In August 2023, we lost our much-loved Spartan and close friend to many, Rob Cox.
In honour of ‘Coxy’ and with the permission of his family, Steve, Brad, Peppa and Brett, we are honoured to reproduce this fantastic tribute to the big gentleman.
Rob’s Spartan Tribute
We pick up the story, just before Rob’s 40th birthday. When you join the Manchester Village Spartans, there is no application process, you just show up, many stay, some don’t, but Rob did stay. Many of you will know how connected Rob became to the club, and the friendships he made through it. There are far too many of us, stories, and adventures, to include within a single tribute, but we hope that this might give a little insight into the Rob that we knew… our Coxy, our friend.
Rob joined the Manchester Village Spartans in 2010, it was towards the end of the season whilst the club was in final preparations for the Bingham Cup in Minneapolis – I mean, it’s not like Rob to be late, is it?
Rob was part of a wave of new starters who became, and remained, a central part of the club. His first tour took him to Newcastle, where along with Peppa and Cilla (yes, that really is his name), he embraced his tour virgin duties. Between them, they were provided a doll to mother and protect… Little, however, is known of what happened to poor baby Shaniqua.
Rob embraced the Spartans, and, with his teammates, he travelled the World participating in Bingham & Union Cup tournaments, and then socially with weekends surrounding the European & England rugby fixtures or just for the sake of it. His trips to the Dubai Sevens with the Amsterdam boys were also cherished, and he spoke of them often.
Tours often involved fancy dress, whether it be morph suits, jilted brides, or… shall we say… ladies of the night. As we’ll see later in the rogues gallery of photos at the golf club, Rob embraced this wholeheartedly… It is said by many that drag can make anyone more beautiful, but just like the rest of the Spartans, Rob proved this not to be true.
From that wave of new starters, that Rob was a part of, many became friends. With Brad working at the Britons Protection, and with Rob never one to turn down a free drink, it became a firm watering hole for many years. It was through those nights that Rob, and the rest of his Spartan circle, began to socialise with the landlady Gwen, and regulars such as Adam, Jimmy, and of course Mandi, who shared his love for Eurovision. Of course, Rob’s passion for things large, loud, and camp, didn’t stop at Eurovision, nor did it stop at his ex-partner Nick, it would go on to explain his taste in shirts, and many, many of his friendships.
It would be wrong not to comment on the importance of friends to Rob. His friendship circles were many and varied. He adopted those who sought companionship, and it was unusual for him to arrive at a social event without at least one surprise guest. It didn’t particularly matter whether you had something to talk about, he was happy to talk about anything or nothing, and we often did.
… We saw how, after Rob’s father passed, how he was there for his mum, and how he loved and cared for her… Rob & his mum moved to Bolton, and with Brett nearby, his friendship with Brett and his boys grew stronger, and became a very much valued part of his life.
As a Spartan, Rob was regularly part of the Manchester Pride parade, yet his most important role at Pride was as a participant in the Gay Olympics. His prowess at the Tug-of-War event was… legendary. However, there was one occasion when a dastardly plan from a competing team, saw Rob felled with the contents of a can of baked beans, which he was then unceremoniously dragged through… but hey, he did love to wear orange.
During those social occasions, Rob would, of course, arrive in an Uber, whether that be a 10-mile journey or 10-yards, it really made no difference. On one occasion, on being challenged on why he’d Uber’d just 500 yards, his reply was simple ‘I’m wearing the wrong shoes for walking’.
And if we were away, in a foreign & exotic location, rather than take in the overcrowded tourist traps, he’d invariably drag us to an Irish bar – where we’d almost certainly stay for the whole weekend.
So, when our time comes to climb into our Uber for our final journey, to the big old Irish bar in the sky, Coxy, just to be absolutely clear, it definitely is your round, and we are all expecting a drink to be waiting for us at the bar.
Until next time, matey x