Seán Cox has appeared for the first time since his life-changing attack outside Anfield, issuing his thanks to supporters for their backing over the past year.
But before the game, Cox was victim to a heartless attack from a group of Roma fans, and has remained in round-the-clock care since due to brain injuries.
The 54-year-old from Dunboyne is currently being treated at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, but is set to attend the Liverpool Legends game held in his honour at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Friday night.
This marks a significant step in the recovery of the father-of-three, and in a short video released by Off The Ball on Thursday, he delivered his message of thanks:
"Thank you" | Sean Cox addresses public for the first time.
Seán will attend Friday's charity match, Liverpool Legends vs. Ireland Legends in the Aviva Stadium – tickets are still available & all proceeds will go towards Seán's recovery.
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) 11 April 2019
Though brief, it is an emotional moment after close to 12 months of backing from fans, with the GoFundMe page set up in aid of the Support Sean campaign standing at just over €1 million at time of writing.
High-profile donations have come from Jurgen Klopp, Roma president James Pallotta, supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly, Everton defender Seamus Coleman and ex-Liverpool chief executive Christian Purslow.
Speaking ahead of the Legends game, Cox’s wife Martina expressed her delight at a “big milestone” for her husband and their family in a difficult period.
“He’s going to be there which is great, I didn’t think it would happen a couple of months ago,” she said.
“It’s a big milestone for us. He has been out of hospital for a couple of hours before, but this is him out in the public arena for the first time.
“It will be quite overwhelming for Sean. He’s been home but literally only in our house, and he’s been with family.
“At the beginning [after the attack] we didn’t know how things were going to pan out, so to have him at the match is really significant.
“Particularly so for his brother Martin, because he travelled with him that day and they never got to see the match. It’s great for all of the family.”
Kenny Dalglish will manage the Liverpool side to play a Republic of Ireland Legends XI in Dublin on Friday, with the likes of Robbie Fowler, Ian Rush and Steve McManaman all featuring.
John Aldridge, Robbie Keane and Jason McAteer are among those to play for both sides, while Ray Houghton is part of the squad to represent Ireland.
Tickets for the friendly are available here.
To make a donation to support Seán or to share the GoFundMe page, click here.