As Part Of Toon Times, We Look Back At… Ruel Fox
With a dash of excitement and a cavalier attitude, 1993 saw the English top flight gain an explosion of black & white as Kevin Keegan guided Newcastle United into the Premier League.
One of the many fantastic members of that side was winger Ruel Fox. Arriving from Norwich City in February 1994, Fox admits he saw an instant similarity between the Canaries and the Magpies.
“I went from one club where we weren’t under any pressure at Norwich, to Newcastle,” he explains.
“It sounds funny but it was same. The support was fantastic and you were encouraged to play and enjoy your football.”
Described by Kevin Keegan as ‘the best player in his position in the country’ when he moved to St James’ Park, Fox lets out a laugh when he is reminded of his former manager’s comments:
“He’s great at making a player feel on top of the world,” Fox said of Keegan.
“He allowed you to express yourself. He encouraged me to be more than an assist player and he gave me targets every game.”
Scoring 11 times in all competitions during his first full season with the club, Fox believes the side’s success was founded on a unity and togetherness fostered in the dressing room: “I don’t think there was any animosity amongst the players,” he revealed.
That feel good factor quickly spread to the pitch and was never more evident than during training sessions at Durham University:
“Someone would do something magic every training session,” he said.
“Keegan would invite all the fans in, he would join in, McDermott would join in, they’d clown around. The talent we had there was fantastic.”
Sold to Tottenham Hotspur in October 1995, Fox left for West Bromwich Albion in 2000 before retiring two years later at the age of 34.
Enjoying a brief stint in management with Montserrat – the birthplace of his parents – in 2004, Fox now runs the ‘Ipswich Boot Camp’ fitness program:
“It’s something I know and I think I’m actually going to look at getting my sports science degree,” he revealed.
Working full time as a personal trainer, the 46-year-old’s motivation remains the people he works with:
“I’m quite interested in the improvement of people’s fitness,” he said.
“Seeing someone go froma certain ability to then run further or get quicker. I’m interested in developing people like that. I like the end goal.”
Returning to the region last September for Steve Harper’s testimonial, Fox showed no hesitation after receiving his invitation:
“It was a day I should have be working,” Fox explained.
“But I didn’t hesitate I cancelled all my work, got in my car and went straight up there.”
Bringing back fond memories Fox described his evening back at St James’ Park as ‘an honour’. And it serves a testament to his time at St James’ Park that despite being with the club for just over 18 months, he is still so fondly remembered on the terraces by those he once delighted.
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