FOOTBALL:‘Cookie’ delighted to be back home

Coleraine legend Derek Cooke (centre) back at the showground with Hugh Wade, wife Liza, Colin McKendry and Nevin Oliver.''�2012Derek Simpson www.sportfile.co.uk
Coleraine legend Derek Cooke (centre) back at the showground with Hugh Wade, wife Liza, Colin McKendry and Nevin Oliver.''�2012Derek Simpson www.sportfile.co.uk

THERE was a familiar face at The Showgrounds on Saturday.

Back at his old stomping ground was Scottish striker Derek Cook, who is a cult hero with the Coleraine faithful following his spell with the Bannsiders in the 1990s.

The big man from Ardrossan was disappointed with the score line, but he was delighted to be back at the Ballycastle Road.

“I’m thrilled to be back here again, I love this place,” said Cookie.

“It feels like I was only here last week never mind 20 years ago.

“It’s a special day for me, it’s just a pity we didn’t get the result.”

Cook was brought to the club by former boss Colin O’Neill along with fellow Scots Alan Ewing and Stuart McLean and he loved every minute of it.

“Everyone was just so friendly,” he said.

“We were made so welcome when we came here from the players, to the directors to the fans.

“Those were great times and I made a lot of good friends from my time here.

“Coleraine is a real family club and the treatment my wife Leza and my daughters got when they came over was second to none.”

Cook’s first game in a Coleraine shirt came against Cliftonville, but it nearly didn’t go as planned.

“We came over the night before the game and there was a lot of publicity about Colin and his Scottish signings,” he explained.

“There was a real buzz but we were awful in the first half against Cliftonville and deservedly went in 1-0 down at the break.

“But we turned it around in the second half to win 3-1. I scored two and everyone was buzzing. It was a gereat day.

“Another special day was the home game against Linfield. We had joked with the directors it would be great to get a pipe band to play before the game.

“We didn’t think they had taken any notice of us, but we were sitting in the dressing room before the game when we heard the skirl of the pipes. We couldn’t believe it. We couldn’t wait to get out there.

“It was a cracking game I think it finished 0-0, I’ll never forget that.”

Cook still keeps a close eye on the Coleraine results and has been able to watch his former team on Sky in recent years.

“I’ve always kept an eye out for them and it’s great now I’m able to watch them on Sky.”