me to be single-minded.

“Shaun was such a caring guy. When he’d come to my gran’s house, he’d be going through all the newspapers to see if I got a mention.

“We got on so well. He was just like me, a huge football fan. And as a soldier, he could be really disciplined.

“His death has definitely changed me as a person. I’m normally a laid-back character and I used to just take what I got in football.

“But not now. I’m 23 and I haven’t got long in this game. So I’m now determined to do the very best I can in my career.

“I’ve got ambition again. To play in England or abroad in the future.

“The manager here, Mark Burchill, believes in me. He was great after Shaun died. He had lost his dad to cancer and went through a horrible time. So he supported me.

“We had the Petrofac Cup Final a few days after it but I was always going to play. Shaun would have wanted me to.”

Cole is now one of Burchill’s key players as Livi target the Championship play-offs this season.

And while his release from Rangers was tough to take Cole now realises it was a blessing in disguise.

After missing a friendly match against Cambuslang Rangers in August 2013 and facing the wrath of former boss Ally McCoist, he knew his time was up at Ibrox.

He later had a short stint at Morton before landing a deal at Livi in February after spending several months out of the game.

Cole said: “With all due respect, Rangers were bringing in people like Anestis Argyriou for right-back. And they were paying these guys more then I was getting.

“Argy wasn’t the best and I knew within myself that I was better than him. But because I was just a kid coming through the ranks, he was ahead of me.

“When McCoist took over as manager, all the boys thought he’d turn to the youths. He even said it himself. And we had some good young players at that time. But they never got a chance.

“McCoist would tell me I had loads of potential. He’d say I could be a millionaire and do this or that in the game if my attitude was better.

“But that was just an excuse to play other guys in front of me. He could have taken a chance on me. There was a reserve game arranged against Cambuslang Rangers but my mobile phone was broken.

“I was only told about it – by a mate – late the night before and I knew I wouldn’t have a lift from Edinburgh

to Cambuslang.

“I was trying to get in touch with someone from the club but with no phone, it was difficult. So I didn’t

turn up.

“On the Monday, I was called in by McCoist who told me it wasn’t good enough.

“I was trying to apologise and explain that it wouldn’t happen again. But he said it was unacceptable and suspended me for a couple of weeks.

“Other managers might have dealt with it differently.

“If I was in that position I think I would have dished out a fine, not a suspension.

“But my head wasn’t in a good place at that time. I knew I was leaving, I wasn’t playing games and wasn’t enjoying my football.

“When I left Rangers, I didn’t do anything for a while. Looking back, I think myself and the coaching staff there could have met somewhere in the middle.

“We should have sat down and talked more about my situation.

“But their view was that I wasn’t working hard enough and that’s why they allowed me to go.

“It was tough after that. I had to get away from football, my head was up my a**e and my mind wasn’t right.

“Before coming to Livingston, I had a fair bit of time out of the game and during that spell I realised how much I need it.

“People tell me I’ve got the best job in the world and I shrug it off. You take it for granted. But once you’re out of it, it suddenly hits you.”

(Daily Record)

Obviously a tragic situation, and you have to feel a bit bad for the guy.

This might not be strictly Bears Den material, but there's a little bit at the bottom there about how things were under McCoist. I never really rated Cole all that much to be honest, but he would have been a damn sight better at right back than Argyriou.

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It's sad about his cousin. RIP

He goes on about how he's a changed man and he's going to focus on his career then says McCoist blaming his attitude was just an excuse. Take responsibility for yourself Daz.

Then the shite of having no phone so he couldn't call... :lol:

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Did we not pay him enough to buy a new phone then?

Apparently not.

Nor enough for driving lessons apparently, if he was looking to scrounge a lift to Edinburgh. Must have been a brass neck to have your maw give you a lift to training at Murray Park.

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It was a decent article. Waster of a footballer decides to screw the nut after losing his cousin.

Ruins it by then using it as an opportunity to bash McCoist and the coaching staff. Not turning up to a game because you had no phone and couldn't get a lift is the sort of excuse you would expect to hear from a Sunday league player, he clearly had a stinking attitude and maybe if he showed a bit of initiative he might have been given a chance to show he was better than Argyriou rather than mouthing off about it in the press 2 years later.

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Shame about his cousin

Also I can believe what he's saying about McCoist and the fact he brought that Greek cunt in and put him ahead of all our youth players just sums him up

I never really rated Cole to be honest although he looked decent against us for Livingston last season

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Shame about his cousin

Also I can believe what he's saying about McCoist and the fact he brought that Greek cunt in and put him ahead of all our youth players just sums him up

I never really rated Cole to be honest although he looked decent against us for Livingston last season

The lads built like a brick shithouse, he absolutely bullied our midfield in that game. The only midfielder with any physical presence we had last year was Kyle Hutton, and it showed when Cole was able to steamroller us.

Hopefully with some proper training in place this year, we'll be able to counter his sort of player with some decent football.

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Hope he means what he say and applies himself and does the best he can to honour his cousin. He's not the first footballer that is more than able but had the wrong attitude. Too late now for Rangers but not for himself.

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Obviously my condolences to him and his family over the loss of his cousin, I know a few people who knew him and by all accounts he was a good guy.

Cole making excuses for how he left the club I don't buy however. Darren Cole treated being a footballer as though he was in the Geordie shore house or something.

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Instead of answers its "what position shall jig play today?"

We are 1-0 down with 10 minutes to go at Ibrox in a must win game, what would I do?

A - Defend the 1-0 deficit.

B - Ask Kenny and Durranty to make me laugh.

C - Put Jig on to cause havoc in his own box.

D - Shout Calum Gallagher over, get him stripped and put him on in the last minute of injury time.

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