Tottenham fans love a player who plays with flair and will work hard for the team. Ruel Fox joined us from Newcastle in October 1995 for £4.25million which made him our second most expensive signing at that time.
The fast and tricky winger would cause many a defender problems. He has been described thus “Fox was an old-school winger who weaved in and out of defenders like a New York taxi driver’(2).
Soon after signing, having scored in a win at Coventry the previous week he would turn the game at home to Arsenal in our favour to become a fan favourite. Tottenham had not started the season or the game too well, Arsenal got on top and Bergkamp gave them the lead after eight minutes. Fox lead the fight back with a series of runs, often starting in our own half to pile the pressure on. After half an hour his cross allowed Teddy Sheringham to head home. Then ten minutes into the second half Sheringham linked with the other new boy Chris Armstrong to grab the winner. I was out of the country for a few games. I came home to find my mate had left me the various match reports. The headlines were the predictable Fox Hunt and Catch the Fox. I seem to remember The Sunday Times said something similar to “Arsenal Fail in Frantic Fox Hunt’ as my mate had written across the top of the page his own heading, ‘The Fox was on Fire”. Manager Gerry Francis described that game as the best team performance since he had taken over at the club.
At Newcastle his new manager Kevin Keegan described Ruel as "the best player in his position in the country".
That season he again helped his club finish third in the table. While at St James’s Park he won an England B cap and played 70 games with 14 goals.
In his time at Spurs he played a total of 129 games and netted 15 goals, I seem to remember the one at Blackburn in 1998 was a cracking effort. Although his shooting wasn’t his strong point as you can tell from the goal return. He made up for this normally by creating openings for others. Phil Sour in the Clubs Official History described Fox “his bubbling play soon won over the fans” and “he immediately impressed with his fast running penetrative attacking performances”.
At five foot six tall he did not score many headers but got one against Middlesborough as well as an assist in October 1996. Check you the footage above.
Strangely after he retired from top flight football that’s when his full international career started! Ruel has a Montserratian and Antiguan heritage. In October 1994, He was appointed Montserrat’s head coach and scouted for them in the UK. He played the first of several games (4) for Montserrat the following month against, even more strangely, Antigua. When he scored in a 5-4 defeat.
His roots being Suffolk where he is Director of Football at Whitton United who are going quite well in the Eastern Counties League this season and run a large number of youth teams. In addition to working for the local College and being a personal fitness instructor running a ‘fat farm’ he owns a restaurant but if your passing through Ipswich I don’t know its name so I can’t tell you to drop in.
1 - Regular readers will know I go to great lengths to confirm facts. In this case in between cyclones and power cuts I even got up at 2am (India time) to ring the UK at a number I had been given for Mr. Fox, The system said the number was unavailable. Having answered one email from me my follow up did not receive an answer. I finally went with figures supplied by the BBC. If any facts are wrong well I tried.
2 - Back of the Net.com
3- Norwich City wont even allow you access to their archives without payment ! There goes there Friendly club image.
4- Sorry, just can’t find a number of caps.
Thanks to - THFC, THOS, Phil Sour’s - The Official History, Bob Goodwin’s - The Complete Record, The Premier League, BBC, Star Sports, Top Spurs, The Sunday Times, Newcastle United FC, Whitton United FC, ex-canaries.co, Norwich-city.com, Soccer base, Google Images and Back of the Net,
About the author:
Keith Harrison, Nilgiris, TN
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