Premier League Career: Norwich City (1992-1994), Newcastle United (1994-1995), Tottenham Hotspur (1995-1999)
In his day, Ruel Fox was one of the quickest players in the Premier League. He was a tricky winger capable of producing some magical pieces of skill and able to produce excellent crosses into the penalty area for the strikers he used to play with. He is often considered as the finest player to represent Montserrat.
Fox though was born in Ipswich but he would start his playing career at Ipswich’s local rivals, Norwich City, making his league debut during the 1986-1987 season against Oxford United. To begin with, his raw talent was kept in-check and Fox struggled to nail down a regular place in Norwich’s starting XI. However, he made his significant breakthrough at the club in the Canaries’ sensational 1992-1993 season when they were tipped as relegation favourites by many in pre-season. He scored on the opening day of the new division as Norwich stunned pre-season title favourites Arsenal 4-2 at Highbury. Fox also scored in the corresponding fixture at Carrow Road between the sides and found the target too in a victory at Sheffield United in March 1993. Norwich led several times throughout the Premier League season and ultimately finished in a brilliant third position in the final standings.
Although Norwich couldn’t quite replicate their league form in season 1993-1994, Ruel’s performance level actually improved. He scored seven times in 25 matches including twice in an excellent 4-0 away victory over Leeds United in August 1993. Fox also scored a penalty to earn Mike Walker’s side a draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United in December. He became the last player to score a Premier League penalty for an opposing side until April 2004!
Norwich had a habit though of selling their best players and Fox was another of those examples. He was transferred to Newcastle United in February 1994 for £2.25 million. Kevin Keegan was very excited to sign Fox, claiming him to be the “the best player in his position in the country” upon his arrival. He played in the final 14 fixtures of Newcastle’s debut season as they matched Norwich’s 1993 finish of third in the final standings.
His only full season on Tyneside saw him register 10 goals as Newcastle finished sixth and narrowly missed out on qualifying for European football for a second successive season. Seven of those strikes came in victories over the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace. At this stage, he won two caps for England’s B team but never played senior international football for England and would actually represent Montserrat in international football twice a decade later.
The arrival of David Ginola in the summer of 1995 saw Fox knocked down the pecking order and in October, he moved to Tottenham Hotspur in a £4.25 million deal, becoming Spurs’ second-most expensive player at the time. He sparkled initially at White Hart Lane, linking well with Chris Armstrong and Teddy Sheringham and scoring six times in 26 appearances. 50% of these goals came against Coventry City.
Unfortunately, he struggled to replicate that form throughout the rest of his career at Tottenham and missed out on their squad for the 1999 League Cup final. His final Premier League appearance came in December 1999 with an eight-minute cameo from the bench against Middlesbrough. Transfer-listed shortly afterwards, he moved to West Bromwich Albion in the summer of 2000 and helped win them promotion to the Premier League. He was released shortly afterwards and ended his club career.
Since retirement, Fox has become a coach at Suffolk College, works as a personal trainer in Ipswich and is chairman of non-league side Whitton United FC.