Jackie Cox was a native of Darvel who broke into senior football as a wing-half with Hamilton Accies. He later joined Preston North End and became an Ayr United player in time for the 1939-40 season. Further clubs were Partick Thistle, St.Mirren and Stranraer. He had signed from Preston North End in a double deal with Terry McGibbons but almost immediately the War started and were converted to part time contracts of £2 per week. Neil combined playing with shipyard work and saw the season out playing Regional League football, joining Partick Thistle as Ayr United were no longer available.
In 1956 he left the managerial position at Hamilton Accies to take up the same job at Ayr. There was the disappointment of relegation in his first season as manager and many players left for other clubs. Alex Beattie was killed in a car accident in the close season. This did not dampen his enthusiasm and his efforts to re-build the team were rewarded with a second division championship title in 1958/59, a championship not so much won as conquered.
Cox oversaw the famous Price era and, in 1959, saw his team beat both Rangers and Celtic away, the only Ayr United manager to do so. Based on that final league position Ayr United should have qualified for a European competiton, but Somerset Park was not up to standard and Celtic were allocated the place.
The prevailing confidence was misplaced and Ayr finished bottom place – and relegation – in 1960/61. The following season did not set the heather on fire and on 28th November 1961 he resigned signing for St.Mirren in December 1962 .
He died in 1990.
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