Dean Cox on why he left Crawley Town and his relationship with former Liverpool star Harry Kewell

Dean Cox has spoken publicly for the first time about why he left Crawley Town.

After a loan spell at Burgess Hill Town, Cox made 27 appearances for the Reds in two seasons.

The attacking midfielder joined Eastbourne Borough in 2018, shortly after his contract was terminated by mutual consent. As Cox puts it in his own words, effectively, he was ‘paid to leave’ the Reds.

Dean Cox in action for Crawley Town

Cox was signed under Dermot Drummy’s management, but found his playing time limited after the manager’s departure.

The 33-year-old claimed a deteriorating relationship with Harry Kewell was why his short stint at the Broadfield Stadium came to an abrupt end.

“I didn’t get on with the manager, so I was quite happy with my contract being terminated,” explained Cox, who is now a player-coach for Eastbourne Borough. “The manager and the assistant made it very uncomfortable. It was very toxic.

“He [Kewell] used to make you train on your own.

Harry Kewell

“The team would be training in the stadium and I’d be running around Tilgate Park.

“What do you do? You knew you weren’t getting anywhere near the team. Or the bench.

“What’s the point in coming in and wasting my time and theirs?”

Cox says it isn’t unusual for situations like this to occur.

“This happens up and down the country. This is the norm. If a manager doesn’t like a player then there is a nasty side.

“You train with the kids, the u23s, on your own. The first team is in at ten, you’re called in for one. That’s the name of the game, unfortunately.”

Cox did praise Crawley Town as a club but said he had to go to the top to to try to clear up the situation.

He said: “It got to a point where I went to the technical directors and I had a very honest conservation with them. Only the manager and the assistant were the problem – as a football club it was lovely.”

Cox scored twice for Crawley before joining Eastbourne in 2018.

The East Sussex club sit seventh in the National League South.

While his decision to drop out of the Football League was a tough one at the time, Cox isn’t looking back.

The move to Eastbourne means his career has played out full-circle – after originally playing for the club on loan, back in 2005.

“I’ve moved to Eastbourne and I’ve loved it”, Cox said.

“It’s a great team and management.

It’s a club that is really on the up – it’s nice to be part of. Hopefully we can stay in the play-off spots – we’re up there on merit.”